The Thing Tattoos:

John Carpenter’s “The Thing” is a favourite cult movie for many, despite its major flop when it first came out. The special effects are still what’s most loved and talked about with horror lovers today.

Norris head spider done by Jan Man at First String Tattoo in Winnipeg
Norris head spider done by Dan Gagné Mortem Tattoo in Montreal

Special effects artist Rob Bottin was just 22 when he headed a team of 40 technicians, working on the film for seven weeks after previously working on The Fog with John Carpenter already.

Grotesque metamorphosis by Ronald L Philips at Cherry Bomb Tattoo
Norris head spider done by Josh Todaro at the Grand Illusion Tattoo in Australia

One of the most famous scenes is the “chest chomp” where Dr. Copper tries to revive Norris by restarting his heart, with his arms in his chest. Bottin found a double arm amputee to film this scene so that they could attach prosthetics that could then be ripped off in a realistic a manner as possible.

Kurt Russell portrait done by Jonathan Penchoff
Norris head spider done by Aaron Francione at Magic Eye Tattoo

Kurt Russell damn near blew himself up for real in that scene where he fights the “Palmer-Thing.” They used real dynamite in the filming of this scene and Kurt was unaware of how powerful the blast would be. John Carpenter kept the real shot in the film, so Kurt being thrown back and his surprise was genuine.

Black and grey Kurt Russell portrait done by Mason at The Drop of Ink in the UK
Matching pieces including Norris head spider done by Kalo at Spider Web Tattoo in Berlin

As a tattoo, various forms of metamorphosis are the most popular tattoos, particularly that creepy head. Fans of Kurt Russell have also immortalized his character. Realistic or old school styles also seem to be the most popular for those who want to have The Thing on them forever.

Black and grey head spider done by Paul Rogers
Cute little head spider done by Dana at Lucky Peach Tattoo

What is your favourite scene from the movie?

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The Exorcist Tattoos:

The Exorcist, directed by William Friedkin in 1973 is one of the most well known horror movies to date. In part because of the supposed curse, and the fact that it was the first horror movie to be nominated for a best picture Oscar.

Reagan and the iconic lamppost scene done by Paul Acker at Seance Tattoo
Another Reagan and lamppost scene, in black and grey done by Séb Otis in Paris

The Exorcist is based off of the book written by William Blatty, which is in turn based off of a real event involving the exorcism of a boy known through the pseudonym “Roland Doe.” Catholic priests performed an exorcism on the boy but had to stop when he broke free of his restraints, pulled a spring out of the bed, and cut one of the priests with it.

Black and grey lamppost scene done by Oliver Palacios at Magnetic Tattoo Studio
Reagan covered in vomit and lamppost scene done by Michael Kelly in Ireland

Many people believe the film to be cursed, including people who worked on the set. Many accidents happened, including a fire that destroyed what was supposed to be the MacNeil’s home before shooting started (Reagan’s room was untouched by the fire); Ellen Burstyn (Reagan’s mother) was injured in a scene when possessed Reagan throws her, and the scene was used in the film; the actors Jack MacGowran and Vasiliki Maliaros both died while the film was in post production (both of their characters also die in the film); other actors also had family members die while the movie was being made; Linda Blair injured her back when the rigging broke during a possession scene, and she also received so many death threats from people who hated or were afraid of the movie that she needed hired body guards; the son of actress Mercedes McCambridge (the voice of Pazuzu) killed his wife and children before killing himself, and finally, many people believed the actual film itself was cursed and that playing it would invite demonic possession.

Old school Pazuzu and heart done by Katy Bisby
Reagan in a ouija board planchette done by Calvin Von Crush at Lucky Soul Tattoo

That classic scene where Father Merrin stands under the streetlamp was based on a series of René Magritte paintings, and was so well shot that it was made the movie poster (and is tattooed by many fans).

Black and grey Reagan and lamppost scene done by Estock Ruiz Tattoo in Mexico
Pazuzu portrait done by Scully in Belfast

Other popular tattoos people get from the film include Reagan in her possessed form, Pazuzu, or a combination of any of these. Many people decide to get these tattoos in a realistic style, or old school or black work.

Creepy piece that incorporates Reagan, Pazuzu, and the lamppost done by Sherlane White at Sleepy Bones Tattoo
Pazuzu inside of a ouija board planchette done by Joel Dylan at Animalistic Bodyart

What is your favourite scene from the film?

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Child’s Play (Chucky) Tattoos:

Chucky is one of the most recognizable horror icons, from the franchise “Child’s Play.” The creator Don Mancini was inspired by the cabbage patch doll craze of the 80’s and wanted to create a dark satire showing how marketing affects children negatively.

An old school Chucky done by ICTATTOO in Nanjing China
A realistic Chucky portrait done by Paul Acker at Seance Tattoo Parlour

It took 11 different people to control the Chucky doll in the original films, as the majority of scenes used a real animatronic puppet rather than CGI. While Chucky was mainly animatronic, some scenes were also filmed using actor Ed Gale in costume, making the sets 30% bigger to make Chucky look regular sized. Some notable scenes with Ed Gale include any with fire. These shots would take 45 seconds to shoot so Ed would’t be injured by the fire, but he was injured when he was pulled up a fireplace and then accidentally dropped. Alex Vincent’s little sister was also used to film one scene as Chucky running down a hallway (probably because Ed looked too big and the animatronic couldn’t move well enough).

A detailed black work Chucky done by Marilyn Blxc
A cute new school Chucky done by Roxy Ryder at Little Kawaii Workshop

Chucky’s real name (Charles Lee Ray) is based on three real killers; Charles (Manson), Lee (Harvey Oswald), and (James Earl) Ray.

A bloody Chucky done by Khobe José
Chucky portrait within a knife done by Steffen Brevik

Tiffany is another favourite character in the franchise, making an appearance later in Bride of Chucky where Chucky’s old girlfriend ends up in the same situation as him, and resurrects him again. One of the most memorable scenes featuring the devilish pair is the doll sex scene where the two voice actors improvised dialogue and noises.

Tiffany portrait done by Chris Topher at Onix Tattoo Company in Hull, UK
Matching Tiffany and Chucky portraits done by Hayley Broughton in Manchester

As tattoos, Chucky is the most popular character to be tattooed, usually as some sort of portrait mainly in either a realistic or old school style.

Chucky portrait done by Steve Ramsden
A murderous Chucky done by Shauna Masters

Which of the franchise is your favourite?

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Artist of the Month: Mike Roberts

Mike Roberts is a tattoo artist working out of Grizzly Tattoo in Portland, Oregon. His style is mainly old school with a tendency towards darker imagery such as horror movie icons, weapons, and the undead, but you can catch him making more Japanese inspired pieces such as flowers and dragons as well.

Wolf head and skull/drinking horn
Plague Doctor (fitting for the times)

Mike is the perfect artist to feature in October, as much of his work consists of the macabre; everything from wolves and spiders to medieval torture devices and undead warriors that give me strong Evil Dead and Army of Darkness vibes.

Gory devil stomach piece
Mouth of Sauron for all you Tolkien nerds

But don’t worry if you can’t make it to Mike in October, he’s tattooing spooky pieces all year round, doing both large scale pieces and one offs. Grizzly Tattoo is a must stop shop if you live in Portland or are passing through.

Crow and roses
Awesome medieval looking dragon on the ribs

What’s your favourite horror movie?

Bloody knight
Bloody guillotine
‘Tis but a scratch! Monty Python piece
centipede and spider both done by Mike

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