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Bloody Handprint

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At least the fingerprints will be easy to find.

"Ah, so that wasn't a guiding bloody handprint, but a warning bloody handprint."
Gordon Freeman, Freeman's Mind

A handprint in thick blood is visible on a wall, floor, or some other surface, indicating that the person who left it is seriously injured and possibly dying. The fresher the blood, the stronger the terror. A staple in Zombie Apocalypse films and horror in general.

The Bloody Handprint may be plastered onto the White Shirt of Death for even more visceral visuals. In some cases this is combined with Gory Discretion Shot; we, the audience, are told there is a corpse in the room, but all we are allowed to see is the blood. This can be worse than a clear sight of the victim, since imagination is left to supply the details. If the protagonists arrive at a Ghost Ship and they are following a trail of bloody handprints they'll be gripped by apprehension too, thinking of what must be waiting for them at the end of it. Hand Sliding Down the Glass means the handprint will be a bloody smear.

A direct extension is the use of the Bloody Handprint as a symbol, either in framing artwork such as book covers, or in-world. Used in-world it is a classic symbol of savage and violent people, turning up on flags, equipment and uniforms. Extra points if it's not paint.

This is quite logical and possible as Truth in Television, since a person's first reaction to pain in their body is to touch where it comes from. Naturally, a bleeding character's hand will get blood on it, and an alert person may apply pressure to the wound to stem the bleeding, getting covered in the stuff. Further attempts to move (to escape or seek help) with gore-coated hands will leave a trail behind, since no one that injured is going to waste time washing up. However, the preference for clearly delineated handprints, as opposed to more amorphous smudges, has more to do with communication with the viewer than the logistics of the situation.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In the final episode of Code Geass R2 Lelouch leaves one of these — in his own blood — on Suzaku's Zero mask as they exchange their final words after Suzaku stabs him.
  • Lucy in Elfen Lied uses her vectors to this effect, and wakes up one morning with the walls of her room absolutely covered in these.
  • Great Teacher Onizuka: After a serious injury, Onizuka left a bloody handprint on Uchiyamada's bald head. Uchiyamada found it really hard to remove, and almost thought that Onizuka cursed him.
  • In Rave Master, Musica gets these in his (and Reina's) fight with Ogre after he stops Ogre's superheated goldclaiming pole with his bare hands.

    Comic Books 
  • Daredevil: When Echo's father was killed, he left one on her face.
  • Tintin: In The Seven Crystal Balls, Tintin finds a handprint halfway up a tree, from the intruder they shot last night.
  • An arc of Web of Spider-Man sees J. Jonah Jameson held captive in his own home by the Chameleon. Jonah escapes his bonds one day after slicing open his hand and using the blood to slip off his manacles. He leaves a few bloody handprints on his walls as he staggers to the door, only to be caught by Chameleon before he can escape the apartment.

    Fan Fiction 
  • In The Capitol Games, one tribute is forced to cover her chariot costume and her partner's in handprints made with her own blood.

