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Bloody Horror

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Bloody Hell, who's cleaning that up?

I guess it's over now 'cause I've never seen so much
Never seen so much
Never seen so much blood!
Barenaked Ladies, Tonight Is The Night I Fell Asleep At The Wheel

A staple of the horror genre. Blood is a primal fear, which makes it, and other things you'd usually like to keep in your body, ripe for scaring people in fiction. If someone is bleeding out, you know they've been attacked or are in danger of dying, and when there's blood pooling somewhere there really shouldn't be, you know it's no longer safe there.

There are many ways blood can invoke fear. Haunting stories sometimes have blood supernaturally "bleeding" and dripping down/out from furniture, and architecture, for unnaturalness and creepiness. Blood can also signify danger is nearby, and that somebody was wounded, or worse, killed. Murder mysteries with horror elements have gory murders specifically for this reason, some going beyond just blood, and showing the victim's internal organs or separated body parts. Finally, blood and gore are very often used to show that a character's health is declining, which makes this trope very common in Medical Dramas and/or when the audience is supposed to fear for someone's life.

There's no question, psychologically, why this is the case. The fears of blood and death are very common, and most people like to keep their blood inside their body, and the rest of their body intact. Because bloody horror is often seen as too scary for young children, kids' shows tend to use Symbolic Blood, feature blood in non-standard colors, when they're not just using Bloodless Carnage.

This trope is the reason why Blood-Splattered Innocents, Blood Is the New Black and Blood-Splattered Wedding Dress are so scary, and why Evil Is Visceral. Blood from the Mouth is often combined with Incurable Cough of Death to induce horror. And then there's the Logical Extreme of Blood from Every Orifice.

Since this has a lot of overlap with Death Tropes, and thus is ripe with spoilers, spoilers will be unmarked.

A Sub-Trope to Horror and Body Horror, and a Super-Trope to Splatter Horror and Bloody Hallucinations of Guilt. Related to Overdrawn at the Blood Bank, High-Pressure Blood, Evil Is Visceral, and Afraid of Blood which is about specific characters that freak out at even minor sights of blood like paper cuts and donor blood packs. Some Subtropes are Blood-Splattered Innocents, Blood-Splattered Wedding Dress, Blood Is the New Black, and Couldn't Find a Pen. Chest Burster is a variation. Compare Paint the Town Red and Symbolic Blood. Also see Blood Magic for when blood is used for magic by ritualistic sacrifice. Contrast Bloody Hilarious, where blood is played for Black Comedy; Bloodless Carnage, where scenes where characters would normally bleed are censored to be less scary; and Gorn, where blood is also part of the aesthetic, but it's meant to be exciting, not scary.

