Interview with Ludo Mortuus - Horror and Tattooing

                                                                                                                         Adam Knehans

I recently had a chance to chat with Melbourne Horror Film Society member Ludo Mortuus, a tattooist who is not only passionate about horror movies but about inking horror onto peoples skin.  We spoke about how she got into horror films, tattooing and the kind of work she is hoping to do.

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Adam - How long have you been tattooing and what drew you to it?

Ludo -  To be honest I am not sure what drew me to tattooing. Ever since I can remember I've been drawn to it and have always been interested in it.  Some old friends I've been in touch with over the years have told me "congratulations, you're doing exactly what you wanted. I remember you were talking about wanting to tattoo back in high-school! " so it's been a very ongoing thing.  It wasn't until I was in my last year of university that I decided it was really what I wanted to do for my entire life.  There were other things I also wanted to do but Tattooing was the top.  So after some bumps and adventures I managed to move here to Aussie land and tattoo.  I've been tattooing about 3 years now. 

Adam - How long have you been into horror films, how did you get into them and what are some of your earliest horror memories?

Ludo - This is kind of hard to answer because I don't really remember.  All I can say for sure is that the first 'horror' movie I saw was The Picture of Dorian Gray and I was around 10 or 11 I think.  The ending scared me to bits haha.  Then The Ring, I think i was around 12 or 13 when I saw it and my mom took me to see in in the cinema.  I was really scared and that night I couldn't sleep and I woke my mom up and everything, but that didn't stop me from seeing more or her from letting me so I guess that was the start of my fascination with these scary movies which then took me into more.  I didn't really dive deep into them until I moved to London and my ex was showing me all of these more underground movies like Toxic Avenger even though that's not really horror i guess...I was around 19 when I started watching all of the less mainstream ones. 

Adam - In what way do you draw on horror films and related media as inspiration for your work?

Ludo - So because of my music taste (predominately black and death metal) I prefer to create things which have something to do with those themes as well and they kind of go hand in hand in my opinion. Not the actual music and movies but the subject matter.  Zombies, or demons and monsters from different dimensions, the supernatural; occultism etc.  Having always been interested and attracted to the strange, the hidden and the different it was natural for me to take inspiration from horror movies.  More gore, blood, guts severed heads, demons, evil etc. Just always been inspired by the dark aspects of life and fantasy. 

Adam - What are a few of your favourite horror films?

Ludo - Oh there are so SO many favourites!!  One of the most recent ones is The Void, very Lovecraftian (my favourite author of course).  Alien along with Aliens and Prometheus, the latest one (Covenant) was pretty good but not among my favourites, still really enjoyed it though. Dawn of the Dead, I love The Autopsy of Jane Doe, The VVitch was also a beautiful movie, Carrie, The Conjuring, Evil Dead.  Holidays was brilliant, and of course The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I have to say that the new IT is right up there too.  Any good zombie movie as well. Love em! The Thing is definitely one of my favourite! 

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Adam - What are some of the most memorable horror tattoos you have done?

Ludo - Unfortunately because people who are into all of this horror and darkness are not really all that many, considering, I have not had much of a chance to do many.  I got to tattoo one of my designs earlier this year at the tattoo convention in April.  I had drawn a girl smoking with tentacles exploding from her head, one of my favourite pieces to date.  I recently also got to tattoo another one of my favourite designs; a skull with a burning church underneath and i am very happy with the outcome.  One more that I did a year or so ago was a Cthulhu, the customer was into all of the horror.  Other ones I've done have been Lovecraft related - always with tentacles.  It's a theme I follow through out a lot of my work.  They are so fun to create. 

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Adam - Is there a horror tattoo you would love to do?

Ludo - In terms of what horror tattoos I'd like to do.. well.. I would actually love to tattoo something from Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Ryuk the demon from Death Note, The Thing, and The Void. Those have got to be on top!  In reality any tattoo that is related to horror I'm so down for. That is my goal. Anything horror related and you've got my attention, and my eternal love haha. Preferably something to do with my favourite movies you know.  Zombies, aliens, blood dripping from hands or mouths.  Witches and demons are among the subject matter that I would love to tattoo. 

To finish off this interview Ludo has a special offer for Melbourne Horror Film Society members wanting to get some horror ink.