    Film — Animated 
  • In a flashback in Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, Martha Wayne is holding her dead son Bruce, leaving his blood on her hand which she brings to her mouth. After pulling her hand away, the blood on her face looks almost like a painted-on smile while she begins hysterically laughing, implying that while Thomas Wayne became this universe's Batman, Martha became the Joker.
  • In Paprika, Osanai leaves one of these when he slides down a glass wall. Since this happens in the background of another scene, it's entirely possible to miss the first time you watch it.
  • In Tarzan, as Kala looks over the damage of the treehouse Tarzan's parents built, you can see bloody hand and paw prints from their fatal (offscreen) battle with Sabor.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Apartment Zero, the camera follows a trail of bloody handprints and skid marks down the wall and to the bed, where we see the mangled, naked corpse of the man Jack killed for his passport.
  • In The Blair Witch Project, the main characters find the supposedly demolished house of Rustin Parr, the walls of which are covered in children's handprints, presumably composed of dried blood.
  • The Bloody Man: At one point in the movie, Sam finds one such handprint on his bedroom door. When Michael sees it, he assumes Sam put it there and is blaming it on an imaginary monster.
  • Boogeyman (2005): Tim finds the bathtub in Jessica's hotel room mysteriously empty, with a bloody handprint on the rim of the tub. He's going to leave it there when the Boogeyman takes Jessica.
  • The Cabin in the Woods: After half their number are killed, the survivors run to their RV to drive out of there. As they pile in, we're shown a bloody handprint on the door.
  • Forms Wilson's "face" in Cast Away when Chuck cuts his hand and throws the volleyball away in a fit of anger. Probably the nicest use of this trope, since Chuck was in desperate need of a Companion Cube to keep himself sane.
  • Coming Home in the Dark: After Mandrake strangles the gas station attendant into unconsciousness, he heads back into the gas station, leaving a bloody handprint on the rim of the door as he enters it.
  • Crawl: Haley, while looking for her father, finds a pair of handprints made in blood.
  • The DVD cover for Creep (2004) has a bloody handprint on a subway train window.
  • Dawning of the Dead: One can be seen on a zombie's shoulder. Another is seen on a wall.
  • The Slender Man film Entity has a scene in which the female character smears one across a window, apparently, as shown in the trailer. The movie almost completely disappeared from the Internet a couple months ago or so, so we have no way of knowing what the hell was going on.
  • The Force Awakens: A dying stormtrooper reaches for another stormtrooper and leaves a handmark on the latter's helmet, incidentally identifying him for the next few scenes.
  • Appears in God of Cookery as a result of a Barehanded Blade Block being a little more realistic than most depictions.
  • In Gothika, Douglas Grey leaves several bloody handprints all over the house as he attempts to escape his wife, the possessed, temporarily Ax-Crazy Miranda Grey. It makes it very easy to show where he's been.
  • The Grand Duel: In one scene, a dying victim of one of the villains leaves his bloody handprint on his immaculate white suit.
  • In Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later, Laurie leaves a bloody handprint on the door of a closet, tricking Michael Myers into thinking she was hiding inside.
  • Hatched: When looking through the surprisingly empty house of their relatives, the family finds a handprint on the receiver of the phone.
  • Hitchhiker Massacre: A couple of bloody handprints can be seen on the outside of the killer's house.
  • The cover art for the remake of House on Haunted Hill (1999) and its sequel is a bloody handprint.
  • Interceptor opens on a sign warning that deadly force is authorized against anyone who tries breaking into the military base, only for the camera to pan across a white-painted boom gate splattered with blood including a handprint as terrorists kill everyone there.
  • Johnny Mnemonic: Specific to the Japanese cut, before Jane and Jones work together to eliminate the Street Preacher, Jane holds a bloody palm up against the glass of Jones's tank and leaves a bloody streak on it while asking Jones for help.
  • Jurassic World: Claire Dearing is in the cab of an armoured truck with the two children, waiting while the InGen mercenaries deal with the crisis. Suddenly she's startled by a mercenary slamming his bloody hand on the window, shouting for her to flee at once. She starts the truck but the mercenary is jumped by a dinosaur as he's climbing into the back.
  • Killer Under the Bed: Tina leaves blood on her rearview mirror when the Voodoo Doll attacks her in her car.
  • The Lord of the Rings: Saruman's mark on his Uruk-hai warriors was a very mild version of this. (He used white paint.)
  • Metallica: Through the Never: The first sign that something unusual is going on is a bloody handprint Trip sees on a sign while he's stopped at an intersection.
  • The Mist: After the insane crowd led by the religiously insane villainess stab an unfortunate marine and throw him out the store where the monsters lurk, the last shot before he is violently dragged away into the mist is him putting his blood-covered hand on the window before whispering "please", leaving the bloody print after he's killed.
  • Monsters (2010): Seen on a wrecked yacht as the protagonists' journey down the river in the Infected Zone.
  • The Night They Knocked: When one of the murderers reveals himself to the college students in the house, he presses his hands against the back door window and leaves two handprints there.
  • A Quiet Place. Evelyn leaves bloody footprints on the floor after stepping on a nail. Her husband follows them to a bloodstained bathtub and thinks she's been killed, but Evelyn reveals herself by suddenly placing her bloody hand on the glass door of the shower, where she's now hiding.
  • Shaun of the Dead: Once the Zombie Apocalypse begins, two of these adorn a drinks refrigerator in the grocery store where Shaun does his shopping. Shaun doesn't notice them, as well as anything else out of the ordinary.
  • Marty leaves one on a banner in Slaughter High as part of his campaign of psychological warfare against his victims.
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan has a most emotional moment when Scotty's nephew dies asking if "the word is still given" leaving a bloody hand mark on Kirk's uniform not ready to die or end his duties.
  • Sunshine: See page image. Bloody hand- and footprints are left behind by the villain, Pinbacker wherever he goes. Also a signal that he's already beaten the hero to the payload.
  • Winterskin: In an apparent Flashback sequence, when Pete, Chuck, and Old Tin Ruth are investigating the remains of John Carver's house, there are three bloody handprints on the front door.

