At The Monster Mart in Oakmont you can get horror collectibles and spooky tattoos

In this unique shop the worlds of horror movies and ink collide.

by Kristy Locklin
July 16, 2021

This story was written for Very Local by Kristy Locklin. You can follow her on Instagram here.

Richie Vomit was sick of living in Sioux City, Iowa.

In May, the award-winning tattoo artist and his family traveled 800 miles to make a fresh start in Pittsburgh.

Although he wasn’t familiar with a soul in the Steel City, Vomit, a diehard horror fan, knew Hollywood special effects artist Tom Savini called it home. It seemed like the perfect place to set up a spooky retail shop and tattoo studio. (For those new to the local horror scene, Tom Savini is a master at makeup and effects for movies. Savini worked closely with George Romero and lives in Pittsburgh.)

The Monster Mart is now open for business in Oakmont, and Savini, considered the “Godfather of Gore,” was one of its first customers.

“Horror is a big part of who I am, so Tom Savini has been a part of my life forever,” he says. “He’s either acted in or done the special effects for all of my favorite movies.”

The Monster Mart sells a variety of masks. Photo by Kristy Locklin.

From Sioux City, Iowa, to Oakmont, Pennsylvania

Inside 802 Allegheny River Blvd. – a local version of the store they ran in Iowa – Vomit and his wife Heidi sell action figures, masks, props, shirts and other creepy collectibles. Think of it as a year-round Spirit Halloween store with a punk rock attitude. 

The couple’s 14-year-old daughter, Phoenix, painted a zombie-themed mural on the wall and sells her own brand of candles. They peddle their wares and commune with fellow fans at regional conventions such as Living Dead Weekend, Steel City Con and Hearsemania.              

Richie Vomit’s 14-year-old daughter, Phoenix, painted a zombie-themed mural behind the cash register. Photo by Kristy Locklin.

Visitors to The Monster Mark also can get inked by Vomit, who is known for his realistic portraits. The first floor of the space is filled with trophies and photographs dedicated to his career, which spans two decades. He makes his mark on approximately 900 people a year. 

Some of his favorite pieces are tributes to horror icons such as Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, Pennywise, Elvira, George Romero and The Bride of Frankenstein. 

As a kid, Vomit was introduced to the genre by his older brother, who organized a late-night screening of “The Shining.” 

Stanley Kubrick’s classic was followed by “Friday the 13th,” “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2” and “Dawn of the Dead,” which used Monroeville Mall as a backdrop. Savini worked his macabre magic on all three films. 

Vomit’s love of monster cinema bled into his artwork. In addition to tattoo ink, he’s dabbled in oils, clay and music, playing in punk bands influenced by the Misfits.

From Monster Mart to horror movies

This fall, Vomit will take classes at the Douglas Education Center in Monessen, where Savini runs a special make-up effects program. 

It’s been his lifelong dream to create on-screen nightmares. 

His low-budget, directorial debut, a midwestern slasher called “Farmlands,” received rave reviews in Fangoria magazine.

A Jason Voorhees coffee table created by “Friday the 13th” fan Richie Vomit is on display at The Monster Mart. Photo by Kristy Locklin.

With hopes to parlay the skills he learns at Savini’s school into his own line of horror masks, busts and props and, eventually, expand The Monster Mart into a year-round haunted house complete with thrill rides and an area where FX students can showcase their work.

It’s a way for him to say thank you to the warm welcome Pittsburghers have extended to his family.

“Everyone has been so nice and supportive,” Vomit says. “We feel right at home in Pittsburgh.”

You might also like…

I'm a Pittsburgh-based freelance writer and full-time horror nerd. I am fluent in movie quotes, sarcasm and English (almost). When I'm not taking long, contemplative walks through old cemeteries, I enjoy writing about (and consuming!) good food and drink. Since I'm basically every Winona Ryder character rolled into one person, I like interviewing other strange and unusual souls.

More Local Stories

Top 407: the best hot dogs in Orlando

We tried Chicago Dogs, Spicy Chili Dogs, Buffalo Dogs, Reuben Dogs, and more across the Orlando area to find the best hot diggity dogs.

A guide to must-do summer events in New Orleans

Now that we’re back outside, let’s take a look at the events to do in New Orleans for the summer.

What’s On the Menu?: Greenville Food Trucks

What’s On The Menu Greenville is serving up barbecue, Latin, vegan and Thai food from mobile kitchens on wheels. Find out what’s cooking inside these fantastic Greenville food trucks.

Eat Play Stay Orlando: Sanford

On this episode of Eat Play Stay Orlando explore what’s new in the Northern part of town. Sanford has a plethora of breweries, bars, and delicious dining options to choose from.

Hometown Tragedy: The Pike County Massacre

On this episode of Hometown Tragedy: Missing in Milwaukee, we’ll explore what happened to Jerica Banks, her children, and how it impacted their community.

Six New Orleans parks that are perfect locations to celebrate 4th of July

Head to one of these six New Orleans parks to celebrate Independence Day in the city.

Cheap Date Orlando: Punk Rock & Pooches

Two Orlando couples shop vintage, search for the perfect slice, visit a post-apocalyptic saloon, and take the stage on blind dates in Orlando.

Fit and Fab: Free summer workouts in Boston

Cover photo courtesy Getty Images Looking to get fit for the summer? Still wary of COVID-19 or just looking for some sunshine while you sweat? Here are some Boston free summer workouts across the city so you can keep moving all season long! Seaport Sweat May 2 to Sept. 29 Boston’s biggest free workout series…

What’s On the Menu?: Farm-to-table

The farm-to-table movement brings locally grown foods to your plate. Not only will enjoying farm-to-table meals allow you to indulge in fresh, nutritional, seasonal dishes, but farm-to-table dining helps the environment and supports the local economy.  Check out these delicious farm-to-table restaurants in Greenville, South Carolina on the latest episode of What’s On the Menu?. …

A guide to some of the best Black-owned brunch spots in NOLA

Gather the crew together, make those reservations, and celebrate all things Black at brunch. 

Exploring the history of Pittsburgh’s Chinatown

At one time, there was even an informal Chinatown mayor to act as a community liaison.

Painting My Way Through Life: Pittsburgh (And Beyond) Through The Eyes of Artist Ron Donoughe

Ron Donoughe has spent over 30 years painting the Pennsylvania landscape, especially Pittsburgh. When you don’t find him capturing the spirit of his paintings on location, you’ll likely find him in his Lawrenceville studio – where he’s watched the neighborhood transform through his windows.

With a potential sale of his building looming in 2022, we chatted with Donoughe about his artistic journey thus far, what might come next, and Pittsburgh through his eyes.

“Better than a tent” this Greensburg Airbnb is only $15/night 

The accommodations are minimal, but the price can’t be beat. This Airbnb shed is available just outside of Pittsburgh in Greensburg for just $15/night.

Not your typical Asian takeout — a guide to international takeout food in Pittsburgh

Let’s talk international food from Korea, Thailand, India, Uzbekistan and more! This isn’t your typical takeout box.