How a Cat Inspired Freddy Krueger From ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’

Freddy Krueger from the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise has struck fear into the hearts of millions of horror fans which is ironic since he was inspired by something cute and cuddly. Somehow, a cat managed to inspire one of cinema’s greatest horror icons. Interestingly, director Wes Craven felt the aspect of Freddy’s look which was inspired by a cat tapped into humanity’s “primal fears.”

A cosplayer dressed as Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street
A cosplayer dressed as Freddy Krueger | Daniel Zuchnik/Getty Images

How Wes Craven worked ‘primal fears’ into Freddy Krueger’s design

Freddy’s razor glove has become one of the most iconic images in horror history. Although the razor glove is famous, it has humble origins. Specifically, the book Friday the 13th reports Craven watched his cat claw his couch one night and that moment inspired Freddy’s glove. Craven wanted the glove to play on humanity’s primal fears.

“Part of it was an objective goal to make the character memorable since it seems that every character that has been successful has had some kind of unique weapon, whether it be a chain saw or a machete etc.,” Craven said. “I was also looking for a primal fear which is embedded in the subconscious of people of all cultures. … [One] is the claw of an animal, like a saber-tooth tiger reaching with its tremendous hooks. I transposed this into a human hand.”

The trailer for A Nightmare on Elm Street

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Craven directed the original Nightmare film, which introduced Freddy to the world. Craven would later direct another film in the series: Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. In the latter film, Freddy compares attacking one of his victims to skinning a cat. This could be a reference to the feline origin of Freddy’s glove or a mere coincidence.

The creation of the original glove from ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ and why it went missing

In the frist script for A Nightmare on Elm Street, the blades of Freddy’s glove were fishing knives. Jim Doyle created the claw after finding a number of knives. Craven asked him to make the glove look as if it had been created by someone with “the skills of a boiler-maker” — a fitting request, given that Freddy hangs around boilers a lot.

Robert Englund dressed as Freddy Krueger
Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger | Denise Truscello/WireImage

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The original glove is a tremendously famous film prop. However, for many years, its whereabouts were unknown. According to Bloody Disgusting, a rumor circulated that a crew member from A Nightmare on Elm Street stole the original glove. According to another rumor, the original glove appeared in the cult horror-comedy Evil Dead 2. Robert Englund, the actor who originally portrayed Freddy, revealed who claimed the glove in a 2017 interview.

The original glove was given to me by Wes for pickup shots on [A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge], in a little MTV stage on Santa Monica Blvd in Hollywood,” Englund told Bloody Disgusting. “I stole the real glove. … I stuffed it, and I outlined it in red and green neon, and I floated it in a plexiglass box, and I gave it to my agent. He won’t give it back!”