The Goonies tattoos: behind the scenes of a truly iconic film

The film released in 1984 was made using a whole load of tricks of the trade: from the hand aged treasure map to the use of a mysterious octopus…

The Goonies – the unforgettable 1984 movie directed by Richard Donner and written by Chris Columbus (who also directed Home Alone) based on an idea from Steven Spielberg – is about to turn 35 years of age.

Cecil, Porter, Emporium 1476, Portland, USA
Cecil, Porter, Emporium 1476, Portland, USA

In order to celebrate this important anniversary we decided to make up a list of behind the scenes news about the film originally released in the States on 7th June 1985 starting with the title itself.

The Goonies is the name of the litte band of kids who are the main characters of the story (Mikey, Brand, Chunk, Mouth, Andy and Stef) and there are two interpretations for the word. “Goonies” comes from the name of the district Goon Docks in the city of Astoria (Oregan State, where the events take place), but in American slang the term “goony” means “simpleton” or, worse still “loser”.

Steve Butcher, On The Road, Corona, USA
Steve Butcher, On The Road, Corona, USA

“Losers”, though, up to a certain point, seeing as how two of the teenage stars would in time become such big names (and expensive ones too…) with Hollywood studios. Josh Brolin and Sean Austin, who play the parts of the Walsh brothers (Michael and Brandon, or Mikey and Brand) while Austin’s character, Brandon Walsh, would be back years later in the ’90s tv series Beverly Hills 90210 as the main character played by Jason Priestley. Could the reference be mere coincidence?

The actor who played the bad guy Sloth was the ex-football player John Matuszak, an old star of the Oakland Raiders from 1976 and 1981 who died exactly four years after the film came out in 1989 of a massive heart attack. At the time, poor Matuszak was only 38 years old.

Matteo Pasqualin, Artigiano Tatuatore, Brembate, Italy
Matteo Pasqualin, Artigiano Tatuatore, Brembate, Italy

In The Goonies there is a scene where John Matuszak wears a Raiders t-shirt. Every day he had to sit through five hours of makeup to transform him into the dreadful Sloth. The operation also involved him wearing a weird contraption which allowed the crew to move his crossed eye and deformed ears by remote control.

The treasure map which the entire adventure revolves around was the work of production designer J. Michael Riva who simple used coffee to stain it along with a few drops of his own blood when he couldn’t find any ordinary red paint on set.

Gabri Pais, Abracadabra Tattooing, Cagliari, Italy
Gabri Pais, Abracadabra Tattooing, Cagliari, Italy

At the end of shooting, Sean Austin took the map home with him to keep as a souvenir until one day his mother carelessly threw it out when she was tidying up. And that was the end of piece of memorabilia certain Goonies fans would pay a fortune for today. When you talk about losing a tidy sum…

Finally, a mention goes to the famous soundtrack with the catchy number The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough sung by Cyndi Lauper, in those days was a worldwide pop superstar. There is a moment in the second half of the long video of the song when a terrifying giant octopus make an entrance even though it never actually appears throughout the entire 109 minutes of the movie itself. Its scenes were cut at the final editing stage…

Tony Sklepic, Sanitarium Studios, Edmonton, Canada Eddie Stacey, Ink And Dagger Tattoo, Roswell, USA Eathan Langford, Private Studio, Coburg, Australia Becci Boo, Bold Street Tattoo, Warrington, UK Dan Smith, Captured Tattoo, Tustin, USA Matteo Pasqualin, Artigiano Tatuatore, Brembate, Italy

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