Won't someone please think of the french fries?!
"It's blood!" said the carpenter.
"It's blood, isn't it?" said a musician.
"Blood!!" screamed Christine. "Blood!!"
It was Agnes's terrible fate to keep her head in a crisis. She sniffed her finger again.
"It's turpentine," said Agnes. "Er. Sorry. Is that wrong?"
This is when a spillage of some innocent red substance is mistaken for blood. This substance is, more often than not, ketchup, and Hilarity Ensues
most of the time. This is, however, occasionally used seriously when someone is trying to fake an injury.
Someone may or may not dip their finger in it and taste it
, much to everyone else's horror, and pronounce it as being 'tasty.'
It's also worth noting that ketchup looks absolutely nothing like blood, apart from its colour. Smelling like spaghetti sauce rather than an abattoir is also a bit of a clue.
Compare with Symbolic Blood
. Prop blood is Kensington Gore
. Not to be confused with the Chunky Salsa Rule
, nor with a Fallout
trait/perk. See Did Not Do the Bloody Research
for confusion about the rude word "bloody."
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Anime & Manga
- In Trigun, bottles of tomato juice were used to fake injuries on several occasions, usually to play dead, but sometimes even to attract women.
- Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu does this with red paint in the Haunted Hospital episode. Since Chidori had just fallen through the floor and bumped her head, and the paint was splashed under her head, it was rather disturbing. Actually it was probably one of the more serious notes in that whole comedy series.
- One of Usopp's moves in One Piece is the "Ketchup Star" which he uses (on himself) to make the enemy think he's been fatally injured.
- In a flashback episode of Shakugan no Shana, Shana sets a trap for the animated training skeleton Shiro that involves a giant, hidden hole in the ground full of ketchup. Shiro sees red and... doesn't take things so well...
- In Eyeshield 21, when Hiruma returns to the field after getting his broken arm taped up, his face looks like this. He had some fun with ketchup.
- Played with in Karin. The protagonists wipe a pool of blood and replace it with red paint, leading a vampire hunter believe he's fallen for this trope the first time he has seen that blood.
- In Detective Conan, ketchup is used as fake blood to bluff someone watching via surveillance cameras. There is also a scene where Haibura mistakes spilled tomato juice for blood, resulting in her thinking that Professor Agasa was killed.
- Inverted in Umineko no Naku Koro ni when Rosa mistakes a drop of her own blood for a rose petal, to show that her death was unusually quick and painless.
- In an episode of the Kirby anime (titled either "A Midsummer Night's Scream - Part 2" or "Scare Tactics Part 2", depending on the version), several characters get trapped in an old, creepy house that wasn't there before. One of the rooms contains an odd-looking skeleton and what turns out to be a large amount of red paint. Later on, some of this paint gets dumped on King Dedede and Escargon as a prank. Even later, Dedede uses the paint to make it look like he's gotten into some serious trouble, as part of a trap (which he himself did not come up with, and objected to at first).
- In the Big Finish Doctor Who audio The Chimes of Midnight, it opens up with Charley and the Doctor in the dark, when there's a crash and sudden wet feeling. It turns out to be raspberry jam, but it's a unique example because this is a) on the radio so we can't see it, and in the dark so the characters couldn't see that it was red either.
Films — Animation
- In Looney Tunes: Back in Action, the characters do an homage to the shower scene from Psycho. Turns out it's done with a carrot instead of a knife, and Bugs Bunny is squirting chocolate sauce down the drain.
- Parental Bonus, the blood going down the drain in the original movie WAS chocolate sauce.
- This occurs in Despicable Me, when one of the orphans gets trapped in an iron maiden, and a red liquid is seen flowing out the bottom. Turns out one of the spikes punctured her juice box.
- A deleted intro in The Incredibles has the Parr family attending a neighborhood picnic. While Bob Parr chops up some steaks, a person screams that Bob has chopped off his fingers. However, it only looks like he chopped off his fingers and he's actually fine. To fake the injury and not reveal his super-powers, Bob squirts some ketchup on his fingers and screams in pain.
Films — Live Action
- In the Discworld novel Maskerade, as shown by the page quote.
- The first bomb of The Westing Game goes off in a kitchen, and a woman runs out covered in red liquid. A few people freak out, but they realize that it's only tomato sauce. The bomb was small, and only caused a shelf of cans to explode.
- In Jo Walton's novel Farthing, a murdered man is found stabbed with a pool of red liquid on his chest, but the police quickly determine that the victim was gassed to death and the liquid is actually lipstick.