  • In Baccano!, Claire Stanfield leaves bloody handprints on the outside of the train window. He belongs to the latter example.
  • Carrie: Carrie leaves one of these on Mrs. Desjardin's shorts while panicking over her first period — she is under the impression that she is bleeding to death.
  • Ghost Finders: Early in the investigation of the haunted radio station in Voices from Beyond, one of these is left on JC's jacket by his dying future self. He keeps the jacket on, refusing to explain the mark, which further creeps out most of the already-spooked station staff.
  • An exceptionally nightmarish example occurs in the dark urban fantasy Into the Out Of by Alan Dean Foster. A group of Maasai evil spirits called shetani use magic to sneak onto a 747 in flight through one of the lavatories and manage to kidnap a stewardess. They take her off the plane the same way they got on: through the lavatory toilet. The only thing left behind is blood — lots and lots of blood. Including a single bloody handprint on the inside of the toilet bowl, as if the hand that left it was trying to grab the rim from below.
  • In a Night Huntress book, Cat enters the house to find a man dead in the kitchen and a trail of bloody handprints leading up the stairs. The wife had dragged herself up to the (adult) daughter's bedroom and died in there.
  • A bloody thumbprint shows up in the Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Norwood Builder". Lestrade thinks that it's conclusive evidence in regard to a murder that had happened two days previously. Holmes agrees, but for a different reason: The thumbprint hadn't been there the night before, which meant that someone was planting evidence to get the owner of the thumb in trouble.
  • In Marc Haddon's A Spot of Bother, while cutting a skin lesion off his lip, George Hall suffers serious blood loss and leaves them all over his house.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the 2 Broke Girls episode "And the Egg Special", these can be seen all over the walls of the Soup Kitchen after a drug deal went wrong and turned into a shooting spree.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003): Seen on a Cylon centurion.
  • Breaking Bad: In the final episode, as Walt is bleeding out from his gunshot wound, he uses his last moments to marvel at the Neo-Nazis' meth lab equipment. As he lays his hand on one of the steel cooking tanks, he finally succumbs and slumps over, leaving a smear of blood on the equipment.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In "Prophecy Girl", there's one on the television in the A/V room where vampires have slaughtered students.
    • Buffy realises that Pete fled through a window thanks to this being found in "Beauty and the Beasts".
  • CSI:
    • "Who Are You?": One is found on the floor during a murder investigation.
    • "Unfriendly Skies": One is found on an airliner's cockpit door.
    • The series also occasionally features bloody footprints. One episode has a trail of them leading away from a storage unit where a decapitated body is found in a wooden trunk.
  • CSI: NY:
    • "Rain": After a robbery, one of the robbers is found in a pool of blood with baby-sized handprints leading away from it.
    • "Sweet 16": A flock of dead pigeons falls from the sky in the opening scene. One of them has the imprint of a hand in blood on its feathers where someone grabbed it after being severely injured.
    • "The Past, Present, and Murder": A body goes missing from a crime scene. Then, a bloody handprint is found on a "trash bag animal" that appears when airflow from passing subway trains comes up thru the grates. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • Deadliest Warrior:
    • The "Yakuza vs. Mafia" episode uses one as a logo to represent The Mafia.
    • In the dramatized battle at the end of the "KGB vs. CIA" episode, a shot and wounded KGB agent leaves one on a door, followed by a trail of blood, allowing a CIA agent to track him down and eventually kill him.
  • ER:
    • In "Twenty-One Guns", Abby places one on a door window just before slumping over and falling to the floor.
    • In "All in the Family", Kerry Weaver arrives at work for what appears to be a typical evening. She's perplexed to see a bloody footprint outside an exam room. She opens the door and screams at the unseen sight of the butchered bodies of Carter and Lucy, having been stabbed by a psychotic patient in the previous episode.
  • One early episode of Falling Skies sees members of the Second Mass trying to set up a memorial to their lost loved ones, and Tom Mason tries to convince Anne Glass to contribute something to help her deal with her grief over losing her family. She's both uninterested in re-opening that fresh wound and also busy trying to figure out how to torture a Skitter, but he persists, and finally, she snaps and smacks the memorial with her hand, which is covered in Skitter blood, leaving a bloody handprint on the memorial.
  • In the Firefly episode "Out of Gas", an injured Mal is stumbling through the ship with a gaping gunshot wound in his gut, leaving large bloody handprints on everything, especially most of the medbay. And the engine. And most of the walls. And, when he's reduced to crawling, a good portion of the floor, as well.
  • General Hospital: Sonny had one on his white shirt from when he attempted to hug Michael at the scene of Claudia's death and Michael pushed him away.
  • The Haunted: In the episode "Demon House", bloody handprints are found on a baby's crib.
  • In one episode of MacGyver (1985), Mac comes across a deserted ship that's been run ashore and ransacked on the inside. Within, he finds a bloody handprint several times the size of his own, which obviously could not belong to a human.
  • Murder, She Wrote: In "Terminal Connection", the stepson of the Victim of the Week discovers that something is amiss when he finds a bloody handprint on the white wall of the beach house. He then follows a trail of handprints to find the body.