See Did Not Do the Bloody Research for the use "bloody" as a curse word. Compare A Bloody Mess when the horror turns out to be a false alarm—it was just an innocent substance.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Another, Mr. Kubodera dies by stabbing his own throat repeatedly in front of his students and causes them to be splattered by his blood.
  • Attack on Titan: The Titans (giants) love to play with their food (humans), and will bite off people's bodies in bits spraying blood everywhere in the process. Or even just injure humans so they bleed out and leave them to die. The scariest part is that they don't even need to eat to survive. They eat humans for fun, and just throw them up later. So all the casualties in battle are pretty much killed for no reason.
  • A Certain Magical Index: On his way home Touma sees now-familiar habit-wearer Index sprawled on the floor near his apartment door. Knowing Index's appetite, Touma can expect her hunger to be the cause again, and proceeds to perhaps help her up, quickly getting whiplashed by not knowing what's with all the blood pooling under her.
  • Elfen Lied: Lucy is frequently covered in blood after killing people with her psychic powers. When Kouta finally witnesses this in the anime it's extremely traumatic for him since he had been trying to protect her and befriended her throughout the series, and because he has PTSD from a traumatic past — namely, the moment when Young Lucy killed his father and sister right in front of him.
  • Eureka Seven: When Eureka discovers the "The Children" they're covered in the blood of their family that Eureka just killed.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Scar is a Serial Killer bent on revenge against alchemists. He can tear apart the alchemic makeup of his victims with an alchemic circle tattoo on his arm, often leaving bloody mess in his wake. The only real reason for him to kill the alchemists in such a bloody way, instead of disintegrating them completely, and leaving no evidence behind, is the fear factor.
    • It's pretty common place whenever Fuhrer Bradley fights for him to Paint the Town Red, as well. People (even his own soldiers) are clearly terrified of him when he does.
    • Ed and Al's teacher Izumi coughing up blood is played for fear for her condition. It turns out the reason is because she's missing some of her organs after an attempted human transmutation.
  • Quite a few witches of Brynhildr in the Darkness are shown to be on the run from the organization responsible for creating them. Even eluding the more direct methods of disposal, they are not exempt from having to regularly take the now unprocurable death suppressant capsules to push back the certain gory melting to death. Your skin ruptures a bit or nose starts bleeding? Congratulations, that's an indication of entering the 5-hours final countdown stage. And if the drug supply you had is used up by now...
  • Highschool of the Dead: Nearly every cast member is covered in blood at some point due to having to fight off hordes of zombies.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Gendo, in the dick move to end all dick moves, takes control of Shinji's EVA using the Dummy Plug system and forces it to kill Unit 03 against his will. Shinji experiences (through the mech) ripping someone apart and having blood splattered all over him, and is utterly powerless to stop it from happening. It was traumatic enough to teach Shinji to never disobey Gendo's orders, and only furthers the poor kid's psychological deterioration.
    • In the Rebuild films, the fact that Unit-03's pilot was Asuka causes Shinji to snap and attempt to destroy NERV's HQ himself before being knocked out.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: This is most often invoked by the villains since Kenshin is a peaceful person and is against killing. The villains tend to kill people in very bloody ways to make a point they're horrible murderers. Although quite a few characters Cough Up Blood after sustaining heavy hits causing life threatening organ damage, making the other characters fear if they'll come out alive. The Animated film with Kenshin's backstory is also very fear inducing with it's high amount of bloody deaths, and Blood-Splattered Innocents like Tomoe. Some of the characters also have a Bloodbath Villain Origin.
  • Tokyo Ghoul is a series about human-looking creatures that feed on human flesh. There are numerous scenes involving blood gushing, leaking, pouring, or splashing from bodies and people being covered in the red stuff. Notable scenes include Tsukiyama's white suit being soaked through after he tears a hole in someone, and Kaneki accidentally walking in on Hinami eating... and freezing in horror at the sight of the sweet little girl with blood dripping from her mouth.
  • ×××HOLiC: In one story a woman makes a wish on a monkey paw and inadvertently causes a man to fall in front of a moving train. His blood sprays onto the platform and onto her shoes