- In Robert A. Heinlein's To Sail Beyond the Sunset, Maureen Johnson wakes up in a bed with a dead man with no memory of how she got there. After two doctors arrive, one of them puts his finger into the "blood" and licks it. She's a bit upset until the two doctors start discussing what brand of ketchup it must be.
- Inverted in Dexter is Delicious: There's an obvious wall full of red stuff quite similar to blood, and Deborah wants it to be paint or animal blood in order for the feds not to take her case; for all her trouble, it seems to be human blood (although not her victim's blood type). She still argues that, if it's so much human blood, she has a murder on her hands, and so it's her case.
- In War Game by Anthony Price, a Civil War re-enactment is interrupted when somebody finds a genuine corpse lying in a pool of red. It turns out his neck was broken; the red is from a dye pack he was wearing for his big death scene in the re-enactment, which broke while his killer was hiding the body.
- Stephanie Harrington falls victim to this trope while taking a Forensic Investigation class in Treecat Wars. As it turns out, the point of the lesson was the importance of not jumping to conclusions. It's implied that, fake blood aside, there was an Orgy of Evidence to suggest it would be blood.
- Happens with red paint in a Sven Hassel novel, which has been left on board a captured Soviet tank. As the protagonists are Trapped Behind Enemy Lines, they're not reassured. "No-one's this red, not even in Russia!"
Live Action TV
- Bill Cosby does a comedy bit about getting his tonsils removed, and when one of the other children comes back he begins to whine "Why's there ketchup comin' out of his mouth? Please say that's ketchup 'cause we'd hate to think that you killed Johnson."
- In Metal Gear Solid, when you're captured and imprisoned by the bad guys, one way to make good your escape is to use a ketchup-bottle to fake your death, causing the idiotic guard to run into your cell to investigate...
- Another Metal Gear Solid example: The last Mystery mission in VR Missions has you going into a locked room where there's an apparently dead soldier on the ground. There's "clues" all over the place to look at but no suspects. The real goal of the mission is to not give up in frustration at being unable to solve the problem, because just before the time limit runs out, the guy gets up and the camera zooms in on a broken ketchup bottle on which he'd fallen asleep.
- In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations, a ketchup stain on a white apron is first mistaken by everyone but the partially color-blind prosecutor for blood.
- In Ace Attorney Investigations, Rhoda Teneiro mistakes grape juice for blood on a wallet Edgeworth was holding. This led to him being the prime suspect for much of the case.
- Ketchup is indistinguishable (at least technically) from blood in Mitadake High.
- Happens in a guest artist story on Sluggy Freelance, where Zoe thinks Riff and Torg are dead, but really they went a little crazy eating tacos and got hot sauce all over themselves.
- In Were Geek, Joel does this when he finds 'blood' on the ground. Apparently it's peppermint.
- A Dragon Tails strip had Bluey trying to re-purpose a machine that's just a series of giant blades into an automatic hat remover. He demonstrates it on a watermelon. The final panel has Bluey covered in red, commenting "Oh come on, you know this isn't as bad as it looks."
- Once in The Whiteboard, after a flood of replicated beer throws everyone out of Howie's bar, Jinx is shown under a car with red stains all over, Sandy freaks out, and in the next strip he sits up perfectly fine, and Howie identifies the stains as his hot-wing sauce.
- Subverted in Thy Dungeonman 3. The "ketchup" in the sandwich shop is, in fact, fake fake blood. You die unpleasantly when attempting to consume it.
- Crapshots does this with what turns out to be jelly (of an unspecified but red flavour) in episode 16.
- Inverted or... something in one Halloween episode of Weebl & Bob, where a talking jam is horrified because the substance is jam rather than blood.
- Bugs Bunny loves this. He's done it to Elmer Fudd loads of times, and has done it Yosemite Sam at least once.
- In one Tom and Jerry short that was particularly graphic even for that cartoon, Jerry makes Tom think he's been stabbed by dripping ketchup onto both a steak knife and Tom's chest.
- Another short uses red ink.
- Classic Disney Shorts:
- Done in a Donald Duck short, where he and the nephews go camping. Donald puts ketchup on himself to get his nephews thinking he's severely injured, but gets bandaged up from head to toe, as is typical of those shorts.
- Sixty years later, they pull the same trick on him in a Mickey Mouse Works short.
- Happy Tree Friends: "Flippin' Burgers". The immediate results are messy, and most definitely not just ketchup.
