Show Us Your Tats

 

The Tattooist

Scumbag tattoo artist Jake Sawyer travels the world looking for design ideas to steal. Marketing them as “healing tats” (there are claims his ink work is medicinal), he gets all kinds of freak clients, including an Asian father who wants his ailing 9 year-old son to get a chest tattoo. (Most kids should wait ’til they’re 11 before getting ink.)

The Tattooist

While “researching” new concepts, Jake witnesses a bitch ass painful Samoan tattooing ritual called “pe’a,” during which a subject honors his ancestors, culture and heritage with a “britches” tattoo that completely covers his upper legs, crotch area (OK, ouch), and up over his abdomen. This is done with a tool called an Autapulu (back-scratcher with razor-sharp comb-y teeth) and a Sausa, a mallet used to pound the Autapulu into your screaming flesh. If someone did that to me, I’d totally pe’a my britches.

The Tattooist

Stealing the Autapulu, Jake later scratches himself on the device and begins having nightmarish flashbacks of involuntary flesh being tattooed to death. After inking several clients Jake discovers that a curse has been transferred to him, which invokes an invisible restless spirit that is compelled to finish a pe’a on each of Jake’s customers. The spirit doesn’t stop until the entire body is covered in ink/pain. Oh, yeah – their blood turns to ink as well. (Hey, I just made a joke – ink well. I’m awesome!) Ink blood, though, is not cool, made even more so by the fact Jake’s new girlfriend was one of his clients…and now the spirit is after her.

The Tattooist

Lots of cultural background (way more interesting than the actual black-faced ghost spirit), lots of tattooing (it’s supposed to hurt), and a nice turnaround as to who/what the spirit is and why he/she/it keeps pounding Autapulu into butt skin as though tenderizing a flank steak. The Tattooist (2007)is an above-average spin on horror, which is almost as gratifying as finally getting a new pair of pe’a pants.

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