    Fan Works 
  • In Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, a four-year-old Izuku is thoroughly traumatized after he accidentally throws Bakugou through a wall with his reckless use of his newfound Super-Strength. He clearly remembers how Bakugou's body was just covered in blood. Later on, a flashback shows the full extent of Bakugou's injuries: his chest was ripped open from end to end, his ribs were protruding through his torso, and he was gushing blood. The sight of it makes Bakugou want to throw up when Death shows this to him.
  • In What a Strange Little Colt, Rainbow Dash finds Gabriel drenched in his own blood. A lot of it gets on her as she takes him to the hospital.
  • Video game-based Creepypastas are notorious for adding excessive amounts of blood to classic games. Blood Whistle had entire levels slathered in what the narrator describes as "realistic blood" with "an eerie, reflective quality that SHOULD have been graphically impossible for an 8-bit game," while Sonic.exe infamously features not just realistic but "hyper-realistic" blood.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • American Psycho: Patrick Bateman kills an annoying coworker which results in his face being covered in blood. Then he takes off his raincoat that was keeping his suit clean, sits down at the desk facing the coworker's corpse, and smokes a cigar.
  • The Amityville Horror (2005): A specific part of the wall in the Amityville House's basement starts dripping blood at night and forming a stream leading George to it. It's revealed later on that the basement used to have a morgue, and that people were also tortured there.
  • In Italian horror films there's Lucio Fulci's City of the Living Dead which involves a girl who begins bleeding from the eyes. Followed by her intestines and stomach being ejected from her mouth. The effect is...disturbingly realistic.
  • Ghostbusters (1984). During the scene in the mayor's office where people are describing the weird events going on in New York City, one man says "The walls in the 53rd Precinct were bleeding."
  • Indiana Jones
    • Raiders of the Lost Ark has the Wrath of God scene — Arnold Toht's face melts off his skull, with the skin and blood sizzling and evaporating off his face. Not to mention René Belloq experiences a messy Your Head Asplode. Herman Dietrich's death — by way of his head being shriveled up and crushed inwards — is relatively clean compared to his colleagues.
    • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom: There's the scene where Mola Ram forces his hand into a sacrificial victim's chest, and removes his heart. It's still beating after.
  • The Machinist has a refrigerator overflowing with blood, but when opened it only turns out to be rotten fish inside.
  • Marebito There is a lot of focus on blood. The voiceless girl only drinks blood, and Masuoka kills two women and bottles up their blood for F to drink.
  • The Night Flier: As a vampire story, it makes a lot of use of this. Mutilated, bloody corpses are frequently seen, the Night Flier writes messages in blood, and the inside of his airplane is covered in blood, dirt and maggots.
  • The geyser of blood from the bed of Glen (Johnny Depp's character) in the first A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) movie. Which continues to flow on the ceiling. Epic.
  • Poltergeist:
    • One of the characters hallucinates ripping his face off in the bathroom, and dripping blood into the sink.
    • Near the end of the film, after rescuing the daughter, the mother and the daughter come out of the ghost's world, and fall into a bathtub full of blood.
  • One of the iconic images from The Shining is the scene with an elevator full of blood pouring out and flooding a hallway. There's also the instance where a shot of a pair of Creepy Twin girls asking Danny to play with them in a Creepy Monotone is intercut with one of the same twins covered in blood and sprawled on the floor across the now blood-streaked hallway (pictured above).
  • Sinister:
    • One of the characters who moves in the haunted house of the film finds a home movie titled "House Painting" in super 8 film. The home movie shows a video of a family who used to live there being cut up, and then the walls in the hallway being painted in the family's blood.
    • The advertising was pretty bloody too. With a commercial of a girl smearing blood on the walls with her hands with the film's title appearing as the blood drips on the wall.
  • Twice-Told Tales: In "The House of Seven Gables", the walls and ceiling start of the Haunted House start bleeding. Hannah says that this is because the house was cursed by Matthew Moll and that the plaster on the walls was mixed with water from the well where Moll's forge used to stand. Later, Gerald tries to pour a glass of water, only to have it turn into blood.

