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Blood Is Squicker in Water

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Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood
Clean from my hand? No; this my hand will rather
The multitudinous seas incarnadine
Making the green one red.
Macbeth, Macbeth, Act II; scene ii.

One way to show Ludicrous Gibs without breaking the laws of biology is to have a character die in a body of water, thus diluting the blood and causing it to billow out in clouds. As a bonus, this tends to look very symbolic... of nothing in particular. Perhaps it stems from the Primal Fear of blood pouring out from wounds, and the illusion that there's more blood than there really is.

Of course, if this happens in the open sea, the probability that someone will mention sharks, and their ability to smell a single red blood cell from 6 million light years away, rapidly approaches 1.note 

Another common appearance is when Scrubbing Off the Trauma, or a post-carnage Shower of Angst.

In a case of Reality Is Unrealistic, real blood diluted in a large volume of water will actually turn it yellow, the color of blood plasma (the liquid portion of the blood), not pink/red. However, the picture above is accurate in regards to relatively small amounts of water (or relatively large amounts of blood).

A related phenomenon above the waterline is Pink Mist. Can be a symptom of Gorn. A Bath Suicide or Deadly Bath is likely to invoke this. Common in Toilet Horror. Often overlaps with Symbolic Serene Submersion.

Compare Blood Bath, where circumstances see blood substituted for water.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In the Yakuza arc of Black Lagoon, the resident Jerkass gets his hands sliced off (with a sword, in a modern-day setting) and is held underwater to bleed to death. He had it coming, though.
  • In an early filler episode of D.Gray-Man, Kanda fights another swordsman in a pool of water and gets slashed across the chest. The last shot of the episode is of his blood spreading through the water around him.
  • The ending sequence of Higurashi: When They Cry begins by showing blood which has just fallen into the water.
  • A Running Gag in One Piece is Robin casually pointing out this trope whenever it seems as though someone might be killed particularly messily underwater, much to the discomfort of everyone in earshot.
    Robin: Well, he's not dead, or the water would be turning red.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • When the Triad boss is killed by falling glass in Accident, his blood pools on the sidewalk and spills into the water in the gutter.
  • In Accident Man, Mike stabs Jane the Ripper, then pulls the sword out and shoves the body into a fountain. As it sinks under the water, blood fountains out of the mouth; staining the water red.
  • In April Showers, Jason commits suicide in the bathtub.
  • In Black Swan, blood mysteriously drips into the bathtub over Nina's face as she submerges herself, right before one of the film's many Jump Scares...but it might not have really happened.
  • In Blastfighter, a flashback to the murder of Tiger's wife shows her killer holding her head underwater in a bathtub, and then stabbing her in the neck with an icepick so he blood gushes out into the water.
  • The raft massacre in The Burning ends with blood dripping off the murdered campers into the river.
  • In the Hammer Horror movie Crescendo, Lillianne the maid is Skinny Dipping in the swimming pool when the killer stabs her. She is shown floating face down with a cloud of red water surrounding her nude body.
  • Dead Again in Tombstone: After being riddled with bullets by Boomer's gang, Guerrero collapses in the river. The water is shown washing over him and flowing out red the other side.
  • Deadtime Stories: Volume 1: In "House Call", when the two missing hikers are discussed, a cut shows their naked bodies lying in the snow. One of them lying on the edge of a small waterfall, and the water in the stream is flowing through the body and spraying out red on the other side.
  • In Death Becomes Her, the water in the pool Helen Sharp falls into turns red with blood when her rival Madeline Ashton blows a hole in her stomach with a shotgun.
  • The teenage Antichrist's baby baptism in the 1981 horror film Fear No Evil turns the water into blood the instant he is immersed.
  • In Firestorm (1998), Davis cuts himself shaving and a drop of blood falls into the running water in the sink. A few moments later, Shaye stabs him in the neck with a Sinister Shiv, and the camera cuts to stream of blood running down the sink, mixing with the water, and washing down the plughole.
  • In Fool's Gold, an enemy scuba diver is sucked into a current in an underground cave that feeds a geyser. When the geyser erupts, it's red with his blood.
  • The opening sequence of The Gentlemen ends with a gunshot that sprays blood into a glass of beer; slowly staining the beer a darker colour. This then bleeds (literally) into the opening credits.
  • Discussed towards the end of Get Him to the Greek, when the burned out and increasingly suicidal rock star Aldous Snow breaks his arm diving into a pool from a hotel roof, then has a tearful conversation with Aaron about how destructive his lifestyle is and that it's not working for him. All the while astute viewers may notice that in the background the pool is getting increasingly bloody. Aaron mentions it at the end of their conversation and asks Aldous if he's OK. Aldous shrugs it off, saying that a little blood looks like much more than it really is in water.
  • Ghost Ship: When Munder is killed and his body sucked into the pumps that are pumping out the ship, the water in the clear hose turns pink.
