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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Witch Tattoos:

Witches have been around for hundreds and hundreds of years, and span across all cultures in various forms and with different names, but we’re all familiar with them, and they’re more popular than ever (in Western culture at least).

A witch being burned at the stake done by Uncle Phil at Wolf and Dagger tattoo, UK
A witch and her staff done by Moira Ramone Rotterdam, Netherlands

Witches and witchcraft have had many different meanings over the years, but traditionally it refers to women (often portrayed as old crones) practicing some kind of dark magic that often involves spirits and/or satan himself. Throw in some cannibalism, a pet familiar, and other ghosts and ghouls and you’ve got yourself a party.

A neo-traditonal witch being burned at the stake done by Renae Haak at Diabolik Tattoo in Newcastle, Australia
A witch being burned at the stake by Bex Priest Tattoos

Wicca is a predominantly western movement whose followers “worship” nature, and base the religion upon pre-Christian traditions of mainly Northern and Eastern Europe. Some important celebrations for Wiccans include Halloween, the summer solstice, winter solstice, and vernal equinox.

A witchy woman done by Ryan Murray at Black Veil Tattoo in Salem MA
A witchy woman done by Matthew Murray at Black Veil Tattoo in Salem MA

Witchcraft and witches have become so mainstream today that even businesses such as Sephora, Urban Outfitters, and others sell products like tarot cards, witch-themed makeup, Ouija boards, crystals, and more.

A witch being burned done by Nikos Tsakiris at the Golden Goat Tattoo
A more American traditional witch done by Alice Burke at Highwater Gallery in Swansea, UK

As a tattoo, many people choose the more “classic” witch look; pointy hat and all. Blackwork, American traditional and black and grey are some of the more popular styles for witches, and many folks choose to get witch burning tattoos, witches haunting places, or witches with their broomsticks or familiars.

An adorable witch head done by Amanda LaForest at Momentum Tattoo Florida
Black and grey witch/plague doctor done by Julianna Menna at Gristle Tattoo in Brooklen, NY

Do you have a witch tattoo?

Scream (movie) Tattoos:

Scream, first released in 1996, written by Kevin Williamson, and directed by the great Wes Craven, has turned into one of the most popular horror franchises around, spanning four films from the 1990’s to 2010’s, with a 5th on the way.

Line work Ghostface done by Jen at Fall Back Down Tattoo
Black work Ghostface in a heart done by Nate Laird

Scream was pretty groundbreaking in its day, being a slasher film that successfully moved into the mainstream through its use of comedy and self awareness. The first film was written by Williamson in just three days after he got the idea for the film during a scare he had a few days earlier in which he heard a noise while watching tv, and noticed that the window was open, which he hadn’t done. He reportedly called a friend while grabbing a knife from the kitchen. His friend apparently started asking him about scary movies to distract him, and the opening scene of the first Scream was born. The idea for the film overall was also loosely inspired by a series of real murders committed by serial killer Danny Rolling, AKA the Gainesville Ripper. 

Ghostface and his iconic knife done by Andrew Scott at Chronic Ink, Toronto
Ghostface ice cream cone by Ross Purvis at Primrose Tattoo Parlor in Orlando, Florida

Wes Craven actually wore the Ghostface mask once during filming, in the opening scene between he and Casey (Drew Barrymore), and also made a brief cameo as a janitor. Drew Barrymore’s tears were real, as Wes Craven told her real stories about animal cruelty in order to “keep her upset and crying.” Drew was also using a real phone, and the props master JP Jones had forgotten to unplug it, leading her to call 911 for real while filming.

Ghostface and his knife by Matt Stasi
Sexy Ghostface done by Shelby Sawyer at Tried and True Tattoo

Originally the Weinstein brothers approached directors George A. Romero and Sam Raimi to direct, but they both turned it down. Wes Craven initially passed as well, but when he heard Drew Barrymore was originally set to play Sidney Prescott he signed on. Of course Drew changed her mind, and Neve Campbell became Sidney, and did a great job in the role for years to come.

Ghostface and Casey done by German Ferreiroa at True Black Tattoing in Dublin, Ireland
A more old school Ghostface with knife and trad flowers done by Kristopher John in Los Angeles

As a tattoo most people choose to get some form of Ghostface, usually in a black work or American traditional style. Knives with Ghostface superimposed within are also quite popular. Do you have a Scream tattoo?

“What’s your favourite scary movie?” Done by Erin Sullins at Monolith Tattoo in Nashville TN
A cute lil strawberry Ghostface done by Skylar Skylord Rose Wasserman in Florida

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Cthulhu Tattoos:

Cthulhu is a fictional entity that was created by horror-fantasy writer H.P. Lovecraft and was first seen in 1928 in his story The Call of Cthulhu. Its physical appearance is supposed to be so horrible that it destroys the sanity of anyone who looks at it. It is described as “a monster of vaguely anthropoid outline, but with an octopus-like head whose face was a mass of feelers, a scaly, rubbery-looking body, prodigious claws on hind and fore feet, and long, narrow wings behind.”