Ludo - If anyone who reads this is interested in getting a horror related tattoo they can first follow me on Instagram: @Ludo_Mortuus, and on FaceBook: @Ludo Mortuus Tattoos, share my page, and DM  / email / message me with their idea, and they will get %20 off their tattoo.
The only rule is that their tattoo has to be a decent size (at least A5) with enough detail and be horror related. 

 

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September Screening - Banshee Chapter

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“I shall never permit anything bearing my signature to be banalised and vulgarised into the flat, infantile twaddle which passes for ‘horror tales’ amongst radio and cinema audiences.”
                                                                                - HP Lovecraft to the poet Richard Morse

To close our series of Lovecraftian and Cosmic Horror films we will be screening Blair Erickson's Banshee Chapter. Where the thematic elements of cosmic horror can be inferred on films like Event Horizon other films build their narratives upon Lovecraft's themes of cosmic indifferentism and cosmic horror, films such as Banshee Chapter.

A reporter is investigating a group of people experimenting with the drug DMT-19, the drug synonmous with Project MKUltra (a CIA mind control program), open themselves up to horrors lurking just outside of reality. Mixing cosmic horror and conspiracy theories Banshee Chapter will close the Lovecraftian series. Next up, our Halloween screenings...
 

Facebook event here

We look forward to seeing you all on the night..
Bob, David, Mel & Adam

**PLEASE NOTE** LONGPLAY BAR SEATS A MAXIMUM OF 25 PEOPLE, SO GET IN EARLY!
Newcomers, LongPlay has a dedicated cinema with a great size screen and the front bar offers tasty food and beverages that will be available on the night..

Remember: memberships are required to attend our screenings and will be available to purchase on the night.
Mini memberships give you access to 3 screenings for just $8.
Full memberships cover you for 12 screenings and will set you back $25.

Lurking Within

Lurking Within

Once a fortnight I will be posting an interactive article about Horror Movies in Horror Movies. It will include a brief synopsis of the scene, with hints plus pictures so you guess what film it is from. The answer will be on the next page so once you think you have it you can click on it to see if you were right.

Its a cold, misty evening and Charlie is up quite late even though it's a school night. The reason he is up so late is so he can spy on his new neighbours, who have been keeping him preoccupied much to the annoyance of his girlfriend Amy.  Whilst he is eating some chips and getting an eye full from next door there is a movie playing on the TV in his bedroom which he is missing out on watching, the film is...   

Review of ‘The Endless’ (2017)

Bob Fynan

Following 2015’s romantic monster film Spring, Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead have returned to the curious, Lovecraftian myth they created in 2012’s Resolution. Justin and Aaron (played by the almost one-man-band crew of Benson and Moorhead) are survivors of a ‘UFO death cult’ grinding out a dreary existence since their childhood escape. Aaron’s rose-tinted memories of the brothers contented and healthy life at the cult’s camp is piqued when he receives a cruddy videotape apparently announcing the cult members coming ascension (suicide). Aaron convinces his reluctant brother to take a trip down memory lane to cult land to see what’s going on. Upon arriving back at Camp Arcadia the brothers discover that the cult members they remember from two decades ago have not aged a day. From there circumstances progress at a leisurely pace from the eeriness of bog standard groupthink to full-on bewilderment as the unknown and seemingly unknowable begins to assert itself.

This is a relatively small film that focuses on some interesting topics such as time, immortality and predestination. On balance it's more thought provoking sci-fi than terrifying horror, but a timeless fear does permeate this story, that being the fear of the unknown.

Camp Arcadia, the setting for the majority of the film lives up to its pastoral paradise namesake. Moorhead captures the beautiful landscape in dreamy, golden colours and the supernatural elements blend in and build discreetly as the film develops. But unlike a utopian paradise, this patch of earth is, for better or worse, controlled by the supernatural. It raises interesting questions about the amount of control that we have over our lives. Would you sign-up for an existence ultimately governed by some unknowable entity? And what conditions would you require to be content in that existence?  Perhaps you’d be happy with the promise of immortality but what if that also meant endlessly repeating past mistakes? And swap ‘entity’ for ‘deity’ and various religious examples demonstrate that many of us are willing to put up with all kinds of hardships and infringements on our personal liberty just so we can feel like we belong to something and avoid the reality of our random and relatively insignificant existence.

