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Couldn't Find a Pen

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Post-Its from nightmare land.

Kryten: The poor devil must've scrawled it in his death throes, using a combination of his own blood and even his own intestines.
Rimmer: Who would do that?
Lister: Someone who badly needed a pen.

Maybe pen and paper weren't available. Maybe that just wouldn't be cool/creepy/dramatic/funny enough. This is a trope for writing with unusual equipment. They may write an emergency message in lipstick or scratch it onto a surface. A person who is lost in the Wild Wilderness might spell out "HELP" using big logs, so rescue planes will see it. If Played for Laughs, a person might spell words in the snow using a yellow liquid.

A particularly common (and gruesome) version is a victim of a murder or monster attack to use the last of their blood and strength to write a Dying Clue. Also the blood will often be immune to oxidization, remaining bright red no matter how long. A variation is for the dying victim to write the clue on themselves, using a blade or pointed object. There may be Bloody Handprints nearby as well. May cross with Blood-Stained Letter as well.

See Also: Distress Call, Room Full of Crazy and Deal with the Devil, all of which use or overlap with this trope to some extent. Sister trope to Condensation Clue and Carved Mark. If blood was specifically used to make a signature more significant, it's a Blood Oath. If letters are substituted with similarly-shaped images, it's Pictorial Letter Substitution.


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  • A series of anti-Islamic terrorism ads by Corporate Chhattisgarh have messages written in blood on the sides of cars and bombed-out walls, including "If dying for your faith makes you a martyr, what does it make those whom you killed for your faith?", "If faith can truly move mountains, doesn't using RDX to massacre mere humans denote a certain lack of faith?", and "What if, just what if...after the successful completion of your suicide bombing, you discover your god doesn't exist?"

