“Five Nights at Freddy’s” has hit theaters in time for Halloween, and it’s already become a box office hit with an $80 million domestic debut at the box. Fans of the popular horror video game were thrilled to see the animatronic killer Freddy Fazbear and his murderous animal crew, but it was no easy feat making the characters for the film.
Blumhouse collaborated with the special effects company Jim Henson’s Creature Shop to create the animatronics. Emma Tammi, director of “Five Nights at Freddy’s,” and Robert Bennett, senior designer at Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, sat down with Variety to speak about making the antagonists.
A major consideration in designing the look of the five killer animatronics was ensuring that they looked like they were from the 1980s. In terms of consistency, it was important to show the impact of time.
“These [animatronics] have been sitting around for a long time, and you want to convey that,” said Bennett. “That, to me, was one of the most exciting parts of the build, was the textures. We spent a lot of time figuring out what fabric we were going to cover them with, the saturation of the colors, how dirty they get.”
“Getting the weathered quality [of the animatronics] was really a trial-and-error process. We started slowly so that we could keep adding and adding but not go too far either, and that was such a fun process,” Tammi said.
“We were leaning into the imperfections and we loved when [the animatronic] stuttered and when things felt not quite right because of, course, nothing is quite right,” Tammi continued.
In following with consistency, Bennett spoke about how it was key to look at the overall appearance of the animatronics together.
“They all have to complement each other as well as look great independently,” said Bennett. “The noses, for example, we went back and forth over textures and we finally landed on a rubber. ‘If these were built in the ’80s, what materials would they have used?’”
Even as the filmmakers brought their own vision to the world behind “Five Nights at Freddy’s,” they wanted it to still be accurate to the original franchise for fans.
Bennett emphasized that quality, saying, “It was figuring out what looks best, but also the lore, making sure that we stay in the world.”