Tom Savini may be a Hollywood legend but Pittsburgh is his home.
He plans on hanging around the ol’ haunt for the rest of his life … and beyond.
Artist Jeremy Raymer just painted a portrait of Savini on the side of an Almond Way house in Lawrenceville. The 2,500-square-foot masterpiece is his largest project to date. (Up for an adventure? You can take a stab at finding all of his work on this self-guided tour.)
Peering out from behind the TRYP Hotel, the Godfather of Gore holds a Jason Voorhees mask from “Friday the 13th.” Savini did the makeup for the seminal slasher flick and its fourth installment, “Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter.” His other credits include “Dawn of the Dead” and “Creepshow.”
“To me, it’s just as meaningful as having a star on Hollywood Boulevard,” Savini says of the mural.
The 73-year-old still lives in the Bloomfield home where he was born and raised. Even with his Tinsel Town success — he’s also an accomplished actor, director and stuntman — the Steel City serves as his professional headquarters. He runs the Tom Savini Special Make-Up Effects Program at the Douglas Education Center in Monessen.
Together with special effects guru Jason Baker, he’s been cranking out horror-themed personal protection masks to help fans of the genre get through the COVID-19 nightmare. To help meet the demand for the products, they hired 10 people, all of whom lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
Does Raymer’s mural mean Pittsburgh is finally starting to embrace its place in horror movie history?
Savini hopes so.
“In horror circles, Pittsburgh is known as the beginning, the home of the zombies thanks to George Romero,” he says, referring to the late ‘Night of the Living Dead’ director. “There is a bust honoring him at the Monroeville Mall, and every year there is the Living Dead Weekend at the mall. Yeah, Pittsburgh could be doing more for its horror heritage.”