Mostly black and grey piece done by Chloe Smith Tattoo
Cool Cthulhu done by María Roca in Madrid

Cthulhu is a priest or leader for “the Old Ones” who are a species that came to earth from space well before humans came to be. The Old Ones lay dormant and their city was buried under the earth’s crust, beneath the Pacific Ocean. They were more or less forgotten about by the majority of humans, except for certain “uncivilized” groups of people who remembered Cthulhu and the Old Ones and worshipped them in horrible rites and rituals.

Black and grey piece by Sarah Walsworth
Cthulhu and the moon done by Lucy Harrington in Dublin, Ireland

H.P. Lovecraft is regarded as one of the most influential and well-known horror-fantasy writers, having influenced modern horror writers and directors such as Stephen King, Guillermo del Toro, Junji Ito, Matt and Ross Duffer, Matt Ruff, Misha Green, and countless others. He is also known as the creator of the sub-genre of horror known as “Cosmic Horror”. 

A more neo-traditional piece done by Kelly Gormley
Super cute new school Cthulhu by Mychaela at The great Wilderness Tattoo

Despite Lovecraft’s wide reach, he was also extremely racist, and people like Matt Ruff and Misha Green (Lovecraft Country) have worked to expose that while still recognizing the cultural relevance, particularly of Cthulhu and other creatures. By the early 1930’s he was defending white Lynch mobs and praising Hitler in letters to friends, and short stories such as “The Shadow over Innsmouth”, and “The Horror of Red Hook” made non-white folks out to be primitive and less than human. 

To be or not to be, that is the question Cthulhu asked… Done by Jack Vegas in Lviv, Ukraine
Creepy black and grey piece by Anubis Lok at Phycho Pomp Tattoo in Hong Kong

As a tattoo, many people choose to get Cthulhu in a more realistic style, although neo-traditional and new school are also popular. What is your favourite story featuring Cthulhu?

Dotwork piece by Mammoth Tattoo
Terrifying black work piece by Markus Blanchard in Salem MA

Edited by Harrison R.

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Halloween Flash:

It’s October which means Halloween flash from many artists!

Witchy black and grey flash from Shannon Mcfarlene at Iron Lotus Winnipeg
Comic book style flash from Mike End in Paris

Many artists have deals on flash throughout October, or at the very least have themed sheets with ghosts, goblins, and ghoulies.

Deadly warriors by Mike Roberts at Port’s End, Oregon
Cute flash from Cloud Hamilton at White Lotus Body Arts in Ventura, CA

Most artists who do sheets like this are old school artists, but you can also find black and grey, hand poked, black work, and more!

Classic spooky flash from Renee Strong at Art and Soul Tattoo in Winnipeg
Disney flash from Kelly McMurray at Good Luck Tattoos in Santa Cruz, CA

As with most flash, pieces will be available either only one time (for one person to wear), or with small changes made to give you an original piece that is similar to others.

spooky Kewpie dolls by Sam Murphy at Black Sheep Bristol
Serial killers from Dan Gagné at Mortem Tattoo in Montreal

Some tattooers go for cute halloween themed sheets like Disney characters, cartoon characters, or cute horror icons, but I’ll take the real creepy stuff!

Japanese style horror classics from One Man Riet at Red Nimbus Tattoo Club
Women in horror flash from Monica Amneus at Sants and Sinners Tattoo

What’s your favourite scary movie?

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Artist of the Month: Alexandra Fische

Alexandra Fische is a tattoo artist working out of 9th Realm Gallery in Salem, MA. Alexandra is the perfect artist to feature during October, as 30 seconds on her Instagram will show you. 

Black Philip from The Witch
Neo-traditional werewolf

Alexandra’s main focus of work is cute neo-traditional and new school Halloween and horror themed pieces. While spooky themed work is what you’ll mainly see on her page, Alexandra is also known to do watercolour, black and grey, and some more realistic work.

Salem themed grave
AFI’s All Hallow’s E.P album cover

You can tell Alexandra is passionate about horror and Halloween from the incredible care and attention to detail she puts into every piece. Her takes on classic horror icons, creatures, and monsters are one of a kind and really showcase her unique style.

Lock, Shock, and Barrel from the Nightmare Before Christmas
Vlad the Impaler portrait

Alexandra has brilliant flash to choose from, as well as the ability to draw up something original.

Creepy black cat
Barbara and Adam from Beetlejuice done up as The Lovers Tarot card

If you’re in the Salem area Alexandra is a must see artist. What horror movie do you want a tattoo from most?

Adorable new school Baphomet
Creepy carousel

Centipede Tattoos:

Centipedes make great tattoos because of the versatility in their shape. They can be long and straight or wrap around other existing tattoos.

Creepy one done by Filosh Tattoo at Pink Machine Tattoo
Black and grey centipede with eyes done by Rafel Delalande at Seven Doors Tattoo in London

Centipedes are creepy enough on their own but they can be made even more terrifying by using skulls or heads to make up the body.