Apart from the thought provoking material, I did find the brothers relationship a tad simplistic. And my immediate reaction after the credits was that it distracted me from the more interesting elements of the film. I’m also pretty sure this film wouldn’t pass the Bechdel test and from memory there were 9 male compared to 3 female speaking parts. In spite of these issues this film has lingered in my thoughts since I saw it last week and I’ve enjoyed discussing it with others. I’ll certainly keep an eye out for what this talented pair produce next. And if you’re considering this one, be sure to also watch Benson and Moorhead’s earlier film, Resolution.

 

Lurking Within!

Lurking Within!

   David Lorensene
 

Welcome to Lurking Within.  Once a fortnight I will be posting an interactive article about horror movies that feature within another horror movie. It will include a brief synopsis of the scene, with hints and pictures so you can try and figure out what film it is from. The answer will be on the next page, so once you think you have it you can click to see the answer.

This idea of horror films within horror films came to me first while watching Halloween, I have ever since tried to find films earlier than 1978 to find out when it first started. It was a feature in a lot of films of the 80s and it has carried on throughout the decades since. It is a great way for a writer or director to visually show films that were a direct influence on them or ones that they enjoy.

Here is the first:

It’s late one Halloween night and Laurie is working. She has agreed to babysit Tommy, whilst at the same time being distracted by calls from her friends.  Outside a shape lurks around under the cover of darkness in the neighbourhood.

Inside Tommy is glued to the television watching an all night horror marathon and on the screen is....

Morbid Curiosity: From scared shitless to loving embraces.

Samuel Dougherty
Insta - @beardeddonut

One of the earliest memories I have as a child is standing in the aisles of my local Blockbuster and deciding what movie to watch. It usually went something along the lines of entering the store, being told by mum and dad to go pick a film, rushing through the kids section to find something that looked fun, and then immediately after standing smack bang in the center of the horror section. I had this morbid curiosity with the covers of these films, though I’d never seen any I always made up stories in my mind as to what terrifying concoctions the tapes contained. That alone was enough to send my mind into a flat-spin as the pictures before me aided in my imagined psychological torment.

So every fortnight or so it was the same routine of going to the Blockbuster to see what was out, running off to the horror section and making up more tales judging a book by its cover. The two that forever stuck in my head are Leprechaun and A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. Leprechaun I guess because they’re meant to be whimsical but this one looked twisted and evil, a feat that my 6 year old self couldn’t fully understand. But Freddy’s Revenge, that artwork is beautiful. The oil painting poster where Jesse embraces Lisa but his reflection shows this ghoulish other half with a giant claw hand still draws me in to this day. It’s embedded in my consciousness; horror movies are in my blood.

From a young age my parents taught me that if something was really scary in the movie, or on the TV, that it wasn’t real. It was all a trick by the people who made the films in order to make us feel uncomfortable; it was their job to scare us. I saw Terminator 2: Judgment Day on TV at the age of 6 or 7, and The Matrix around the same time. I always held that notion close to myself, and effectively they had taught me a more complex version of “It’s Only A Movie…. Only A Movie... Only a Movie…” Many of those who’ve met me know that Freddy Krueger and “A Nightmare On Elm Street” are my favorite horror villain and film respectively. But few know the film that first scared me, and I mean truly scared the ever-loving shit out of me as a child.

How To Make A Monster.  Not the original 50’s film that I am yet to see, but the 2001 Tele-movie starring Clea DuVall and Tyler Mane. As a kid I loved video games, I’d talk alongside the character, throw myself into fits of rage when I lost, and immerse myself in the culture wanting to know as much about what was coming out as soon as I could. So naturally when I saw my father watching a movie about a group of people creating a videogame I jumped in along side him to see the action first hand. I’ll preface this next part by saying that I was warned by my father that this was not a film I should be watching, he tried to get me to leave the room, but I was stubborn as a mule and refused.

About 30 minutes later, with the blood drained from my face I left the room in shambles. I didn’t sleep the next night in fears that the sentient robotic amalgamation of flesh was going to come through my bedroom door wearing my father’s head as its own. It was the second dip into horror world that I remember, and having since grown up and watched the film as an adult it shouldn’t freak me out but it still did. Much alike you never forget your first love, I will never forget my first horror film experience. It wasn’t only a movie anymore, for better or worse I had felt something change within me.

