Black Sabbath might have invented heavy metal but Iron Maiden certainly helped shape it. The British legends have 16 studio albums and 12 live ones (as well as numerous singles, EP’s, and compilations), and still shred as hard today as they did when they first formed in 1975.
The band was first formed by Steve Harris, bass player and one of the primary song writers. Maiden achieved great success in the 1980’s with brilliant albums such as The Number of the Beast, Powerslave, and Seventh Son of a Seventh Son to name a few.
The group has gone over several line-up changes, but managed to stay one of the most popular metal bands in the world with over 100 million records sold and well over 2000 shows played worldwide, all despite little to no mainstream media attention.
For all you Maiden fans, Eddie is an easily recognizable figure. Eddie; the bands mascot, is seen on all of their studio albums (most singles), merchandise, as a robot or stationary figure at concerts, in music videos, and even in video games such as Ed Hunter and Iron Maiden: Legacy of the Beast. According to Steve Harris, the name Ed or Eddie came from the fact that he was initially called simply “The Head” which, with their strong East London accents sounded like “Ead.”
As a tattoo, most Eddie pieces are done in a realistic style, made to look like the albums with more of a neo-traditonal style, or American traditional. Since Iron Maiden has so many albums all with different versions of Eddie, there are many variations to choose from.
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.
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).
Chucky’s real name (Charles Lee Ray) is based on three real killers; Charles (Manson), Lee (Harvey Oswald), and (James Earl) Ray.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Most people are horrified by the thought of serial killers. There have been some truly terrifying and disgusting people; people who have done awful things. So it’s normal to be repulsed by them. But some people are drawn to this darker side of humanity. Many people want to know why and how someone could take another’s life. Some also try to relate to killers and humanize them. Making them pseudo-celebrities.
Here are some of the most notorious and well-known serial killers; immortalized in skin.
H.H Holmes is one of America’s most well-known serial killers. Holmes was convicted of 9 murders, confessed to 27, but is thought to have killed up to 200. He is known for building a “murder hotel”. In 1887 he constructed a hotel full of passages, dead ends, and trap doors. People would check in, get lost and wander the hotel sometimes for days at a time before he would finally kill them. In May 1896 Holmes was hanged for his crimes.
Richard Ramírez, also known as the “Night Stalker” brutally attacked and killed people in Los Angeles from 1984-1985. He was a known Satan worshipper, known for drawing pentagrams in blood in the homes of his victims. Ramírez was charged with 14 counts of burglary, 11 sexual assaults, 5 attempted murders, and 13 murders. His youngest victim was a 9 year old girl, and his oldest were a couple in their 60’s. He was sentenced to death and was on death row for 23 years before he died due to complications from lymphoma in 2013.
Jeffrey Dahmer, known as the Milwaukee Cannibal, was an American serial killer and sex offender who raped, murdered, dismembered, and ate parts of 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991. Along with cooking and eating parts of his victims, he also committed necrophilia on a number of the bodies. Dahmer was finally caught and convicted after a would be victim was able to over power him and call the police. In 1992 he was convicted of murder and given 15 life sentences. He died two years into his sentence when he was beaten to death by a fellow inmate.
Ted Bundy was an American serial killer and rapist who terrorized women and young girls during the 1970’s. Bundy was described as charming and handsome. He would lure his victims into secluded areas and then overpower them where he would sexually assault them and finally murder them. He decapitated at least 12 of his victims and kept the heads in jars in his apartment as trophies. Bundy was actually caught twice, escaping police and a court house, committing three more murders before finally being caught for good. He admitted to killing 36 people but it is believed he killed up to and possibly more than 100 people. He was put to death in 1989, by electric chair in Florida.
John Wayne Gacy, also known as “Pogo the Clown”, and, “The Killer Clown”, was an American serial killer from Chicago. He sexually assaulted and murdered 33 teenagers and young men 1972 and 1978. He was a trusted member of his community and was even involved in local politics. Gacy was also a party clown and would perform for children. He would lure his victims to his home with the promise of work before strangling them, then burying their bodies in his crawlspace. Gacy was convicted of 33 murders and was given the death sentence. He died by lethal injection in 1994 after spending 14 years on death row.
Edward (Ed) Gein, also known as “The Butcher of Plainfield”, was an American murder known for exhuming corpses from the local graveyard and creating decorations for his home from their bodies. He did also murder two women, but he is not actually a serial killer; though most people include him in their list due to his macabre hobby of crafting decorations made from corpses. Ed Gein also inspired Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses and Tone Hooper’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Gein lost all of his family members, but it was when his mother died that he truly seemed to “lose it”. He boarded up rooms used by her to keep them in pristine condition, but quickly let the rest of the house fall into disrepair, and started filling it with macabre creations such as lamps made from bones, with lampshades made of human skin. Upon further inspection done by police, Gein had also covered chairs in human skin, put skulls on his bedposts, made bowls from skulls, masks made from female faces, and Mary Hogan’s face in a bag, and her skull in a box. Mary was one of Gein’s two victims. Other more gruesome items were also found in his home. He killed Mary Hogan in 1954, and Bernice Worden in 1957. He was found unfit to stand trial and put in a psychiatric hospital where he remained until he died at age 77 in 1984 from cancer of the liver.
