Guillotine Tattoos:

For those who are unfamiliar, the guillotine is a device made for execution by beheading. The structure consists of a tall wooden frame from which a razor sharp and heavy blade hangs ready to fall on its victim who is placed in a stock of sorts, leaving the neck exposed and ready to be separated from its body.

Bloody guillotine by Larry Coffins at Toronto Ink
Woodblock print style guillotine done by Baynez Graff at Pinecone Gallery Tattoo

The guillotine as we know it was allegedly invented by Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin as a more humane way to execute people. It was significantly quicker than even regular beheading by axe which could be easily botched and would often take two or more swings to finally kill the victim. This specific name “guillotine” dates back to 1789, France, but similar devices with different structural designs existed for centuries before; such as the “planke” in Germany and Flanders dating back to the Middle Ages, and the “Halifax Gibbet” in England which may have been used as far back as antiquity. But the French guillotine design was specifically based off of two other existing execution devices; the “mannaia” from Italy during the Renaissance, and the “Scottish Maiden” from Scotland which was used from the 16th to 18th centuries.

Bold heavy black and dark red guillotine done by Hudson at Lock and Key Tattoo in the UK
Bright and colourful American traditional guillotine on fire with skulls done by Chin at Common Ground Tattoo in Bangkok

Dr. Guillotin was apparently horrified when the device was named after him, and his family even tried (and failed) to have the name changed in the early 19th century. The French Guillotine claimed its first victim in April 1972, and its last use was in France in 1977 where it was still the main method of execution until capital punishment was stopped in 1981. While hundreds of thousands of people met their bloody end underneath the glinting blade of a guillotine, the most infamous time of its usage was during the French Revolution which took place from September 1793 – July 1794. During this relatively short time a shocking 16,594 people were executed by the guillotine in France, with 2,639 in Paris alone.

American traditional guillotine with demon and skulls done by Chris Spriggs at Iron and Gold Tattoo
Black and grey traditional guillotine with flower done by Lizzy Michelle at Pacific Tattoos in Eindhoven, Netherlands

Public beheadings existed from the beginning of the French Revolution until 1939 in France, but during the Revolution it was extremely popular for anyone, including families to check out an execution and even grab a bite to eat at the famous  “Cabaret de la Guillotine” before watching the bloodbath. There was even a well known trio of women called the “Tricoteuses,” who used to sit next to the guillotine and knitted in between executions. Theatrics even became popular for those being executed with some dancing on their way up the steps, and others offering jokes and sarcastic remarks before their heads rolled away.

Black and grey guillotine on fire done by Mike Marion at Grizzly Tattoo in Port’s End, OR
Broken blackwork guillotine done by @phil_bomb_ in Seoul

As tattoos, guillotines are popular with those interested in the darker side of life and history buffs alike. They are easily recognizable and can be done in many styles including American traditional, neo-traditional, black and grey, blackwork, and woodblock print styles. They are often accompanied by decapitated heads, skulls, flowers, flames, and blood.

Blackwork guillotine and head done by Laura Alice Westover
“Keep your head up” and guillotine done by Luke Nicou at Lucky Luke’s Traditional Tattooing, Port Elizabeth/Gqeberha, South Africa

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Vlad the Impaler Tattoos:

Bram Stoker based his fictional character, Dracula, on the real person with a taste for blood, Vlad the Impaler. Vlad III, the Prince of Wallachia, was born in 1431 in what is now Transylvania.

ryan murray Salem Ma. identical twin. co-owner of @blackveiltattoo
Terrifying portrait in heavy blackwork style done by Ryan Murray at Black Veil Tattoo in Salem Ma.
Melissa Vargas in Costa Rica
A bloody Vlad with impaled skeletons done by Melissa Vargas in Costa Rica.

Now to his gruesome nickname. Vlad invited hundreds of people to a banquet, people who were questioning his leadership, and had them stabbed, then impaled on spikes. According to legend he then continued to eat while watching his guests twitch as they slowly and painfully died on large spikes.

Done at Black Book Tattoo Romania
Vlad and the castle done at Black Book Tattoo in Romania.
VT at The Amber Rose Tattoo
Zombified Vlad head in American traditional style done by VT at The Amber Rose Tattoo.

Vlad is also credited with impaling dozens of Saxons in 1456, as well as a group of Ottoman men. The latter refused to remove their turbans for Vlad, and Vlad commended them on their belief, saying they would never be apart from their turbans again, reportedly nailing their turbans to their skulls.

Jason Herring at Inkaholics art Studio
Realistic black and grey portrait with some red background done by Jason Herring at Inkaholics Art Studio.

Though there is much uncertainty surrounding Vlad, it is confirmed that he did die, unlike the numerous Dracula stories. Vlad was killed during a raid, but there is much debate as to where his tomb is.

Jelle Jansen at The Office Tattoo
American traditional Vlad portrait done by Jelle Jansen at The Office Tattoo.

Many lovers of horror choose to get tattoos of Vlad, the “original” Dracula. Most tattoos are portraits, often blackwork or American/neo traditional.

