blade_offbeatinkThe Blade series of films features body art that has become nigh on legendary in its popularity. In the films, Wesley Snipes is Blade, the vampire killer, and carries the nickname Daywalker. His character is part vampire himself and is at once feared and revered by the vampires he hunts down. Blade has a martial arts style and weapons arsenal that is the envy of many a young man, and some who are not so young… but his real cachet is the fact that he carries probably the best tribal tattoos ever shown in a film.
The first film in the series lays out the scene, with Blade’s underground war against the vampire world. It turns out his mother was bitten just before he was born and died in childbirth. This angst of his coming into existence provides the underlying tension throughout the films.

The tattoo designs Blade wears are original to the movie and are derived from Polynesian influences. The blackwork covers most of his upper chest, arms and shoulders as well as around the back of the head and extending down the neck. They are best viewed in the slower scenes, usually with a female character (ahem…) but it is in the fight scenes that the excitement and animalistic sexuality set the tattoos off best, in my opinion.

The vampires also wear tattoos, however. These are identifiers, much like gang markings, where each clan or vampire family has its own set of designs, to show the identity of the individual. These markings extend to their pets, humans who serve a particular vampire clan. These are much like servants who will perform the daylight tasks  impossible for a vampire to carry out. In some cases, these humans are kept like animals in pens, providing a ready source of nourishment to the vampires. Once caught, many of these humans aspire to being bitten and becoming vampires themselves. They are then sent out into the world to best serve the clan. In one of the films, Blade finds a tattoo marking on a police officer and therefore knows that the vampires have a presence in the human world.