  • Battle Royale features a lot of 14-year-olds killing one another in a Deadly Game, from stabbings and slashings to gunshots and explosions. The manga adaptation cranks the blood and viscera up to eleven, and while the film adaptation's depictions of violence are more understated, it is no less frightening.
  • In The Girl from the Well, when the ghost Okiku manifests, she has an influence on her surroundings. This on some occasions includes causing blood to drip from the walls.
  • Dolores Umbridge in Harry Potter tortures students in detention by forcing them to write lines in their own blood. With a magical quill that carves the words into the backs of their hands.
  • The Hunger Games is full of graphic descriptions of the injuries either suffered or witnessed by protagonist Katniss, given the plot starts with a Deadly Game and later has her fighting an all-out war. The film adaptations thankfully downplay some of those (for instance, unlike in the books Peeta never loses a leg).
  • In In The Realm Of Carnal Horror, Anna Nimity's fun with her share of the girls leaves such an impression on Peter that he has a dream that has a literal ocean of blood, but is somehow less gruesome.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The 100: After discovering Clarke's plan to kill her, Nia has Ontari cut her own hand and cover Clarke's face with her blood. Clarke is still covered in her blood in the following scene, shocked by the event and by the color of the blood as well, as Ontari is a black-blooded "Nightblood".
  • Breaking Bad has the infamous scene in "Cat's in the Bag..." where Jesse tries disposing of a body by putting in a bathtub and dousing it in hydrofluoric acid... only for the acid to eat through the bathtub and the floor, causing the tub to crash down onto the floor below, spreading blood and liquefied remains everywhere. Also counts as Bloody Hilarious given the context.
  • In Dexter, Dexter runs into a lot of this in his work as a blood-splatter analyst, though the show presents it through his viewpoint as a sociopathic Nightmare Fetishist. It's played uncharacteristically straight when he comes across a blood-soaked crime scene that recreates the shipping container that, as a young child, he spent three days locked inside with the dismembered corpse of his mother: he has a traumatic flashback and has to leave the room.
  • Doctor Who, which usually doesn't show blood despite its high body count, has the series 9 episode 'Heaven Sent' where the Doctor of all people is crawling through a corridor with a burned and bleeding face, broken, bleeding hands and leaving a trail of blood. For this show, that is immense.
  • Game of Thrones: After being hit by the Night King's spear, plenty of blood and flame erupt from Viserion's neck wound as he falls to the ground.
  • House being a Medical Drama often has bleeding as a symptom both to gross out veiwers, and to fear for the patients life. Whether it be from the mouth, the eyes, the nose, ears, and in one episode a man's penis basically explodes and bleeds all over the toilet. Another episode had a woman's symptoms cause her to have a Blood-Splattered Wedding Dress.
  • In the Mini Series "In A Child's Name" (Based on a True Story), a man murders his wife. Cops are suspicious and spray the bedroom with luminol. When the lights are turned off, every single area of the room is covered with blood. Even more terrifying is that the room appears to be pristine to the naked eye, making you wonder just what kind of obsessive psychopathic personality he was to clean it up so effectively.
  • Monk: In the episode Happy Birthday, Mr. Monk, a maintenance man named Bradley Foster goes down into a garbage compactor to fix a jam. After he fixes it the episode's murderer flips the circuit breaker. The garbage compactor turns on, Bradley falls into it, and is brutally ripped apart.
  • Nip/Tuck: In one episode a woman who was put under anaesthetic could still feel and see everything going on during her operation, but wasn't mobile enough to tell the doctors. She's completely traumatized after seeing and feeling the doctors cut into her, and takes legal action over it.
  • Supernatural makes frequent use of this, especially in the Kripke era. There are too many to fully list, but notable examples include:
    • The Ruguru in "Metamorphasis" finally breaking down and eating humans.
    • Sam watching a security guard get cut in half by an Evil Elevator in "It's a Terrible Life" and being splashed by blood.
    • A couple in "My Bloody Valentine" eating each other to death.
  • The Walking Dead has way too many instances of this to list all at once. But generally the bloody mess is a result of them fighting off Zombies.

