Tom Savini, aka The Godfather of Gore, is most famously known for his role as a special effects and make-up artist on the set of George A. Romero’s early horror films, including titles such as “Dawn of the dead” “Day of the dead” and “Martin”.
(Savini's special effects from Romero's "Dawn of the dead" and Day of the dead")
He was responsible for the make-up and effects of “Friday the 13th” as well as in the movie “The Burning”, which was one of the first of its genre produced by Miramax films. Although often discredited for being a “Friday the 13th” knock off due to its plot similarities, The Burning was actually written before “Friday the 13th”, and was based off the urban legend of “Cropsey” about a New York based Boogeyman.
Inspired by old monster movies, Savini is a self-taught make-up artist, who practiced on himself in his bedroom as a kid. He eventually moved on to practicing on neighborhood children, who would return home to their unimpressed parents with fake suicide wounds and afflictions.
Savini’s talent didn’t end there; the sultan of splatter went on to be a director, actor, stuntman and teacher at his special effects course in Pennsylvania.
He admitted that his time spent in Vietnam heavily inspired his future work, and went on to say that having witnessed firsthand the dead and the wounded, that he aimed for his work to be as realistic as possible.
Originally enlisting in the army in the hopes of staying out of Vietnam, Savini chose to sign up with the intention of choosing the training of his preference in order to avoid fighting on the front line. Since he was already studying photography, he signed up to be trained as a combat photographer.
Despite his intentions, Tom received orders to be dispatched to Vietnam.
He honored the instructions and went to a training unit where he was prepared for combat; he was put through war scenarios and shown graphic videos of combat injuries in the field.
Savini stated in an interview that in order to cope with the death and destruction that he was ordered to document during his tour, that he imagined it was all special effects. He continued to practice his art and attempted to mentally detach himself from the horrific reality of the situation.
(Make up on the set of "Day of the dead")
Tom is currently working on a remake of “Nightmare City” as a director, the title is due to be released in 2016.