- Parodied on Rocket Power, in the episode where the gang thinks Tito has been murdered:
Oh, man! There's blood all over that broken ketchup bottle!
- Also in the episode where the gang camps out in the woods and Lars and his friends try to scare them by dressing up like zombies, complete with smeared red jello for fake blood. At one point, while running from the "zombies", the Squid accidentally steps in the bucket of jello they used to make their costumes and screams "IT'S A BUCKET OF BLOOD!"
- Parodied on South Park, where "vampires" (kids which are pretending to be vampires because of Twilight) use "Clamato" (clam-flavored tomato juice) for their initiation ceremony. Butters believes it is blood and that he has really become a vampire. Believing he is unable to eat real food, he "suddenly" becomes insatiably hungry...
- An episode of The Magic School Bus has Ms. Frizzle, in a vampire phase, present the kids' parents with glasses of "blood". Keesha pointed out that it was obviously really tomato juice, but no-one listened to her.
- Phineas and Ferb, of all shows, pulled this one off in "Hip Hip Parade".
- A few Warner Brothers cartoons, such as The Heckling Hare and The Wise Quacking Duck, all demonstrate this trope.
- Happens in episode 13 of Wakfu, which parodies several horror tropes. Sadlygrove is found amongst plenty red stains over the walls and floor, and the heroes think he's wounded or dead... except that he comments later, "It's a bad idea to eat red berries while seasick."
- Subverted in Episode 11 of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated. Fred returns from visiting a Blood Bank with a huge red stain on his mouth and shirt. Shaggy and Scooby nervously ask him if its blood, and he replies no, its juice. The subversion comes in when he goes on to mention they have bags of the stuff hanging all over the place. Yes,this show had Fred drink blood, thinking it was juice. The blink-and-you'll-miss-it qaulity of this joke is what probably got it passed the censors.
- In the first ever episode of the original series "What a Night For a Knight" the gang think the knight murdered the scientist as they see what appears to be blood on the carpet, it turns out it was red ink.
- In an episode of The Simpsons Marge tries to get Homer out of bed. In the process, she folds the mattress in half with Homer still in it. A red liquid leaks from the mattress and Marge screams. It turns out it was a juice box Homer had.
- After Marge sells a house to the Flanders family, she steps inside to find the entire family lying on the floor, covered in what is assumed to be blood. It turns out that they were just taking a nap after spending all day painting one of the rooms red.
- In the TexAvery cartoon "The Cat Who Hated People", one of the cat's flashbacks features the cat being adopted by a family with a huge bulldog. Once the owner leaves, the bulldog beats the living hell of the cat until the owner hears the noise, the and dog dumps some ketchup on himself and an axe to make it look like the cat killed him.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Owl's Well That Ends Well", Spike tore apart a toy mouse, covered it in ketchup and spread fathers around the room. This was done because he was jealous of the titular owl and wanted it to be punished for bringing a dead animal into Twilight's library. Twilight herself wasn't fooled, having walked in while he was still throwing feathers around.
- Finn and Jake also try to invoke this (again, with ketchup) in the Adventure Time episode "Conquest of Cuteness" when the Cute King won't leave them alone until he thinks he's killed them.
- Codename: Kids Next Door: "Op. S.A.F.E.T.Y." Numbuh 4 uses this to trick a safety robot into thinking it had accidentally hurt his little brother Joey, causing it to short circuit, self-destruct, and the ship they were on to crash.
- Immediately subverted afterwards. After Numbuh 4 mentions it was ketchup, he believes he also applied this to one of his own injuries. Numbuh 2 says it looks more like blood, and 4 passes out at the realization.
- This actually happened to Australian Idol winner Casey Donnovan. She, her brother and stepsister were involved in a car crash on the way home from the local takeaway.
- Also to Yoshiki Hayashi. He was doing a photoshoot that involved lots and lots of fake prop blood (as a vampire taking a Blood Bath among other things), and when he stepped outside to walk to his trailer, he had no idea that a minor car accident had happened nearby. An LAPD officer investigating the accident saw him and freaked out assuming him to have been in the car accident, questioning him if he was really all right and if he needed an ambulance.
- Part of the evidence in the 1982 Australian trial of Lindy and Michael Chamberlain for the murder of their baby Azaria was that blood had been found in her car. It was later determined to be a sound-deadening compound from a manufacturing overspray. These and other prosecution errors lead to their conviction being (eventually) overturned.