Lisa Orth
Beautiful line work piece with Vlad and impales bodies, made to look like the old wood carvings. Done by Lisa Orth.
vlad impaler
Wood carving of Vlad eating while watching his guests being impaled.

Which tattoo is your favourite?

Jason Voorhees Tattoos:

Jason Voorhees is the iconic villain from the Friday the 13th franchise. Jason is a silent, undead killing machine, and mamma’s boy. Jason haunts Camp Crystal Lake where he drowned as a child due to inattentive lifeguards. As a tattoo Jason is done in a realistic style portrait, American traditional style, neo traditional, black and grey, and new school/cartoon. He is usually seen wearing his hockey mask, sometimes paired with his machete or other weapons, or seen in Camp Crystal Lake.

DJ at True Color Tattoos
Jason mask with full bodied Jason in very dark tones done by DJ at True Color Tattoos.
Paul Acker The Séance Tattoo Parlor in Bensalem PA
Hyper realistic Jason in a killing position done by Paul Acker The Séance Tattoo Parlor in Bensalem PA.
Joe K Worrall at Heart & Arrow Tattoo Studio, U.K
Colour piece by Joe K Worrall at Heart & Arrow Tattoo Studio in the UK.
Matt Beirne at Stefano's Tattoo Studio in Ft. Lauderdale
Black and grey Jason at Camp Crystal Lake with nude camp counsellor by Matt Beirne at Stefano’s Tattoo Studio in Ft. Lauderdale.
Moira Ramone at 24 to Life in NL.
Great contrasted Jason mask and machete by Moira Ramone at 25 to Life Tattoo in NL.

Jason was born with facial deformities and a mental disability. His mother kept him away from other people, homeschooling him and looking after him herself, but when she was unable to find a babysitter she resorted to sending him to Camp Crystal Lake where she worked as the cook. Jason was bullied by the other kids and thrown into the lake where he drowned while the counsellors were having sex in the woods. Mad with grief, Pamela, Jason’s mother, murdered the counsellors she blamed for Jason’s death. Jason came back to life and waited for his mother to come back to him, for 20 years. Years later the camp tried to re open, but Pamela murdered all but one of the counsellors. The survivor, Alice, cut off her head, while Jason watched. Jason killed anyone who came back to the camp, mostly using the machete that killed his own mother.

Alessia at Bikini Bottom Tattoo Shop
Adorable cartoon Jason done by Alessia at Bikini Bottom Tattoo shop.
Fran Muñoz
Realistic black and grey Jason head and chain by Fran Muñoz.
Megan Fell
American traditional Jason mask with “mamma’s boy” and flower by Megan Fell.

Jason has a kill count of over 150 throughout the films he’s been in. Jason’s supernatural powers include immortality, regeneration, superhuman strength, enhanced speed, and durability.

Amanda Fox in Glasgow
Jason mask and machete’s in classic skull and crossbones fashion by Amanda Fox in Glasgow.
Jesse Torres
Mostly black and grey Jason mask by Jesse Torres.
Murrmosavich at Blue Blood Custom Tattoos
Blackwork mask and machete by Murrmosavich at Blue Blood Custom Tattoos.
Sabrina Sawyers
Blackwork Jason mask and trees by Sabrina Sawyers.

Jason is a fan favorite in the horror genre, often paired with Freddy Kreuger, due in part to the film Freddy VS. Jason.

Done at Bespoke Body Art Tattoos in Grimsby, UK
Jason’s torso and machete, with chains, done at Bespoke Body Art Tattoos in Grimsby, UK.
Matt Bishop at Artistic Edge Tattoo
Neo traditional Jason and Camp Crystal Lake tattoo by Matt Bishop at Artistic Edge Tattoo.
Tony Davis in VA.
“Mama tried” American traditional mask and flower by Tony Davis in VA.

What is your favorite Friday the 13th movie?

Artist of the Month: Paul Acker

Paul Acker has been described many times as the master of horror when it comes to tattooing. He specializes in realistic horror themed tattoos, and does an amazing job of it.He owns The Séance Tattoo Parlour in Bensalem, PA.

Paul has been tattooing since December of 2000. As a kid he loved Tales from the Crypt and fangoria, which developed into a love of horror as he grew up. When doing his horror themed work, he focuses on the lighting within the tattoo, much like an actual horror movie does, to give the piece depth and contrast. Here are some of my favorites of his.

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Mad Max remake
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Christian Bale’s American Psycho
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Stephen King’s It
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Michael Meyers and his home, from Halloween
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Hannibal Lecter from Silence of the Lambs
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Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th
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Bloody wolf
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Decaying zombie
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Frankensteins monster looking as sad as ever
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The Evil Dead 2013 remake
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Jaws
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Edgar Allen Poe with raven and black cat
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Iconic Marilyn Manson
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Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street
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Wednesday Addams from The Addams Family
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Angry little Gollum from Tolkien’s the Lord of the Rings

Paul Acker only does tattoos that he is interested in doing. Better make sure you want something cool so you can get a brilliant piece from him!