  • Two bloody handprints can be found above the inlanes on The Walking Dead. The Limited Edition table has one more on the mirrored backglass.

  • One production of Romeo and Juliet had Mercutio leave a bloody handprint as he was being carried off after getting sliced open by Tybalt.

    Video Games 
  • One can appear on the shelter's wall in 60 Seconds!, usually if you choose to raid another group's bunker.
  • Alice (2022): When the ghost is nearby, the screen will start to be covered in bloody handprints.
  • Antarctica 88: One of these is found on a window on a door when the Player Character is tasked with looking for his teammates. Another one is found on the floor of a storage room at the drilling site.
  • In Assassin's Creed: Initiates, one bloody handprint can be seen at the attacked Assassin safehouse in Osaka, Japan.
  • BioShock:
    • All over the place in BioShock, but special mention goes to the medical pavilion level.
    • Special mention goes to BioShock Infinite's secondary antagonist Daisy Fitzroy, who at one point soaks her hand in the blood of her callous white robber baron enemies and presses it on her face as a kind of warpaint.
  • The Blackpine Outbreak: You can find one of these on the elevator door in the Abandoned Laboratory under the barn.
  • Blood: A bloody handprint is on the cover of Blood (1997). In the sequel, Blood II: The Chosen, Caleb has the same handprint engraved right on his cloak.
  • Burger & Frights: On one bike ride down the street, when you come to the level crossing, there's a train going along it. Look behind you, and you see a freaky-looking, bloody girl approaching you. When she's gone, you can look back at the train and see a bloody handprint on each window.
  • Call of Duty: The emblem of the Brazilian Militia in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer is one of these. Also an available emblem to put on the side of your gun in Call of Duty: Black Ops.
  • A special effect used in Dark Academy stage in Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin have bloody hands appear and disappear on the wall as you walk through one of the hallways.
  • CLOWN (2020): If you look at the clown's mallet, you'll see one such handprint on its business end.
  • The EA logo in Dead Space is covered in these.
  • In Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, the last trace of Reza that Zoe finds is a bloody handprint on the backdoor of Victory Hotel — that is, until he shows up in person for The Stinger epilogue.
  • A bloody handprint is seen (and sometimes usable as a switch) in Duke Nukem 3D. It looks similar to the one in Blood; since they share an engine and since 3D Realms was developing Blood itself before selling the rights to Monolith Productions, it could be a Shout-Out.
  • In The Elder Scrolls, this (though often printed in black ink instead of blood) serves as one of the symbols of the Dark Brotherhood.
  • Eldervale: Part of a handprint can be seen on one of the plexiglass windows in the visitor's section.
  • Almost every Vault in Fallout 3 has at least one on an interior window.
  • Fatal Frame has a handful, though there's a particularly scary one in the third game that has to do more with where you find it.
  • Freddy from Five Nights at Freddy's has a handprint, seemingly that of a child, across his face. Given the known elements of the backstory, it's very likely blood.
  • Half-Life has these scattered around the complex, along with more run-of-the-mill pools of blood. It's usually a good way to tell whether you're going the right way or not.
  • Her Majesty's Spiffing: A couple of these can be seen on the map of the ship's lower decks.
  • Hitman: Blood Money: The tutorial/opening level is set in a semi-abandoned amusement park which was permanently closed after a freak industrial accident killed dozens. Outside of the gate is an old set of bloody footprints leading up to an abandoned car.
  • Iji: As part of Escape from the Crazy Place; the heroine, wakes up in room overrun with violent aliens. In the background are bloody handprints, and the word 'Help' written in blood.
  • Inunaki Tunnel: After you get stuck in a phone booth, when you can finally leave, one of these appears on said booth and the door opens.
  • Keep Out: There's a bloody handprint on the windshield of a car that Mr. M passes through at one point.
  • Kingdom of Loathing spoofs the Cast Away example with the "blood faced volleyball" familiar.
  • MechWarrior: Used as an ominous logo by the Word of Blake faction on their BattleMechs, at least according to the end of the MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries sequel.
  • A recurring element in both Nanashi no Game and its sequel.
  • Bloody hand and footprints are among the creepy manifestations in Paranormal. Disturbingly, the latter aren't necessarily confined to the floor.
  • Penumbra: Black Plague has a very creepy room with a pattern of bloody handprints all around the walls at about knee height, like someone wasn't able to stand, but went around testing the wall for ways out. (This is near a kennel where there's a ton of bloody dog footprints all over.)
  • The Marauders in Red Faction: Guerrilla, a savage tribe of Martian scavengers, use one as their symbol. It appears on flags and vehicles, and is emblematic of their feral and violent nature.
  • A staple of the Resident Evil series, as bloody handprints can be found in most games.
  • Saints Row 2: A bloody handprint is one of the possible emblems to put on a trucker cap.
  • The Bloody Girl in The Sexy Brutale marks Lafcadio's white mask like this. In this instance, it's meant as a protection against the titular mansion's specific "defense mechanisms".
  • Silent Hill:
    • Silent Hill 4: A series of these can be seen on the opposite wall of Henry's apartment. They increase by one every time a victim dies.
    • Silent Hill: Origins: A girl (Alessa) leaves one on a mirror. Touching it marks your first transition into the Dark World.
  • In Star Wars: Republic Commando, Sev has one of these on his helmet. Instead of showing that he's been wounded. it's a paint job to intimidate others. Loading screens say that others think (hope) it is paint, but Sev has never been seen with red paint...
  • Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines: Bloody handprints on a sarcophagus indicate it may have been opened from the inside.