A couple of years later I begged my mother to record Robocop for me on TV one night. I didn’t know about the film just the presence, An R-Rated movie about a robot cop. What more does a young boy want? Watching Murphy have his arm forcibly amputated via shotgun was shocking enough, but I’d grown up by this stage so it was all just a movie. Watching Emil crash into a tank of toxic waste before emerging as personified puddle, that was freaky. Not enough to terrify, but my attention was caught. I wanted to see more like this, I wanted to find out what the scary stuff really was in movies.

I was about 11 when I started the horror movie kick. I saw Freddy Vs. Jason for my birthday on DVD and everything spiraled out from there. I had fallen in love with Freddy, and to a slightly lesser extent the malevolent towering terror that is Jason Voorhees. So with no older siblings to help upon my journey I started with a Friday night fright series on Foxtel. Friday The 13th followed immediately by the original A Nightmare On Elm Street I made it through Friday before bitching out in the opening sequence of Nightmare. But I vowed to finish that film, so the next weekend I made the trip to Video-Ezy and rented the first three Nightmare on Elm Street films. Hooked. That night I became an addict. Be it the adrenaline or once again that morbid curiosity I had finally jumped head first into the world of horror movies.

Between the ages of 12 and 15 not a fortnight went by where I wasn’t at the video store renting something from the horror section. I must’ve seen near on everything they had. I started with the classics where I could, Friday the 13th, Child’s Play, The Exorcist, I wanted to devour it all. In the height of my early teens the Torture porn craze was at its peak. Saw, Hostel, Teeth, The Ruins - it was all going off like a frog in a sock. I became that kid at school. You know the one, watches all the weird shit, the fucked up movies. They came to me wanting to know what was and wasn’t worth checking out for dates, or movie nights, or just what to show their friends to scare them half to death.

I was one of the first to see The Human Centipede at my school.  Everyone else thought it was terrifying, I thought it was schlocky gory fun. By this stage I’d sat through High Tension and Martyrs, I considered myself a bonafide gore whore. Then in 2010, my second last year of high school, it happened. The horror film to shock and disturbed all generations. A Serbian Film. This is what I had been waiting for, I’d grown bored of all the American torture stuff, the French weren’t hitting a nerve anymore, this was the messiah. I got hold of it and wound up watching half the film in one of my IT classes. It only occurred to me to stop when a fellow classmate caught a glimpse of what I was watching and asked in a mortified tone “Dude! What the fuck are you watching!?” Luckily it wasn’t the now infamous "New Born Porn" sequence or I probably would’ve been expelled.

I continued this love of horror throughout my teens side by side with my cousin as we bounced what we had and hadn’t seen off of each other trying to one up where we could. Then in 2012 a once in a lifetime event came by that I couldn’t pass up. “Shock Horror: The Nightmare Returns” A small convention focused on my favorite franchise A Nightmare On Elm Street. Alongside Ken Sagoes (Kincaid from Dream Warriors), Lisa Wilcox (Alice from Dream Master and Dream Child), and a surprise visit from John Jarratt and Greg McLean, the man himself was there. Robert Englund. FREDDY FUCKING KRUEGER HIMSELF. I got my copy of Nightmare signed, and of course a picture with the legend. However possibly the biggest thing I gained from that convention was meeting David from the Melbourne Horror Film Society.

Friendly, approachable and knowledgeable beyond my belief it was a solid friendship in the making. Admittedly it took me another year before I a) got my license and b) finally dragged my lazy ass down to one of the screenings. It was a chance meeting that has furthered my love of horror cinema tenfold. The first screening I came to for the horror film society was a double feature of Splinter and The Fly 2, a couple films I’d seen before but I felt at the time it was better to check out something I knew just in case I had to prove my passion. It was a great night and since then I’ve been at near on every screening since, give or take a few for holidays or a dislocated knee.