  • The Magnus Archives:
    • A character attacks a dead tree with a crowbar. The fluid that comes out is not sap.
    • The book The Bone Turner's Tale causes the books around it to bleed.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • A totally accidental instance happened at WWE's Judgment Day 2004 PPV during the match between Eddie Guerrero and John "Bradshaw" Layfield. During a spot where JBL bashed Eddie in the head with a steel chair, Eddie "got too excited" and bladednote  way too deep, nicking an artery. Rather than a steady trickle of blood that would stain his face red, Eddie sprayed his vitae all over the place until the ring was literally soaked with crimson. Both men (perhaps unwisely) finished the match and once it was over Eddie collapsed and went into shock, requiring him to be hospitalised for a blood transfusion. It's seriously disturbing to watch- not only is the blood 100% real, Eddie could have actually died.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons module X2 Castle Amber was designed for the Expert D&D ruleset. One of the castle's features is the Blood-Stained Arch. A steady patter of blood flows from the underside of the arch, with no apparent source. The blood is in atonement for all of the bloody crimes committed by the Amber family.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • In Graham McNeill's Horus Heresy novel Fulgrim, the influence of the Laer temple causes Serena to add blood to her paint in hopes of capturing the vivid colors she imagines. She seduces Leopold in order to murder him for his blood.
    • For that matter, one could count anyone who worships Khorne, the GOD of Blood.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • BioShock Infinite: After killing Jeremiah Fink, Daisy Fitzroy deliberately smears his blood across her face.
  • Blasphemous: The game is insanely gory for a 2D pixel art game, with enemies regularly exploding into short-lived clouds of blood and viscera when killed, or subjected to an outright Cruel and Unusual Death if the Penitent One subjects them to one of his Executions. The Penitent One heals by smashing flasks filled with enchanted blood that seeps from ever-bleeding statues onto the mask of his conical helmet, and after slaying the first boss of the game he takes his helmet off, holds it under a bleeding wound on the dead giant's still-warm corpse until it's filled to the brim, and puts it back on his head again.
  • Bloodborne: Bloody Horror: The Game. The setting of the game revolves entirely around blood and infections. The city of Yharnam is a pilgrimage site where people come to visit the Healing Church that claims to be able to heal any illness through transfusions of supernatural blood. Playing around with strange blood also leads to people going insane and slowly transforming into huge beasts and slaughtering normal people and each other in the search for more blood. Many enemies spray huge amounts of blood when hit or sometimes using it as an attack, quickly leaving you covered in blood from head to toe.
  • Haunting Starring Polterguy: Poltergeist Polterguy can temporarily turn a table cloth into a pool of blood.
  • In the climax of ICO, we see the only blood in the game when Ico's horns snap off. The sudden physical sign of violence after a game full of whacking nothing but intangible Smokemen is like a punch to the gut.
  • Persona 3: During the Dark Hour any water/liquid in the environment turns blood red. Blood will often be puddling on the floor and dripping off the walls during animated cutscenes.
  • Many locations in Silent Hill are liberally smeared with blood, particularly in the town's disturbing Dark World. It's apparently played up for horror even in-universe, since this blood is often just there, and rarely has an actual source around that it was spilled from.
  • Skull Girls Invoked in Ms.Fortune's backstory. She got her abilities when she swallowed a stolen gem with immortality-granting properties, and was promptly butchered alive by a mafia assassin. She woke up later on the seafloor, finding her body in pieces and surrounded by the chopped-up carcasses of her friends.
  • South Park: The Fractured but Whole uses this for dark comedy. When the main character returns home, you'll find your parents missing and your whole house covered in ludicrous amounts of blood. The game has a haunting musical sting as the character walks through the house, but the character himself doesn't react and there's nothing to do. You just keep going about your business until it's revealed later what happened.