  • In The Godfather Part II, a character commits Bath Suicide, Roman fashion. You only see the aftermath, including liberal helpings of blood on the walls for good measure.
  • Occurs in the film Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla. In the first battle between Godzilla and his robot counterpart, Godzilla is shot several times by Mechagodzilla and falls into the ocean. The ocean turns red with Godzilla's blood but, he gets better.
  • The Golden Voyage of Sinbad. After Prince Koura is mortally wounded while in the Fountain of Destiny, the Fountain's waters turn red to symbolize his blood loss.
  • Several movie versions of The Great Gatsby do this with Gatsby's death in his swimming pool.
  • The Hit List: Or milk, in this case. After Gates is shot in his kitchen, his blood mingles with milk spilled on the floor.
  • Pretty much every death in Jaws, for obvious reasons.
  • In Julia X, When Julia is relaxing in the bath, she is alerted to The Stranger's presence by his blood dripping into the water.
  • Jungle: When Yossi is tossed into the river after the raft smashes, he hits his head on a rock and blood flowing out surrounds his head like a halo.
  • The Crazy 88 fight in Kill Bill ends up with several of the mooks, and Johnny Mo, lying dead in the restaurant's now-crimson ornamental water features.
  • In Kristy, the gang member Justine kills in the pool continues to emit clouds of red blood into the water in subsequent shots.
  • Blood flowing into water is something of a motif in Legend of the Black Scorpion. At one point the emperor dropping a red grape into water evokes earlier examples of actual blood in water and signals that an execution is coming.
  • Dieter Stark's death at the hands (claws?)—more likely teeth—of the compys in The Lost World: Jurassic Park. Also, Robert Burke's death has parts of this, as you see his blood flowing down the waterfall.
  • In The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, Toby washes out Quixote's self-inflicted wounds in a creek, staining the clear water red.
  • Mirror Mirror (1990): After drowning Ron in the bath, Nikki's doppelganger bites a chunk of flesh out his chin. The wound turns the water in the tub pink.
  • Monster Party: Elliot is shot through the head and plunges into the swimming pool. There is a shot from the bottom of the pool of his body descending towards the camera, with the blood blossoming out behind him like a halo.
  • In The Naked Witch, the witch stabs the miller and pushes his body into the stream; staining the water red with his blood.
  • In Next of Kin (1982), Linda finds Connie and Dr. Barton dead, having been stabbed to death, in a bloody bathtub. Shortly before that, the water in a fountain turns red and Linda comes across her friend Carol's dead body.
  • Night After Night After Night: In a scene very reminiscent of Psycho, Jenny's blood mixes with the water in her shower when she is stabbed to death.
  • Night Of The Strangler: After drowning Denise in a bathtub, the killer slits her wrists to make it look like a suicide, turning the bathwater red.
  • The Odd Angry Shot: Bung is machine-gunned and falls over the side of a bridge. When his squad mates retrieve his body, his blood is staining the water around him red.
  • The finale of The Ωmega Man, where Charlton Heston dies in a Christ-like pose in a blood-filled fountain. His blood is also the world's salvation, to really push the symbolism.
  • The Outsiders, blood fills up the fountain.
  • When a slasher movie has a name like The Pool, it is to be expected. A specific example would be the very first death, which is followed by the victim's corpse being dropped into a pool, spreading blood in the water.
  • Psycho, the shower scene ends with bloodied water going down the drain. It was made possible with chocolate syrup. An inversion of this is also why the movie is in Black and White, since Hitchcock felt that "pink wasn't scary".note 
    • Psycho II sees the toilet in the Bates house overflow with blood after the killer jams a bloody towel into it, presumably one used to clean up their handiwork.
  • In The BBC's "Hollow Crown" adaptation of Richard II, Bolingbroke beheads two of Richard's supporters on the edge of a lake, such that their heads fall directly into the water.
  • In the American version of The Ring, a horse being transported on a ferry gets loose, jumps overboard and gets washed under the boat. A few seconds later, the boat's wake turns bright red.
  • Connor Rooney is shot in the bath in Road to Perdition.
  • Saving Private Ryan has many soldiers die before reaching shore as bullets hit them below the waterline. By the end of the scene, the entire surf is red.
  • Tony Montana's death at the end of Scarface (1983).
  • The opening credits to Skyfall feature this heavily, after the Action Prologue ends with Bond being shot and falling into a river.
  • A toilet randomly overflows with blood in Slaughter High. (Presumably it was another of Marty's 'pranks'.)
  • In A Study in Terror, Polly Nichols is shoved into a horse trough and held under before being stabbed. A shot from under the water shows the blood floating upwards to the surface of the trough.
  • The end of Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance has one of the characters killing another in a shallow river and then drag him ashore.
  • Tiger House: Kelly shoots one of the gang with a crossbow and then tackles him into the swimming pool. Blood from his wound slowly spills into the water.
  • Transit: When the wounded Nate slides off the jetty into the bayou, a pool of oily looking blood forms on the surface of the murky water.
  • In The Woman Hunt, the body of Spyros falls into the pool where Tony and McGee are Skinny Dipping, and the blood blossom out in the water around it (although the 'blood' seems to have the consistency of paint).

