The Driller Killer Guitar is an iconic piece for any fan of 1980’s slasher films. The over-the-top rock guitar design and deadly drill always jumped out on the cover of the VHS. Over the years a few of the areas of this prop guitar had been damaged, with sections of the dangerous looking design separated and missing. Our client brought it to us and asked use to restore it to its former glory. Before we began any work we discussed with the client the direction for the restoration and did some research.
Looking at stills from the production, both the client and our team agreed that one spike (the top left spike when looking at the guitar from the front) went missing during the film shoot. With that history in mind, the client requested that we leave that spike missing to maintain that connection with the film’s shooting. We also were asked not to repair the “drill bit” end, as that was damaged in shipping and awaiting a resolution at the time.
With that direction set, our team set about repairing this crazy, spiky, scary guitar prop! And spikes were where we started. Many of the silver spikes had been broken off. The thin spikes on the guitar must’ve been quite fragile. At our studio, Pierre Brielle hand carved new spikes to match the crazy shapes of the missing elements. Each would be pinned and attached, shaped to match vintage photos of the prop and then carefully blended into the original guitar and maintain the integrity of the movie prop.
The blood red color and silver spikes presented a unique challenge when blending our repairs into the original paint. One of our strongest restorative painters, Melissa Ocampo, was put to the test when “in painting” the repairs. In-painting is a conservation process where only the repair is painted and the original paint on the prop is left as untouched as possible. Color matching a solid, yet aged, red color is challenging enough, but solid silver can be even tougher! Melissa’s carefully hand-painted each part, including aging each area to match the existing paint on the decades-old drill guitar film prop. Her work seamlessly blended away our repairs.
Have an original movie or television costume or prop in need of a unique or themed display? Email or call today and let’s discuss your project!