Centipede made with heads done by Ganji at Capital Tattoo in Australia
Old school centipede done by Ashley Thorne at Tattoo Bug Studio

People get centipedes tattooed on them in a number of styles; mainly old school, black work, Japanese, or neo-traditional.

Centipede and flowers done by Jessica Paula at Kelz Ink Kingdom in Yorkshire UK
Lady head centipede done by James Mckenna at Golden Panther Tattoo

Many people choose centipedes as a gap filler due to their shape, and they can also be done quite small or as a huge statement piece.

Chain and skull centipede done by Marlee Natale at Modern Moose Studios
Old school centipede done by Eli Fakes at Brass Monkey Tattoo in Ohio

Do you have your own centipede tattoo?

Skull centipede done by Johan Navarro in Guadalajara Mexico
Heavy black work centipede done by Gara Tattooer at Lighthouse tattoo in South Korea

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Artist of the Month: Moira Ramone

Moira Ramone is a tattoo artist working out of Bont & Blauw Tattoo in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Moira does old school and neo-traditional work with and without colour, with a particular love for all things horror and punk. 

A classic demon breaking free of its shackles
Kiefer Sutherland as David from “The Lost boys”

Moira’s Instagram page is filled with images such as punk rock girls with black boots and tattoos of their own, horror icons like Jason Voorhees and Christmas Devil Krampus, circus performers, and portraits (among others). 

The Hindu Goddess Kali
Classic horror sleeve

Moira makes a point to create a safe space for all people regardless of skin colour, gender identity or sexual orientation. Tattooing is quite an intimate experience so it’s always great to be able to receive your new art from someone who makes an effort to make all people comfortable.

Old school back featuring Bert Grimm’s butterfly lady
No Means No!

 

Whether you’re looking for a small or large piece, Moira does it all. If you’re passing through you can get something smaller, or if you live in the area (or can get there easily) maybe you could start a full back or sleeve. 

Krampus bringing some naughty children down to Hell
All Cops Are Bastards tombstone

If you can’t make it all the way to the Netherlands for a tattoo, or just want to support Moira from a distance you can check out her store here and get yourself some clothing, books, stickers, candles, original paintings, or prints.

Punk girl meets the devil
Circus performer featuring her own tattoos

Edited by Harrison R.

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Addams Family Tattoos:

The Addams family have been creeping people out and making them laugh since 1938 when the kooky family first appeared in Charles Addams’ cartoon in The New Yorker. Since then, they have also appeared in the 1960’s sit-com that ran for two seasons, a cartoon show in the 70’s that also ran for two seasons, a live action feature film in 1991 and a sequel in 1993, and a cartoon feature in 2019.

Addams Family quote by Meg Lewis at Stallions and Galleons Tattoo in the UK
Morticia and Gomez by Max Puga

As tattoos, the character “Wednesday” is probably the most popular for fans, followed by Uncle Fester and Thing. Quotes and other characters also make for great tattoos. The most prevalent styles are black and grey, realism, and neo-traditional. 

Hyper realistic portrait of Uncle Fester by Sólyom Dániel at James Tattoo Gallery in Budapest
Thing by Emma Maris at This Dark Horse Tattoo in Manchester, England

Wednesday Addams has long been a fan favourite, but like the other characters, she didn’t have a name until the 1960’s show. She was named after the nursery rhyme called “Monday’s Child”, detailing the days of the week, with Wednesday being described in the rhyme as “Wednesday’s child is full of woe.” In the original cartoon she is pail, dark haired, and has an obsession with the macabre. In the 1960’s show she is much sweeter and kinder, though her favourite hobby is raising spiders. The 1990’s films made her much darker again, and it’s this version of Wednesday that usually makes it to tattoos. 

A devilish Wednesday by Peter Granite Crowell at Lighthouse Tattoo Club, in Auburn, CA
Wednesday and poison by Kim Cauchi at Modern Tribe Tattoo Studio

Creator Charles Addams was known for having somewhat macabre interests and hobbies, hence his ability to create such fantastic characters and stories. His house was apparently filled with medieval weapons and torture devices. He had a particular love for crossbows and even admitted to fantasizing about shooting an intruder or robber with one.

Uncle Fester by Kyra Leigh at To The Grave Tattoo in Lexington, KY
“Stay Weird” Wednesday by Brianne Sienkiewicz at No Man’s Land Tattoo in Middletown NY

Angelica Huston (Morticia Addams) apparently grew up reading her parents’ book of Addams Family cartoons and even pretended she was Morticia. It is interesting how she ended up playing the character in the movies 30 years later. She also had to go through a daily routine of fitting into a metal corset that created the cartoonish figure of Morticia. This included gauze eye lifts, neck tucks, and fake nails. 

Cartoons Wednesday and Pugsley by Toni Mazuranic at Tattoo Hardline in Zagreb, Croatia
Wednesday and the house by Uncle Trashcan in Orlando, FL

Who is your favourite Addams Family character?

Edited by Harrison R.

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