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Bad Black Barf
"There's always one zombie with black gunk coming out of his mouth. See? There he is. What is that black gunk? I don't know! No one knows! It's one of the great mysteries of unlife!"
Minmax from Goblins

Maybe you're infected by a zombie virus. Perhaps an alien's made a home in your intestines. Or that demon you were trying to summon got a little too close for comfort. Either way, one of the symptoms is Bad Black Barf.

Black Barf, as the name implies, takes the form of a thick black goo that issues from the victim's mouth, which they will cough up frequently in varying amounts. Sometimes it may ooze out from the nose, ears, or even the eyes (or some other, less savory orifices). Color might vary slightly, from dark brown to burgundy, but it's mostly black. In some cases the stuff might even be acidic, poisonous, or just smell really bad.

Besides the obvious gross-out factor of seeing someone puking, the human body doesn't really produce black-colored fluids, and there are very, very few diseases that cause black discharge of any kind, so combining the two informs the audience that anyone with Bad Black Barf is not just sick, but sick with some unearthly, unholy, or just downright unnatural disease.

See also Black Blood.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Both instances where a boar is turned into a demon in Princess Mononoke, they start to bleed and drool dark purple/black slime. In addition, the Forest Spirit starts releasing massive gobs of toxic black glop that instantly kill everything they touch.
  • Noh-Face from Spirited Away starts coughing and drooling black barf (among other things) after being given medicine from Chihiro.

    Film 
  • Wikus from District 9 starts coughing up black fluid as a result of transforming into a Prawn; at one point it also seeps from his nose.
  • The Penguin from Batman Returns discharges black goo from his mouth as he is dying.
  • One of the numerous icky signs of demonic possession in the Evil Dead films.
  • Happens in Jennifers Body when Jennifer is being possessed.
  • The zombies in Rockabilly Zombie Weekend constantly vomit (and occasionally defecate) a thick black goop, the liquefied remains of their intestines.
  • In The Ugly (New Zealand, 1997), the main character sees ghostly entities with black goo running from their mouths.

    Live Action TV 
  • The X-Files. An alien virus called "Black Oil" caused black liquid to come out of the mouth, nose and eyes of its victims.
  • In Teen Wolf, when Derek is poisoned and dying, he vomits black fluid. Erica, also poisoned, has to be encouraged to heal from it, Derek breaks her arm and squeezes black fluid from her veins explaining he is draining the poison from her body. Vomiting similar-looking black fluid also happens briefly to Jackson which Derek explains is his body rejecting whatever it is that turns someone into a werewolf after being bitten.
  • In Supernatural, black fluid from bodily orifices is usually ectoplasm and is one sign of ghost possession. Black smoke pouring out of the mouth is a sign of the end of a demonic possession.
  • In Helix, this is vomited by those infected with NARVIK-B into the mouths of their victims in order to transmit The Virus, and is such an integral visual motif that its featured dripping off the "X" in the series Title Card. Dr. Peter Farragut, the ostensible Patient Zero, often has rills of black mucus at the corners of his mouth, to the point where spatters of it mark his trail around the research base where he works, which Major Balleseros attempts to exploit to hunt him through the base's network of Air Vent Passageways.
  • On Elementary, a suspect who died in a holding cell at the PD is examined by Watson, who takes one look at the reddish-black drool around the body's mouth and immediately orders the room quarantined due to possible anthrax contamination. The man, a known drug mule, had swallowed a balloon full of weaponized anthrax powder, apparently having been told it was drugs by the would-be terrorist who'd cultured the biological agent.

    Literature 
  • Mnggal-Mnggal zombies from the Star Wars Expanded Universe drool and vomit dark gray goo. Worse, the goo is in fact Mnggal-Mnggal itself, and it can go on to infect new victims.
    • The zombie virus from the novel Death Troopers is similar; some people in-universe speculate that it was derived from Mnggal-Mnggal.
  • The Torment, and presumably other Children Of The Spider, from the book series Skulduggery Pleasant are able to vomit inky blackness, which then coalesces itself into hundreds of rat-sized spiders.

     Music Videos 
  • In the video for Michael Jackson's "Thriller", one of the zombies encountered is slobbering some sort of viscous black fluid from its mouth.

     Webcomics 
  • Lampshaded by Minmax in Goblins, also providing the page quote.
  • In Clockwork Game, William Schlumburger is throwing up what is called "Black Vomit"—the final stage of yellow fever (see the Real Life section below).

     Web Original 

     Video Games 
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots: After the boss fight with Laughing Octopus, she proceeds to vomit black fluid till a pool forms around her. It's not clear if this is ink, referencing her codename, or a part of her condition.
  • In Shadow of the Colossus, some kind of black mist wafts from Wander's face every time he kills a Colossus and its soul enters him. It's not technically vomit since it seems to be gaseous, but the general effect is the same.
  • The Unclean One from Battle Realms uses this as a weapon.

     Real Life 
  • Some fungal infections of the respiratory tract, such as pneumonia or sinusitis, can cause one to cough up black mucus. Frequent smoking or inhaling polluted air can do the same.
  • The Inky Cap mushroom, so named because it quickly disintegrates into a black ooze shortly after releasing its spores.
  • Viral hemorrhagic fevers such as yellow fever can cause this sort of thing to occur; it is known as vomito negro ("black vomit" in Spanish). It's worth noting that if you show this symptom, you're almost certainly going to die. For example, it is a symptom of the Ebola virus, of which some strains are over 90% fatal.
  • One of the signs of gastrointestinal bleeding is "coffee-ground emesis," simply because blood that has been digested in the stomach looks brownish-black and granular, just like ground coffee.


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