    Anime & Manga 
  • Attack on Titan: When Reiner writes into the Female Titan's hand with his blades in Episode 17
  • Bleach uses an instance that plays this trope every way simultaneously except for straight. Urahara tells Ichigo to leave his window open on the night that they leave for Soul Society, and on that night, he sends a balloon through the window, which splatters over Ichigo's wall. The liquid in the ball (which looks alarmingly like blood to Ichigo) drips down and forms a message. After the important bit of the message has been formed, it keeps on going to form a post-script: "Anyone who thinks this looks like the message of a dying man... has no sense of humor."
    • Not even five minutes later, Ichigo runs into Chad and Orihime, who mutter about the fact that "apparently [they] have no sense of humor," leaving Ichigo to think "So they got that message too..."
  • In A Certain Magical Index, Umidori Kuroyoru gets assaulted by Rensa and is left barely able to talk. She manages to warn Shiage about Rensa by writing in her own blood.
  • In Death Note, Light keeps a piece of death note paper and a pin for pricking his finger and writing in blood (couldn't fit a pen?) concealed in a secret compartment of his watch, so that he can kill someone quickly and discreetly if necessary. He first uses it to kill the third Kira when he becomes a liability rather than an asset, while L is sitting right next to him. In the final episode after getting his pen destroyed by Matsuda while trying to write down Near's name in the pages of the titular Artifact of Doom, Light continues writing with his own blood, which prompts Matsuda to blast the living snot out of him. This is actually a pretty severe "What the hell were you thinking" moment, as apparently at this point he had lost all self-control whatsoever and couldn't just calmly write down the name.
  • In Fate/Zero, a dying Risei Kotomine writes "jn424" on the floor near him, which turns out to be a coded reference to John 4:24, which helps his son inherit his Command Seals.
  • Parodied in one of the omake strips in the back of one of the Fullmetal Alchemist volumes — Roy reveals that he wants to make all the women in the military wear tiny miniskirts, but then also admits that he'd fire all of the men at the same time, which prompts them to shoot him. His last words are written in his blood on the floor next to him: "Miniski..."
    • Lest we forget, Al's blood seal? The iron in the blood made it possible to bind his soul to the armor, so even if Ed could have found a ballpoint while flailing around in a sea of his own blood, it wouldn't have worked quite as well...
    • Also the scene where, after losing his gloves and the runes inscribed on them, Roy carves his alchemical runes into his own skin.
  • In chapter 53 of Future Diary after the second Yuno is stabbed by the real Yuno, the other Yuno uses her last moments of life to write "Help Me" on the wall in her blood.
  • "Puppeteer" is written in blood by the General in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - Solid State Society after he's forced to commit suicide by the hacker.
  • In Hellsing, a pair of vampiric serial killers write blasphemous messages on the walls of their victims' homes using the victims' own blood.
    • During their first encounter with Alexander Anderson when Alucard gets pureed, his sentient blood writes a message to Seras all by itself.
  • In Part 3 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, when Kakyoin encounters Death 13 in his dream world he realizes that anything that happens to him also happens to his body in the waking world. So to help him remember that the infant child is actually Death's user, he takes a pocketknife and carves the words "BABY STAND" into his forearm. However, revealing this to the rest of the crew doesn't do him much good in convincing them that he isn't insane.
  • In the Lupin III: Part II episode "The Wolf Saw an Angel", Goemon, to prove his Implausible Fencing Powers, cuts a series of steel beams being dropped on top of him into tiny pieces. The pieces of the beams land in exactly the right way to write out Goemon's name in kanji.
  • In Macross Frontier's second movie The Wings of Goodbye, Sheryl Nome writes the lyrics to the eponymous song on her wall in her own blood.
  • While investigating the Mariage case in StrikerS Sound Stage X, one of the things found was an ancient Belka psalm painted in blood over an entire wall.
  • In Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam Enigmatic Minion Paptimus Scirocco signs a written pledge of his loyalty to Big Bad Jamitov Hyman with his own blood. Naturally, this means he eventually betrays Jamitov and usurps his position as leader of the Titans.
  • In Naruto: Jiraiya etches a dying message on a toad's back using chakra. It points to several pages of his book, Make Out Tactics, each of which has a certain word on it. When decoded, the message reveals that a seventh Pain controls the other six bodies from elsewhere.
  • Parodied by Sayo's chapter in Negima! Magister Negi Magi. Trying to calm down the panicking class after they mistook her for a malevolent ghost, Sayo wrote "It's a misunderstanding" on a window. Unfortunately, since being a ghost, the only writing material she had was blood, and "It's a misunderstanding" in katakana is the same as "Death five times", all it did was make the class panic more.
  • In Princess Tutu, Drosselmeyer is said to have written a story in his own blood after the Book Men cut off his hands. Yes, it's implied he used the stumps. And since he's capable of Rewriting Reality, he manages to bring himself back into some form of existence (and with hands) before he can bleed to death.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: Rather than die in prison, Shishio's Dragon Houji commits suicide by slitting his own throat, and, in his final moments, writes a chilling message on the cell wall with his blood:
    This world is dead to me. I will follow my master to Hell.
  • Parodied in Soul Eater. During an episode involving the entire cast taking a test, Black*Star gets caught trying to steal the answers. The teacher beats the crap out of him and hangs him on the board as a warning. Later, when Soul is getting very desperate (having had his cheat sheets taken away), he sees Black*Star writing on the board in his own blood. Cue melodramatic inner monologue about how he must be trying to save his friend in dire straits- until Soul realizes it's an autograph. He is not amused. The audience is.
  • While in Soul Eater Not! The final part of Episode 6 has the message say this "While you are sleeping. We still awake and keep watching". this is NOT for parody.
  • In one episode of the Gag Series Strike Witches 501st Joint Fighter Wing Take Off, Barkhorn murders Shirley and Hartmann with a poker. It cuts to the two of them dead on the ground with the words "Horn Gor_I_" written in blood in front of them. They're fine in the next episode.
  • Torture Princess: Fremd Torturchen: Exploited in volume 1. Kaito Sena's abusive father would carve information he wanted Kaito to remember into his skin with a knife. After he gets lost in Elisabeth's castle multiple times, he has her inscribe the floorplan into his back with a scalpel so he'll remember it—less of an issue now, since his new body is a golem made of mud and Elisabeth's own blood. He later has Elisabeth carve a facsimile of her teleportation circle into his stomach in order to bypass the Teleporter's Visualization Clause, and therefore is able to reproduce the circle from memory with his blood at the climax of volume 1.
  • The Unpopular Mangaka and the Helpful Onryo-san:
    • In the first chapter, when Senai is Compliment Fishing to the ghost about his manga, the words "IT'S THE GREATEST" appear on the wall in blood next to a handprint. 17 chapters later, the writing is still there.
    • When she helps with the beta for his manga, she uses a pen, but black blood from her eyes instead of ink.
  • Played for Laughs in an early chapter of Yu-Gi-Oh!, where Anzu uses ketchup to write "TELL AND YOU DIE" on the burgers she serves Yugi and Jonouchi (as she's afraid they'll snitch on her job to school authorities).