  • In Book 10 of the Lone Wolf series, The Dungeons of Torgar, one of the paths to the end is to travel through the deadly Hellswamp with the partisan leader Sebb Jarel. Eventually, Lone Wolf and Jarel are ambushed by the dreaded Ciquali (frogmen) and Jarel is dragged underwater.
    He surfaces, sword in hand, but is pulled under again and this time he does not reappear. A trail of bubbles and a patch of red water drifting with the current are all there is to mark the grave of Sebb Jarel.
  • In The Tunnels Of Fear, if you choose the wrong pool to wade through, you are attacked by flesh-eating piranhas, and the pool turns red with your blood.

  • At the Cornucopia in Catching Fire, after the Victor bloodbath.
  • Gatsby's death is described that way in The Great Gatsby.
  • Left Behind:
    • As in the Book of Revelation, the seas and springs of water turn to blood due to God's judgments. However, during the Bowl Judgments in the series, believers in Christ are miraculously able to get fresh water from the bloody springs.
    • Earlier in the series, the Two Witnesses are able to turn water to blood and vice versa, which squicks Carpathia out during his failed speech at Teddy Kollek Stadium when his mouth starts to run dry and he asks for water.
    • Chaim Rosenzweig as Micah the prophet is also given this ability.
  • In the Lord Peter Wimsey novel Have His Carcase, the victim is murdered on a rock on the seashore, and when Harriet finds the body his blood has run into a nearby rock pool and turned the water red.
  • A couple of times in Neverwhere, for example when Door's brother is killed and left in their swimming pool.
  • Dewey Denounment dies in a pond in the A Series of Unfortunate Events books.
  • Warrior Cats:
    • Hawkfrost's death; he stumbles into the shallows of a lake, fulfilling a prophecy as his blood mingles with the water: Before there is peace, blood will spill blood, and the lake will run red.
    • To a lesser extent, Ashfur's death; he falls into a stream after being murdered.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Agatha Raisin: In "Agatha and the Wellspring of Death", when the second Victim of the Week is found dead and propped up against the eponymous wellspring, there is a shot of her blood slowly dripping off her and into the spring where it dilutes through the water.
  • The Borgias: Micheletto's failed assassination of Cardinal della Rovere in Naples results in this, as he garrotes an unfortunate mook who attacks him after being recognised by the target.
  • A flashback in Breaking Bad shows Gus' beloved partner Max being executed by Hector Salamanca beside a swimming pool, with Gus Forced to Watch in closeup as the last of his lifeblood drains out into the water.
  • In an opening to an episode of The Closer, there's a blink-and-you-miss-it shot of blood splashing into a swimming pool.
  • CSI: Cyber: In "Legacy", a 13 year old hacker is shot and falls into a swimming pool. Red is shown ballooning out from around him as he sinks into the water.
  • Dexter: Bathtub deaths form a major part of the Trinity Killer's pattern. This is later revealed to be due to a youth trauma in which the young Arthur Mitchell witnessed his sister's accidental death in a shower. Startled by Arthur's presence, she slipped and smashed the shower door, shards of which cut her femoral artery and caused her to bleed out in the water.
  • The Doctor Blake Mysteries: In "Family Portrait", Edward Tyneman is found lying in a fountain with his throat slashed. The blood has stained the water red and, because of the action of the fountain, the stain has spread to all levels of the fountain.
  • In the first episode of the Melrose Place remake, Sydney Andrews is found murdered in the pool of the apartment complex, with more than a little blood in the water around her.
  • In one episode of NCIS, a couple plans to have a BDSM-style night when the woman goes in to take a shower. Cue the man rushing in to her screams when she sees the showerhead spraying blood due to a body in the water tank.
  • The fifth season opening of Supernatural.
  • This trope is rather visible in the first season finale of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, when Cromartie disposes of an entire SWAT team into a swimming pool.
  • Vera: In "Silent Voices", the Victim of the Week is murdered while swimming in a stream. There is a shot of blood from her head wound flowing into the water and being diluted.

