Tim Burton’s 1988 film, Beetlejuice, is as fun today as it was over 30 years ago. Featuring a great cast with Winona Ryder, Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, and the ghost with the most, Michael Keaton, Beetlejuice is a great spooky comedy for those who love the Halloween aesthetic, but not horror.
Along with being a hit cult movie, an animated show following Lydia and Beetlegeuse’s relationship was created, and ran for four seasons.
Beetlejuice was made on quite a moderate budget, but made $73 million at the box office, was the 10th highest grossing film of 1988, and even won an Oscar for best makeup.
The number “three” was very important in the film. To summon Beetlegeuse you must say his name three times, the Maitland’s say the word “home” three times to escape Beetlegeuse, they knock on the door three times to get into the afterlife, and when the family moves into the house, Delia wonders why there are only three sculptures.
As tattoos, fans continue to get Beetlegeuse portraits (both from the movie and cartoon), as well as tattoos of Barbara and Adam in their monster form, the sandworm, ghosts, the creepy house, and the Handbook for the Recently Deceased. The most popular styles appear to be old school, Neo-traditional, and black work, though realism and minimalism are also seen quite a bit.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
The Crow, directed by Alex Proyas and starring Brandon Lee (son of Bruce Lee), is most famous for the unfortunate death of Brandon on set. The film is based on the comic books written by James O’Barr in the 1980’s which in turn were based on two real life tragedies. James’ fiancee had been killed by a drunk driver and this was one way he tried to cope with the loss. The other tragedy was something he had heard about: an engaged couple murdered over the ring. These two events helped him think of the plot for The Crow, “That became the beginning of the focal point, and the idea that there could be a love so strong that it could transcend death, that it could refuse death, and this soul would not rest until it could set things right.”
Brandon Lee died during a freak accident on set when his character, Eric Draven, was shot by Michael Massee’s character, Funboy. Michael fired the prop gun which had earlier been loaded with dummy cartridges filled with real brass caps (for the shot), bullet, but no powder. After filming the initial scene with the gun, the props master fired it to get the cock off, which in turn knocked the prop bullet into the barrel of the gun. It was next used by Michael Massee on set during a scene where he was meant to shoot Brandon as he entered the room. Fake shootings usually contain extra gun powder to make it extra loud and authentic, but with nothing in the barrel. Since the fake bullet had become lodged in the barrel earlier in filming, it was fired at Brandon much like a real gun, killing him on set.
According to Michael Massee, 12 years after the accident he still had nightmares about accidentally shooting Brandon. People interested in “cursed” films often refer to The Crow, and the Lee family curse, as Brandon’s famous father, Bruce, also died due to “mysterious circumstances.”
The makeup used for Eric Draven is loved by all who watch the movie, and it was apparently inspired by a marionette mask that James saw painted on a theatre in London. “I thought it’d be interesting to have this painful face with a smile forcibly drawn on.” It reportedly took between 35 minutes and up to an hour and a half to get the makeup right each day on set. Another set fact is despite the title being “The Crow”, no crows were used in the filming of the movie, but ravens instead. The ravens had to be trained to fly at night, in rain, through a wind tunnel, and one had to be specially trained to sit on Brandon’s shoulder.
As tattoos, most fans of the movie opt to getting some sort of portrait of Brandon, as well as quotes from the movie or comic, and sometimes depictions from the comic, as well as crows or ravens.
Guillermo del Toro is a Mexican filmmaker, author, and actor who has also worked in special effects makeup. While he has an extensive portfolio, his two most well-known films are Pan’s Labyrinth and The Shape of Water, both of which have won numerous awards.
Though he is well known for a specific style of darker film making, he has worked in various genres, from Pacific Rim, to Hellboy, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, and even cartoons like Trollhunters.
Guillermo is heavily influenced by horror such as Nosferatu, Frankenstein, and most notably, Creature From the Black Lagoon, which inspired The Shape of Water.
He is passionate about fairy tales and monsters, and the way he talks about them is quite beautiful. “In fairy tales, monsters exist to be a manifestation of something that we need to understand, not only a problem we need to overcome, but also they need to represent, much like angels represent the beautiful, pure, eternal side of the human spirit, monsters need to represent a more tangible, more mortal side of being human: aging, decay, darkness and so forth. And I believe that monsters originally, when we were cavemen and you know, sitting around a fire, we needed to explain the birth of the sun and the death of the moon and the phases of the moon and rain and thunder. And we invented creatures that made sense of the world: a serpent that ate the sun, a creature that ate the moon, a man in the moon living there, things like that. And as we became more and more sophisticated and created sort of a social structure, the real enigmas started not to be outside. The rain and the thunder were logical now. But the real enigmas became social. All those impulses that we were repressing: cannibalism, murder, these things needed an explanation. The sex drive, the need to hunt, the need to kill, these things then became personified in monsters. Werewolves, vampires, ogres, this and that. I feel that monsters are here in our world to help us understand it. They are an essential part of a fable.” -Guillermo del Toro
As tattoos, the most popular of his characters come from Pans Labyrinth and The Shape of Water (though people have of course gotten others as well). They are mainly done in a realistic style to portray the details that go into making them, but can also be seen as more old school or neo traditional designs.