    Visual Novels 

  • Goblins has this particularly cruel example. Gains a Call-Back and possible plot significance years later. Monster chiefs have marks of leadership on their faces, Thaco claims that this was a dying chief marking his chosen successor.
  • Parodied in Rhapsodies where Brian leaves a chocolate handprint when teaching himself how to be a confectionist.
  • Used as a Gory Discretion Shot in YU+ME: dream — we are made to expect that a group are all dead, then someone goes to find out and all we see is the handprint.


    Western Animation 
  • Hellboy Animated: In "Blood and Iron", the team investigates an old mansion. The ghosts there normally go unseen, when Abe checks on a computer, they amass at the window, still unseen. When Abe turns back they're gone, but he does see the windows coated with Bloody Handprints.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Clone trooper (later ARC trooper) Echo has one on the chest of his armour, dark blue because it's the blood of a Rishi eel. It's Rex's handprint, from a scene in "Rookies" where he was explaining to Echo what exactly the term "shinies" meant.

    Real Life 
  • The coat-of-arms of Catalonia is four red pallets on a gold background. A legend says that it was created when the badly wounded Count Wilfred the Hairy of Barcelona passed his bloody fingers across the golden shield awarded to him by the Emperor of the Franks.
  • The flag of Ulster is a bloody hand superimposed on the St George Cross (red on a white background). According to legend this is because in a dispute over who should rule it was to be decided by who could place their hand on the territory first. One set off running, the other cut his own hand off and told a runner to take it, thus winning the race. This may explain a lot about the Province's bloody history.
  • This personalized license plate. Hilariously, the red handprints are part of the official plate design, although they obviously aren't meant to be bloody. Sadly, the Virginia DMV finally caught up with the guy and made him give the plates back. However, in a stunning lack of oversight, the banned license plate made it back through the Virginia DMV's censorship board with only a slight modification...
  • Torii Mototada, a daimyo who served Tokugawa Ieyasu, withstood a siege in Fushimi Castle for over ten days despite having two-thousand men hopelessly outnumbered against an army of forty thousand. His forces fought virtually to the last man, until he only had ten left at his disposal, after which they all performed the Seppuku in the castle's keep. The floorboards which they committed Seppuku on were reused twenty years later for the ceilings of various temples (known as "chitenjo" or 'blood ceilings'), and the blood from their suicides so severely stained the floorboards that fingerprints and footprints can be clearly seen on them to this day.