  • Florence + the Machine's "Rabbit Heart" refers to this in the context of a Human Sacrifice.
  • Love's "A House Is Not a Motel" from Forever Changes:
    And the water's turned to blood, and if
    You don't think so, go turn on your tub.
  • In the music video of Manowar's "Gloves of Metal" this happens when the guy who is hit by Joe de Majo's morning star drops dead into a brook.
  • The swimming pool scene in the video to Pink Floyd's "The Wall".

    Myths and Religion 
  • The Bible has the Nile turning to blood. While the blood wasn't from anyone dying, several movie versions have the blood fanning out from one source (usually Moses), giving off this effect as the transformation ensues.

  • "Krákumál": As Ragnar recalls his viking career, the image of blood mixing with water is evoked repeatedly. In stanza #3 "wound-sweat [i.e., blood] swelled the ocean", stanza #4 tells a "river was all reddened / with hot running wound-splash", and stanza #19 relates that "Irish blood was blended / with brine, at the slaughter."

  • In Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues, a fight breaks out between a group of students while the sprinklers in the high school are going off. Carlie is shot and Devin is stabbed, their bodies falling to the ground and the narration describing how their blood pools and spreads in the water left by the sprinklers.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the Stormwrack supplement for Dungeons & Dragons, spilling blood underwater attracts sharks. It also inverts it with a spell that turns blood to seawater.


    Video Games 
  • In Assassin's Creed, Altaïr's first target, Tamir, stabs a man to death and lets the body fall into a shallow pool of water which rapidly becomes red with blood.
  • Lord Woo Fak Fak, the giant anglerfish boss in Banjo-Tooie, billows blood into the water whenever he's hit in one of his boils.
  • In Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, the brothers come upon a bloody battleground of giants. The battle apparently just happened, because the giants' blood is still flowing into nearby streams, and even makes a waterfall run red. The brothers have to wade through the water to progress and make sounds of disgust as they do so.
  • The Death in the Water series is set entirely underwater. Nail an onscreen enemy (sharks, sirens, octopus, etc) with your Harpoon Gun and you'll see a fine cloud of blood spreading out where you hit, although the blood cloud dissolves after a few seconds.
  • The menu screen for Dead Island has this constantly going on as a background. It's actually quite pretty, rather like a lava lamp. Made of blood.
  • The second time Jester pops up in Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening, he causes a nearby stone fountain (adorned with seemingly decorative gargoyles) to overflow with blood, awakening the now demonic Blood-goyles to attack Dante, who isn't very intimidated.
  • In an old build of Dwarf Fortress, a single spattering of blood would turn an entire body of water red. Even the ocean. It's still played straight; blood like any other contaminant lingers where it's washed off, and fills a tile of standing water or flows downstream with running water.
  • Whenever the shark kills someone underwater in Jaws Unleashed during the cutscenes, it turns a big area in the water blood red.
  • MadWorld: In the Courtyard, there is a fountain in the center of the first part of the level. Impaling people on the spiky parts cause that part of the fountain to start spewing blood in the place of water. One of the Deathwatch Challenges is actually nailing a body on every spike on the fountain.
  • A couple of Mortal Kombat games feature stage fatalities which result in the loser being thrown into water. This being Mortal Kombat, it's no surprise that a swarm of nasty creatures (possibly piranha) happens to be lingering just below the surface, quickly reducing the victim to a bloody cloud in the water. It's probably saying something that this is one of the tamest and least graphic deaths in the series.
  • One case in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice involves a priest dying in a shallow pool, which coats the crystal clear water a grisly crimson, which you can observe in the crime scene photo.
  • One of Sogetsu Kazama's supers in the 2019 Samurai Shodown game consists of him trapping his opponent in a floating water sphere before throwing two water shuriken at it, slicing up his hapless victim and turning the water a charming shade of red, before finishing them off by throwing a single drop at the sphere and making it explode. See it here.
  • Living creatures that die underwater in Tomb Raider III will release a blossoming cloud of bright red blood. Particularly distressing to witness if Lara is attacked by a school of piranhas.
  • This is part of the game mechanics in ULTRAKILL. Your character heals by being covered in the blood of its victims. If you kill an enemy underwater, it creates a red pool that lasts longer (meaning you can kill a target from a distance and then move into the blood), but doesn't heal as much (because the blood is diluted).
  • In World of Warcraft, if you kill a beast in the Borean Tundra, you find yourself covered with blood (which will piss off the local Animal Wrongs Group). You can wash it off by swimming in water, which will leave behind a "pool of blood." Repeatable fishing quests require you to do this deliberately because the blood attracts a unique type of fish.