So I guess what I’m trying to say with this article is that horror isn’t just a series of films for me. It is the crux that my life has been hinged upon. My once morbid curiosity has turned into a life long love that I get to share with wonderful people along the way. Since joining the Melbourne Horror Film Society it’s been a pleasure to discuss with Bob, Mel, Adam, David and all the others who come every month the intricacies of the cinema and soundtracks, as well as what’s new within our own worlds. This society isn’t a bunch of members getting on a high horse and only having one view to follow, it’s a group of friends discussing and interacting over what it is they love or loathe about horror. Every month it’s a loving embrace that the kid who was once scared shitless by horror films is glad to have, after all it’s only a movie…

 

August's Screening - Event Horizon

"The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age."
                                                                                   H.P. Lovecraft - The Call of Cthulhu

The second in our Lovecraft and Cosmic Horror screenings comes Paul W.S. Anderson's 1997 sci-fi horror film Event Horizon. It has been argued that Lovecraft's fiction is, at its core, science fiction told through the lens of horror and fantasy. Event Horizon touches on such Lovecraftian themes as the cold vastness of an uncaring universe, unimaginable terrors that lurk within the void and the frailty of the human mind.

We look forward to seeing you all on the night..
Bob, David, Mel & Adam

**PLEASE NOTE** LONGPLAY BAR SEATS A MAXIMUM OF 25 PEOPLE, SO GET IN EARLY!
Newcomers, LongPlay has a dedicated cinema with a great size screen and the front bar offers tasty food and beverages that will be available on the night..

Remember: memberships are required to attend our screenings and will be available to purchase on the night.
Mini memberships give you access to 3 screenings for just $8.
Full memberships cover you for 12 screenings and will set you back $25.

July Screening - H.P. Lovecraft's: Necronomicon

"The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown."
H.P. Lovecraft 1927.

Lovecraft's influence on modern horror is, arguably, without equal. Stephen King, Clive Barker, Guillermo Del Toro, Alan Moore, John Carpenter - all site Lovecraft as pivotal to their early exploration into the horror narrative. From July through through to September we will be screening films that explore the horrific core of Lovecraft's fiction: Cosmic Horror and the Fear of the Unknown. The first of these films will be the 1994 anthology H.P. Lovecraft's: Necronomicon. A collection of 3 short films loosly based on some of Lovecraft's fiction, each with a different director (including Brian Yuzna and Christophe Gans) and wrappped around with Jeffrey Combs playing Lovecraft himself. Necronomicon will be screened on VHS as it has never recieved a DVD or BluRay release in Australia and was, in fact, only available on DVD in France on a now out of print edition. Each of the 3 screeinings will begin with an intoroduction to Lovecraft, Cosmic Horror and cinema. We look forward to seeing you all on the night.. Bob, David, Mel & Adam **PLEASE NOTE** LONGPLAY BAR SEATS A MAXIMUM OF 25 PEOPLE, SO GET IN EARLY! Newcomers, LongPlay has a dedicated cinema with a great size screen and the front bar offers tasty food and beverages that will be available on the night.. Remember: memberships are required to attend our screenings and will be available to purchase on the night. Mini memberships give you access to 3 screenings for just $8. Full memberships cover you for 12 screenings and will set you back $25.



Lovecraft's influence on modern horror is, arguably, without equal. Stephen King, Clive Barker, Guillermo Del Toro, Alan Moore, John Carpenter - all site Lovecraft as pivotal to their early exploration into the horror narrative. From July through through to September we will be screening films that explore the horrific core of Lovecraft's fiction: Cosmic Horror and the Fear of the Unknown.

The first of these films will be the 1994 anthology H.P. Lovecraft's: Necronomicon. A collection of 3 short films loosly based on some of Lovecraft's fiction, each with a different director (including Brian Yuzna and Christophe Gans) and wrappped around with Jeffrey Combs playing Lovecraft himself. Necronomicon will be screened on VHS as it has never recieved a DVD or BluRay release in Australia and was, in fact, only available on DVD in France on a now out of print edition. Each of the 3 screeinings will begin with an intoroduction to Lovecraft, Cosmic Horror and cinema.

We look forward to seeing you all on the night..
Bob, David, Mel & Adam

**PLEASE NOTE** LONGPLAY BAR SEATS A MAXIMUM OF 25 PEOPLE, SO GET IN EARLY!
Newcomers, LongPlay has a dedicated cinema with a great size screen and the front bar offers tasty food and beverages that will be available on the night..

Remember: memberships are required to attend our screenings and will be available to purchase on the night.
Mini memberships give you access to 3 screenings for just $8.
Full memberships cover you for 12 screenings and will set you back $25.