The book Savini, which is an official biography on the career and life of FX wizard Tom Savini, reveals Savini to be a man of many faces. Although Savini is famous for his groundbreaking makeup effects work on such classic horror films as Dawn of the Dead and Friday the 13th, Savini also establishes Savini as a real person who came from a real place.
That place is Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where Savini was born and raised and once claimed to have seen a flying saucer hovering over his neighborhood. As a kid, Savini dreamed of being just like legendary actor and makeup artist Lon Chaney, who became Savini’s lifelong idol.
Although Savini speaks warmly of his childhood and his family unit, which included four older brothers and a sister, Savini also reveals some painful secrets in the book. When Savini was seven years old, he was kidnapped by a neighborhood predator, who abused Savini before letting him go. As Savini tells it, this traumatic childhood event had the effect of making him a better, stronger person.
Like most artists, Savini’s work was greatly influenced by the various environments that he encountered. After enlisting in the United States Army when he was nineteen, Savini was sent to Vietnam, where he served as a combat photographer. Savini recounts several near-death experiences from his tour in Vietnam and explains how his Vietnam experiences influenced the grisly, raw texture that defined his makeup effects career, which is especially visible in the film Friday the 13th.
Upon returning home from Vietnam, Savini finished his military service at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. Savini spent several years in North Carolina, where he acted in various regional theatrical productions, playing roles as diverse as Benjamin Franklin and King Arthur, which required Savini to exercise his makeup skills on a daily basis.
A fellowship to Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University brought Savini home, where Savini eventually began his long creative partnership with filmmaker George A. Romero, whom Savini first met when Savini was in high school. The enduring collaboration between Romero and Savini, which began with the film Martin (1977), changed the face of horror cinema and launched Savini’s career.
Savini is largely told through Savini’s unique narrative, which is accompanied by approximately 425 color pictures. While recounting the various phases within his career, Savini is extremely forthright when it comes to his life and work. Painfully honest at times, Savini is his own toughest critic when examining the choices that he’s made throughout his career and life.
Although Savini will be officially released on November 3, 2019, which is the date of Savini’s seventy-third birthday, the coffee table book can be preordered through the publisher’s website here. Additionally, the publisher has made available a signed limited edition, which has a limited run of 1,013 copies.
Savini is invaluable both as a biography of an uncompromising creative genius and a document of the iconic films that have cemented Tom Savini’s legacy as one of horror cinema’s most influential and revered vanguards.