Charles Manson is one of the most famous people on this list. He was a cult leader in California. Manson spent half of his life in correctional facilities for various crimes before trying to make it as a musician in California. He worked briefly with the drummer from The Beach Boys and recorded a few short albums of his own. Manson believed in “Helter Skelter”, a term he stole form The Beatles song. He used it to describe an impending race war he thought would happen. To start this war he convinced a number of young people to murder 7 people for him. These were people who followed his cult. Manson was charged with the murder of 2 people, and for the murder of 7 others, even though he did not actually kill them. His band of followers were known as the “Manson Family”, and they are most famous for brutally murdering actress Sharon Tate, Gary Hinman, and others. The “family” was also responsible for numerous thefts, assaults, and the attempted murder of President Gerald Ford. Manson was given the death sentence, but it was later ruled unconstitutional. He was in prison from 1971-2017 where he died from natural causes. Manson continued to have followers in prison and had hundreds of people (mainly women) writing to him.
A bodysuit is the ultimate way for a tattoo collector to show their dedication to the craft. A bodysuit is most often done as one cohesive piece, usually in one style. But some people do start getting tattooed without the intention of having a bodysuit, then end up growing into it.
Japanese is the most well known style for creating bodysuits. Done by one artist, tied together with background work such waves, clouds, and other nature themes.
More recently black work is becoming more popular for full bodysuits. Either heavy black work or smaller pieces.
Similarly people get bodysuits of American traditional pieces. Hundreds of small pieces filling up a body to make it look more or less like one huge suit.
Black and grey, neo traditional, and realism styles are also being used for bodysuits now, making for eye popping artwork.
The word bodysuit may make you think of really a full body covered in tattoos, but it also refers to torso pieces that lead onto the arms, and/or legs.
Frankenstein is a story that has delighted and frightened readers since 1818, now two hundred years!
Frankenstein is the story of a mad doctor that brings the dead back to life. Only to find that he has made a monster.
Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein when she was 18, and had it published when she was 20. She wrote it for a writing contest for ghost stories, and she shocked the world!
When the book initially came out, readers were disgusted and horrified, but by 1823 it became widely popular, as gothic literature was becoming all the rage.
In 1910 the first Frankenstein film was made by Thomas Edison, a one-reel 15 minute short film, thought by some to be the first horror movie.
Many others have been made including Frankenstein in 1931, Bride of Frankenstein in 1935, Son of frankenstein in 1939, The Ghost of Frankenstein in 1942, and many more!
Fans of gothic literature and horror movies often get Frankenstein tattoos, mainly of the monster, whose name is not actually Frankenstein. Many relate to the monster because he is a misunderstood creature. He may have some violent tendencies, but what he really wants is to be understood and feel love.
Frankenstein tattoos are often done in realism, black and grey, neo traditional, and American traditional, as well as black work.
“Even broken in spirit as he is, no one can feel more deeply than he does the beauties of nature. The starry sky, the sea, and every sight afforded by these wonderful regions, seems still to have the power of elevating his soul from earth. Such a man has a double existence: he may suffer misery, and be overwhelmed by disappointments; yet, when he has retired into himself, he will be like a celestial spirit that has a halo around him, within whose circle no grief or folly ventures.” ― Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Frankenstein
According to Greek mythology, Medusa was born a beautiful woman, one of three sisters known as the Gorgons. When she was still human she was a priestess to the goddess Athena. Being a priestess she was sworn to celibacy.
So how did a beautiful maiden turn into the monster we’re all familiar with? Medusa was really a victim, and turning into a monster was not at all her fault, but the god of the sea, Poseidons. Poseidon met Medusa and was immediately infatuated. He tried over and over again to seduce Medusa, who refused each time. Finally Medusa sought refuge in Athena’s temple to get away from Poseidon. Poseidon didn’t care and went after her, following her into the temple of Athena, where he forced himself on her against her will.
To punish Medusa for having relations inside her temple, Athena turned Medusa into a monster. A woman with snakes for hair that could turn any who looked upon her directly into stone. Seeing herself as a hideous monster, Medusa fled, shunned by all, wandering alone. In her despair her character turned into the monster of her outward appearance.
Many warriors tried unsuccessfully to slay Medusa, but all were turned to stone, and her reputation grew with each kill. Until Perseus was sent to collect her head and bring it to the king Polydectes. Perseus was given quite a bit of help to complete this task, which the other warriors did not have. He was given a sword smithed by the god Hephaestus, Hades’ helmet of invisibility, winged sandals from Hermes, and a mirrored shield from Athena.
Perseus was able to slay Medusa by looking at her reflection in the mirrored shield so he could see her coming and not be turned to stone. He decapitated her, and in doing so freed her from Athena’s curse.
As a tattoo Medusa is often done in black and grey, neo traditional, realism, blackwork, and American traditional. She is most often tattooed as just her head, either visibly decapitated or portrait style.
Who is your favourite mythological Greek character?