Warhol, Witches and Warlocks: Andy Warhol's Halloween
With his forever ghoulish pallor and signature white shock wig, Andy Warhol was quite a fright. But it was living through an experience of true horror—when he suffered multiple gunshot wounds in 1968, fired by a deranged playwright who had wanted a role in his films—which left him looking like “the ghost of a genius.” Doctors reported that he was officially dead for more than 90 seconds during an operation that lasted five and a half hours. Cecil Beaton described the recovering Warhol as a “zombie, more dead than alive.” But Warhol’s Halloween fascination with gore was in full swing prior to his own brush with death. In 1962, he featured spectacular suicides, car-crash deaths and electric chairs in his Death and Disaster series. And even after the attempt on his life, he blithely produced his Dracula and Frankenstein movies, where the blood and guts were so over the top the effect was comical. In the 1980s, he even hired the 78-year-old Margaret Hamilton (The Wizard of Oz’s famous Wicked Witch) to pose for his Myths series. So think of Warhol as Halloween’s patron artist of ghoulish gore, a role no other major artist has experienced first-hand, much less dabbled his brush in.
SEE ALSO: A New Voyeuristic View of Andy Warhol