  • Unsounded: In the aftermath of tearing through the Deadly Nevergreen and its occupants the Selver swims away in the River Jarla, trailing and gathering gory detritus.

    Western Animation 
  • The Love, Death & Robots short "Jibaro" features a siren who lives in a lake and drives a troop of knights to madness with her song. The lake turns pink from them hacking each other to pieces before all perishing. Then it's put up to eleven after the siren herself apparently dies: all the rivers connected to the lake turn a deep, crimson red. Upstream.

    Real Life 
  • Truth in Television in that people who are sensitive to seeing blood will often do fine until they go to wash the wound and see the red spatters in the sink. The same can apply to people who don't feel as much pain from minor cuts until they see the injury.
  • Similarly, cutting yourself in a swimming pool can be a harrowing experience.
  • Or having your gums bleed while brushing your teeth. Sink looks like a murder scene. The worst is after getting your wisdom teeth removed, the holes will often bleed profusely, resulting in spitting huge mouthfuls of blood into the sink.
  • Or getting your period unexpectedly in the tub/pool/ocean/what-have-you. Even going to the bathroom while you're on it can produce this effect.
  • When doctors are treating people who have cut themselves badly and ask them to estimate how much blood they've lost, they take this trope into account, knowing that people who have bled into water are likely to grossly overestimate.
  • Hemorrhoids also have this effect. Toilet water dilutes the blood in stool, making it appear that the patient has lost much more blood than they actually have.
  • Not actually blood, but; Red Tide, a harmful algal bloom that turns water red and can kill fish and other sea-dwelling life. It's been suggested that this inspired the Nile turning to blood in the Bible, as mentioned above.
  • When the carbon dioxide in Lake Nyos suddenly erupted from the water and killed nearly 1800 people, the disturbed iron on the lake bottom turned the water's surface red.
  • Nicking yourself while shaving in the shower (more frequent for women than men) means that the blood takes much longer to clot than usual. "Ow! I'll need a bandaid" will rapidly become "HOLY CRAP WHY IS THE BATHTUB RED?!"
  • For aquatic mammals, this trope is Truth in Television when they get injured to the point of bleeding, since - especially in scenarios where predators are involved - a great deal of blood might be shed into water over a short amount of time.
    • There was an incident at SeaWorld where an orca attacked another orca during a show. The pictures are horrifying.
    • The Cove, a documentary about secret dolphin killing in a town in Japan. At one point there's an underwater camera, which seems like it serves no purpose other than to look into the very clear water at the bottom of the cove. A few seconds later, the entire view of the camera turns a bright, opaque red from the top down due to the quantity of blood in the water.
  • When the toilet gets clogged as a result of someone flushing their menstrual products down the toilet instead of properly throwing them away.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Blood Is Squickier In Water


Caitlyn's Shower Scene

Caitlyn showers dejectedly after being rejected by Vi, while her wounded leg is still bleeding into the water.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / ShowerOfAngst

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