  • In Clinic, the old man's final nightmare has him in a cathedral-like space, surrounded by a horde of demonic doctors, surgeons, and nurses. He tries to draw a circle of protection in chalk, but when he's unable to draw on the tiled floors with chalk he resorts to biting his fingers and drawing a circle in blood.

    Comic Books 
  • In 100 Bullets, a woman writes "He's going to kill me" in her lipstick on the bathroom mirror in Wylie's gas station, referring to her husband, who she's with. (Wylie acknowledges that he received the message when he compliments the woman on her shade of lipstick.)
  • In an early Batman comic, when Linda Page is being kidnapped, she insists the kidnappers give her a moment to fix her make-up (Hey! It was the 1940s. Criminals were more polite) and writes a note for Batman in lipstick on her vanity table.
  • In The Batman Adventures #34, Catwoman, in her Selina Kyle ID, overhears Professor Hugo Strange giving directions to a cab driver and hurriedly jots the details down in lipstick on her compact mirror.
  • Batman: Black and White: In "Two of a Kind", a murderer writes a taunting message on the wall in her victim's blood.
  • Batman Vampire:
    • In Red Rain, after being slashed across the chest by Dracula, Batman uses it to his advantage to draw the image of a cross on the wall in his own blood. Dracula is left at a stalemate, both drawn to the blood and unable to approach the cross, and is ultimately forced to flee when the sun rises.
    • In Crimson Mist, after slaughtering every homicidal inmate in Arkham Asylum, Batman leaves a note to Dr. Arkham in blood. The note reads, "Go home. Your work is done."
  • Played for Laughs in Deadpool, when the title Anti-Hero meets up with Alex "Agent X" Hayden, wins their scuffle, then proceeds to write messages using his entrails. And steals Hayden's pancreas For the Lulz. Don't worry, Hayden can heal.
  • In a Futurama comic, Bender rearranges the flying cars in the sky to spell out his name.
  • Horizon: When Zhia and Mariol reach the holding cell Finn is supposed to be in, they find a message written in his blood. It's a list of names and identity codes, Zhia theorizes are meant to identify his captors.
  • In one MAD comic ("A Mad Look At..."), a dead man, having been fatally shot, used his blood to not only identify the killer (his partner), and also his motive for doing so. This is especially surprising in that "A Mad Look At..." typically has no dialogue, only Rebus Bubbles and small signs.
  • In "Calliope", The Sandman (1989) has a characteristically squicky example when Dream curses a writer with ideas. Lots of ideas. All at once. Making him try to scratch them out on the walls with his fingertips. It's hard to feel sorry for him, though, considering that he kidnapped and imprisoned the titular muse of poetry just to get ideas for stories and get rich. He also rapes her from time to time, too.
  • A writer character in Shade, the Changing Man has the ability to extract the abilities and characteristics of real people for use in his stories. When he bases one character on Lenny he takes away her unique and caustic wit, and when she realizes this she freaks out by scribbling "It just isn't funny anymore" in lipstick on the bathroom mirror before trying to kill herself.
  • Spider-Man: Carnage does this all the time, writing "CARNAGE RULES" in blood in big letters near his victims, often using his own blood when he can't use someone else's. (Spider-Man knows that he's dealing with "one sick puppy" the first time he realizes that.)
  • Done literally in the Squadron Supreme trade paperback; the first edition was printed with the cremated ashes of writer Mark Gruenwald mixed in the ink.
  • Superman:
    • In the storyline Our Worlds at War, Steel discovers that Warworld is active and in hiding, but is struck down by one of the Suicide Squad members he was partnered with. With the last of his strength, he attempts to write "Warworld" with his blood, but doesn't get far before he succumbs to his wounds. Even worse, Superman doesn't notice the message, too lost in his grief at that point.
    • In a one-shot titled Lex Luthor: The Unauthorized Biography, Sands, a hack reporter who was writing Luthor's unauthorized biography was found murdered, the letter "C" written in his blood. As it was known that Sands had heated words with Clark Kent earlier, Kent was initially a suspect in Sands' murder, until a lawyer hired by Lex Luthor provided evidence that the victim couldn't have written the "C" because the angle it was written in was wrong. At the end of the story, it was revealed (but not to the police) that Luthor had Sands killed and Kent framed, and then sent his lawyer to prove Kent's innocence. The lawyer then told Kent that Kent now owed Lex Luthor a favor.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • In Death Note: The Abridged Series (kpts4tv) when Light is killing Higuchi by writing Higuchi's name with his own blood and ends up stabbing himself repeatedly.
