Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Tom Savini's house is filled with every nightmarish horror prop you can imagine...and two friendly cats

Photo: Albert L. Ortega (Getty Images)

For roughly 50 years now, renowned effects artist, stunt person, actor, and director Tom Savini has helped create some of the most iconic horror imagery in our popular culture. From Dawn Of The Dead and Day Of The Dead to Friday The 13th and Creepshow, Savini has played a crucial role in defining the texture of the modern horror film. It’s only appropriate, then, that on a tour of his house with YouTube channel Grimmlifecollective, Savini shows off one of the world’s most impressive collections of horror props and memorabilia, gathered throughout his career—and his two adorable, decidedly un-scary cats named Max and Bruce.

After a visit to his school—Tom Savini’s Special Make-Up Effects Program—to see how the next generation of gore experts are being trained, the channel’s hosts head to Savini’s home for a look at what he surrounds himself with on a daily basis. As might be expected, his Pennsylvania house (an ornate cross and two gargoyles on the roof, naturally) is stuffed with transforming holographic portraits, tons of vintage movie posters, statues of vampires and Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein’s monster, and a dimly-lit bedroom with facehuggers in jars.

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The best, though, are the busts and masks lining the walls of his studio. When asked to pick a few of the items he “can’t believe” he has, Savini points out looming, full-scale props of the Predator and Alien that he received as gifts or as payment for his work, as well as a possessed Linda Blair head. The rest of the room is filled up with a mix of mass-produced and custom-made monsters, such as Creepshow’s Fluffy, Pumpkinhead’s buglike noggin, and a Day Of The Dead old man corpse, which dangles from the ceiling.

Savini seems very proud of his collection—as he should be—but he takes a special joy in showing off his cats. One of the hosts is asked to offer her face to Max the cat for a kiss before the tour begins and Savini later instructs the camera person to get one of his pets in the shot after they notice he’s followed the tour upstairs, giving as much priority to adorable cats as any other part of his horror movie museum.

“They were abandoned the day they were born,” Savini says when introducing them. “They were like little embryos.”

This image of his kittens as hairless, alien-looking newborns left without a home at least makes them just unsettling enough to include alongside every other macabre artifact in Savini’s house.

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About the author

Reid McCarter

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.