Tattoos and Piercings

When evil characters don’t have skin conditions thrust upon them, they create their own: Tattoos and piercings of rich and infamous…

For decades, tattoos have been used in movies to ID bad guys.  Check out Robert DeNiro's ink in the remake of "Cape Fear". Dermatologists encounter tattoos when people desire their removal. Despite the fact that tattoos have become fashionable in Hollywood and elsewhere, in movies they are consistently used to depict evil.
Robert Mitchum, who starred in the original of "Cape Fear" with no body art, was less shy in the noir classic "Night of the Hunter." As a menacing preacher, Mitchum terrorizes a family, all the while sporting "Love/Hate" tatts on his hands.  Though tattoos are increasingly accepted in society, ink on the face and hands is still is thought of as stigmatizing by some.
Nicole Kidman, shown here as a conniving TV personality in "To Die For", struggles to conceal her evil. She nearly conceals a small chest tattoo. Women often get small tattoos in body areas where they assume no one is looking. Perhaps they don't realize the good eyesight many men possess.
Since the 1980's, tattoos have become commonplace in Western society.  Filmmakers have therefore amped up the tatt ratio for villains.  From "Suicide Squad," Harley Quinn has facial tattoos and the Joker has them all over.  Both opted for the blue black hue.  This is helpful in case these baddies change their wicked ways and use their stolen cash for laser treatments.  The dark tints best absorb the laser energy and so speed the clearance process.
One of our fave films is "Memento."  Guy Pierce stars a dude who has severe short term memory issues.  He actually uses his body art as permanent post-it note.  Though bad things go down, it's hard to blame the guy.  He keeps forgetting where he left his smart phone!

Tattoos are not the only body adornment seen on-screen. In "The Cell," actor Vincent D'Onofrio plays a villain who in one of his incarnations has white skin and little hair (known at this site as albinopecia). The character is noteworthy for his nipple rings--a finding not usually used to show evil. Piercings can be performed safely, though technically there are risks involved. Some people have an allergic reaction to nickel in jewelry giving a red, itchy, blistery rash. Infections can also occur at the time of the piercing or later. Scarring can result long after the ring is removed. Certainly a lot longer than this silly flick remained in theaters.

"John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars"

B movie director John Carpenter provides this slice of sci fi schlock. The villain of this outer space caper looks like a silly cross between Marilyn Manson and a hungover KISS wannabee. Carpenter gives a triply terrifying skin whammy with albinism-like pale skin, tattoos, and so many piercings that a desperate jeweler might salivate like Pavlov's dog. Horror directors like Carpenter have kept us busy at, though we worry that people may assume that pierced, tattooed, pale white Martians are obviously evil. We'll keep fighting to clarify these outlandish misconceptions.
Here is Vin Diesel as action character Xander Cage in the XXX franchise.  In Ye Olde Tymes, this role, with hair loss and tattoos, would be the bad guy.  These days, he's the hero.  Even his female co-star is an illustrated action heroine. At this rate, the tattooed villain may go the way of the VHS video of a Milli Vanilli Myspace page.  Or, if tired 1980's references don't work for you, body ink as a sign of evil may have the expiration date of a curdled two week old carton of warm milk.
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