    Visual Novels 
  • Corpse Party has many instances of this.
    • It's shown that the ghosts you encounter in the game all died extremely bloody and gory deaths as children. For example all of them had their tounges cut out, one of them was decapitated, and one of their deaths was so morbid and graphic that the news article you originally read about the murders in omits it from the article.
    • In the first chapter you encounter blood and guts decorating a wall and the floor in the hallway. You find out in a later chapter that Mayu was killed there when she was thrown into the wall by ghosts so fast that it killed her.
    • After Yuka Kizami pushes his friend Kensuke Kurosaki down a pit where he falls down a floor and breaks his ribs. Yuka finds his friend and witnesses Kizami stab him several times and leave him to die in a pool of blood. Yuka eventually runs away terrified with her clothes and shoes now stained with blood from the murder
    • It's revealed in a flashback that Sachiko was the real murderer of the children, and she is covered in blood from killing them.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry:
    • At one point Rika commits suicide in front of Shion, by holding a knife to the wall, and slamming her neck into it. It's a lot more graphic in the anime adaptation, since the visual nover was limited to only describing it and using a blood graphic.
      • Similarly many other suicides involve the victims mysteriously scratching open their own necks with their fingers.
    • In Hinamizawa there's a ghost story about an old village ritual (that's used for some of the murders) that involved the villagers disemboweling the victim as torture, and showing them their own guts on the day of the yearly festival. This eventually happens to Rika in some of the later chapters.
  • In The Letter, the surrounding area sometimes gets covered in blood when the ghost stalks a character.
  • Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors
    • At the beginning of the game the Number Nine Man enters a numbered door by himself and explodes because of small bombs placed in his stomach, foreshadowing the rules for the nonary game. You have to walk past a bloody puddle of his remains if you chose to go through that door. Later on another man dies in a similar way when being thrown into the number 3 door by himself.
    • This game infamously has a number of bloody deaths for bad endings. Especially during the axe ending where Clover becomes literally Axe-Crazy and brutally murders several people.
  • School Days is particularly infamous for its Downer Endings, which often end with one or more people dying in bloody fashion, including stabbings, throat slashings, getting pushed in front of a train, or leaping from a building head-first. The anime adaptation doesn't skimp either, as its ending entails the protagonist getting violently stabbed to death, and one of his love interests slashing the other's throat before cutting open her body to check if she was pregnant, then escaping on her family's yacht with the protagonist's severed head.
  • Umineko: When They Cry
    • There are multiple instances of what appear to be ritualistic "magic circles" being drawn in blood. And in episode 03 of the visual novel the numbers 07151129 are written in what looks like blood over the door George is found dead in. This serves as a hint for later episodes in the "chiru arcs".
    • There's multiple cases of murders that involve bashing people's faces to so that they're so bloody, that it's impossible to recognize who it is.
    • The disemboweling in Higurashi makes an encore in Umineko, on the first twilight (murder) of the second arc leaving blood and guts all around the crime scene. Played for horror again since they were sitting at a party table when they were found
    • In Episode 06 of the visual novel it's revealed that Erika decapitated the heads of people who were playing dead, and stuffed them in garbage bags so she could trap Battler (who was GM at the time) in a logic error by making it so nobody could replace the chain lock if he left the room he had "died" in.

  • Homestuck
    • This trope occurs frequently from act five onwards. when Gamzee covers the floor in the blood of his victims, much like the Grand Highblood. He also uses Nepeta's claw to cut his own face, letting blood leak out.
    • All the blood in [S]:Synchronize.
    • In the timeline where Vriska fights Jack, the blood of all the other trolls strewn across the floor like a demented rainbow definitely counts as this.
  • Kuro Shouri frequently has bloody fight scenes. Examples include the first villain, Hasha, having his arms cut off and then turned into a puddle of blood, and Kuroi having a hideout literally decorated with the parts of bloody corpses.
  • Oglaf: A Nightmare Fetishist ghost realtor highlights the bleeding walls of a Haunted House as an attraction.
    "The blood is supernaturally generated, so it's technically vegan."
  • Trevor (2020): None of Trevor's kills are done without copious amounts of blood spilled.
  • Unsounded: When the First Silver takes apart the slaves it's been smuggled in and forms its own giant eel-like body to tear apart the Deadly Nevergreen's inhabitants it drenches the whole place in the blood of its victims while turning it into a horrific hellish nightmare.
  • In Weak Hero, Wolf is established as being even more vicious than the bullies who came before him. However, even in those fights, people were being beat so severely that it's amazing they didn't need a hospital visit. So in order to establish Wolf's brutality as being on a whole other level, there's a much higher emphasis on the amount of blood that's spilt by his hand. One of the most striking shots is Wolf aiming a fierce kick at Eugene's head, which then cuts to an aerial shot of Eugene's glasses flying through the air and a large spurt of blood following them.

    Web Original 
  • Camdrome: Camdrome first appeared as a blood-covered computer at PAX, making a bold statement about the computer's...personality.

    Western Animation 
  • Gravity Falls is surprisingly unabashed about this trope despite being a kids' show. "Northwest Mansion Mystery" got plenty of horror mileage by having the heroes freak out over mounted animal heads gushing gallons of blood during a particularly intense haunted house experience. Later, after Big Bad Bill Cipher begins wreaking havoc, one of the signs that things have gone topsy-turvy is the town's waterfall turning into blood top-to-bottom.


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