    Light: First I gotta get my stupid watch open. Aw, there we go...
    L: What's that, Light?
    Light: Oh I'm just excited we caught Kira is all. Hey look, they're bringing him in right now... Ow!
    L: Are you okay?
    Light: Yeah I'm fin-OW! I'm okay OW! DAMMIT!
    L: Light, do you need me to come over there?
    Light: No, no. I'm okay. I'm just so happy that it hurts. Kinda like a little prick.
  • At one point in Fallout: Equestria, Pip creates a fresh mess of blood and gore out of a pair of alicorns and considers using it to write a message for her pegasus companion who had flown ahead to do some scouting earlier. She immediately chastises herself for becoming so numb to the horrors of the wasteland that that was her first reaction to it.
  • In Guardians, Wizards, and Kung-Fu Fighters, as all of reality collapses due to Shendu destroying the Book of Ages, Jade grabs ahold of a remaining scrap and — lacking anything else to write with — chomps on her finger and uses the blood to scribble out an assurance of safety for her family and friends, thus triggering the resulting merger of universes.
  • In Hearts of Ice, the Joketsuzoku Council send their "Claim your granddaughter's husband and return to the village or else" ultimatum to Cologne written with blood to show they are deadly serious.
    Her face went ashen.
    She reached for the envelope with a trembling hand, taking quick note of the Chinese postmark, and tore it open before she could think twice about it.
    The letter was brief of necessity — written, she knew from personal experience, with the author's own blood. Her eyes took in the kanji; the meticulously painted characters, once bright, gleaming red as the brush swept across the pale parchment, now rust brown.
  • The Room 101 in Hivefled is covered on all four walls and the floor with messages carved with the prisoners' fingernails.
  • Played for Laughs in Justice. After defeating and hospitalizing Shining Knight, Zoro uses the superhero's blood to write a hint on how to become a better swordsman. When questioned on why, Zoro simply says that he didn't have anything to write with and he wasn't about to use his own blood.
  • Appears in Kingdom Hearts story I'll Never Be Enough when Cenchaze writes his goodbye (and several other notes) in his own blood.
  • Lampshaded in the Death Note fic Low Light:
    L: You can be incredibly creepy when you want to be.
    Light: Creepy?
    L: You question whether writing a message to someone in another's blood upon the floor is creepy?
    Light: I suppose you have a point there L, but it was the only writing material I knew the man would have readily available.
  • In Moratorium Harry draws anti-Apparation runes in her blood.
  • Happens in the Pony POV Series Dark World Series. While sending the murder of blackbirds that have been tormenting Derpy for the last thousand years to Ponythulhu's realm, Twilight takes time to write a letter with a blackbird pie recipe to the big guy because Ponythulhu is actually a pretty nice guy and they want to be respective to him. Since she ''literally' doesn't have a pen, she pulls one of Spike's (now a giant adult dragon's) scales off and writes the letter in her blood. Justified in this case because finding a pen in time wouldn't be possible, and Twilight has Complete Immortality and will just regenerate the lost blood.
  • Thirty Hs: Wahooley went so far as to tear off his penis just to use it as a pen, which is about par for the course in Thirty Hs.
  • Vow of Nudity: When a vindictive professor locks Spectra in an empty room to take an exam, she doesn't even leave her a quill or ink. Undeterred, Spectra shapeshifts into an aaracokra to pluck her own feather, then blackens her blood and uses it as ink to complete the test.
  • In Where Talent Goes to Die, the first victim seemingly writes the name of his killer in his own blood. However, not only is it the name of the protagonist (who's innocent), but the victim died instantly from a blow to the back of the head, and so could not have seen his attacker or written their name. It also turns out that he's left-handed, so the killer used the wrong hand to write the fall guy's name.
  • Boldores And Boomsticks: A group of Ghost-Types scare Team RWBY by writing messages in what seems to be blood but is actually raspberry jam.
  • Star Wars vs Warhammer 40K: While attempting to broker a ceasefire between the Republic and the Imperium in Season 3, Ahsoka asks Farnus — an Imperial Guardsman she took prisoner after finding him injured on the battlefield — to deliver her ceasefire terms to his commanding officer. However, Farnus initially refuses due to her message having been typed onto a Data Pad, which he and his superiors view as heretical xenotech and believe to be booby-trapped. When Farnus requests for her to instead write down her terms using pen and paper (which are rarely used in the Republic outside of museums), Ahsoka is unable to find any ink and resorts to biting into her finger and using her own blood as ink.