Aliens have long been a subject of much fascination for many people; from those who believe they have been abducted, seen UFO’s, or those who just love aliens in pop culture.
Some favourite pop culture aliens include E.T, xenomorphs from the Alein franchise, Roger the alien from American Dad, little green men from Mars Attacks, and many more.
Alien films are often seen as more “nerdy” fitting the sci-fi mould well, but they also mix well with horror and/or comedy.
Many people believe that Area 51, located in Southern Nevada houses aliens that are being experimented on by the American government. Much of this conspiracy comes from the secrecy shrouding the are as civilians aren’t allowed to enter, and even the airspace cannot be entered without permission. One of the most popular alien theories involves a UFO crashing in Roswell, New Mexico. Many believe that the remains of the said UFO were brought to Area 51 for reverse engineering.
John Carpenter is a well known director, writer, actor, and composer. He is most known for his work in horror, and is a beloved director, writer, and composer for all those who love the darker side of life.
A few of his most well known movies are; Halloween, The Thing, Christine, Village of the Damned, Prince of Darkness, and They Live. Though he has worked on many more.
While most people know him for his horror, it’s not the only work he does. Some other notable non-horror movies of his are Escape From New York, Dark Star, Memoirs of an Invisible Man, and more.
Halloween turned intone of the most profitable independent films of all time, terrifying audiences time and time again with killer Michael Myers. Halloween becoming such a success paved the way for other big slashers such as Friday the 13th in 1980 and Nightmare on Elm Street in 1984.
In this blog post, the Golden Age of Disney refers specifically to Disney’s animated films and does not include live action.
The Golden Age of Disney spans from 1937-1942 and includes Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo, and Bambi.
Despite the name “Golden Age” this was actually a quite unsuccessful chapter in terms of financial gain, other than Snow White and Dumbo. In fact, Dumbo was originally supposed to be a short film but was made longer to make up for the financial losses suffered by Fantasia.
The films created in this time were all overseen by Walt himself, and helped cement Disney as a leader in animation.
While Disney films are generally regarded as mainly happy and upbeat, these films all tell quite dark stories and actually contain some quite frightening scenes, especially for the young audiences they were aimed at. I know scenes in Snow White and Pinocchio certainly scared me as a child.
As tattoos, Disney animation are almost entirely done in new school style, with some realism and more experimental styles also making the cut.
I found no shortage of tattoos from this era of Disney, other than Fantasia, of which I only found tattoos from the newer 2000’s version which will be seen in a later post.
Peaky Blinders is the incredibly popular British tv show following a gang called “The Peaky Blinders” in mainly Birmingham, immediately following the First World War.
Every episode is written by Steven Knight, and is loosely based on both historical gangs in England, and a story the writers father used to tell him about his grandfather having him deliver notes to his uncles, the Sheldons, who became the shows “Shelbys.”
The history of the “real” peaky blinders differs from place to place, with some sources saying they died out by the 1890s. While they weren’t the ruling gang in Birmingham by the end of World War I, it looks like they probably still existed, even though the bigger “Birmingham Boys” became the top dogs by 1910. Peaky Blinders also eventually became a term to describe all gangs coming out of the Birmingham area. In both the show and real life, the gang is made up of mainly young unemployed men, looking to gain power and money through robbery, violence, and controlling both legal and illegal gambling. In the show many of the men also fought in World War I.
The name Peaky Blinders comes from the clothes worn by both the real and fictional gangsters. Their signature style includes tailored jackets, overcoats, waistcoats, silk scarves, bell-bottom trousers, and “peaked” caps. In the show, the gang is famous for sewing razorblades into their caps as their signature weapon, but realistically these blades wouldn’t have been affordable at the time and weren’t used until around 1890, when the Peaky Blinders started to lose power.
Many people are drawn to the show for its style, and that translates into the tattoos we see being made. Most Peaky Blinders tattoos are done in a classic traditional style, keeping it bold and classy, just like the show. Other styles include neo traditional, black work, and realism. Most of the tattoos I found are of Tommy, but the other Shelby brothers also make fine pieces.