Following footprints in the mud or using hounds to snif out a scent are just two of many ways to track down fleeing persons, but none are as dramatic as following a trail left by the marks blood. Not only leads it the pursuers right to their target, it also highlights in what a bad shape the fleeing characater is and creates additional drama by constantly making him weaker and bringing him closer to death.
In a variation, the trail of blood comes from a body that has been dragged away, but in that case the amount of blood
rarely leaves any hope that the person could still be alive. Still, any characters who comes upon such a trail will also follow it to whatever gruesome sight awaits him.
- In Die Hard, John McLanes bloody footprints lead the robbers to the ventilation shaft he used to sneak away.
- In I, Robot, Spooner notices that the escaped robot is leaking fluid after getting shot. Instead of following the trail, he goes straight to the factory, where he knows Sunny will go to to repair himself.
- In The Lord of the Rings, Gimli tracks the hobbits in fangorn by following the trail of blood left by the orc chasing them.
- A variation occurs in Dragon Age: The templars keep a vial of blood of every mage who joins the Circles of Magi, which serves as a sample to magically track down any mages who go rogue. Even without a trail, they can hunt down any mage with their blood.
- Cloud&company follow one of these when infiltrating the Shinra building for the first time.The song that plays during this section is aptly named "Following the Trail of Blood"
- In Pandora's Tower, if you come back to Elena when her meter is critical, she will not be in the observatory's main room, but rather in the cellar.On the way to the cellar, Aeron spots a trail of purplish blood. It Gets Worse. Much worse.
- Both the FEAR and Dead Space series are full of these, but they are usually not relevant, as there are monsters and corpses everywhere else as well.
- Sharks are well known for their ability to follow even the tiniest traces of blood in the water over miles. However, they can not smell blood that is dropped into the water any distance away until the currents create a trail the shark can actually pick up and follow.
- Not blood, but when the German battleship Bismark sank its British counterpart Hood and send the Prince of Wales fleeing the battle, she had still been hit several times and was leaking oil. The oil trail allowed brittish airplanes to track down the damaged ship and completely cripple it with one lucky torpedo hit, after which it was effort for the superior British fleet to catch up and blow her out of the water.