    Films — Animation 
  • In contrast to the rest of the entries under this folder, The Adventures of Tintin (2011) plays this rather jarringly straight when a dying Barnaby uses his own blood to highlight letters on a newspaper. Rated PG, everyone!
  • In Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, a scene involves Bruce Wayne being found after an attack by the joker with "Ha! Ha! Ha!" written on the ground in red. It was changed to purple in the censored version to avoid looking like this trope.
  • Batman: Gotham by Gaslight: Selina Kyle is wounded and running from Jack the Ripper. She uses her blood to draw a bat on a spotlight to create a makeshift Bat Signal.
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox: The evil farmers write Mr. Fox a letter in letters cut from magazines, and Mr. Fox writes his reply the same way. Both times have the recipient of the letter wondering why.
  • In The Incredibles, Gazerbeam used his laser vision to zap the word "KRONOS" into the wall of the cave he died in. Mr. Incredible finds it and eventually figures out that it's the password to the latest project that Syndrome's been planning.
  • Madagascar: The animals are stranded on a desert island and try to spell, "HELP" with fallen trees, but some of the trees fall down, leading to it reading "HELL" instead.
  • Megamind has the titular character writing notes about his plan with a jelly donut.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 10 Cloverfield Lane. Michelle has become reconciled to her confinement in the bunker until she discovers the word HELP scratched on the inside of the viewing window of a locked hatch to the outside world. She finds an earring used to make the scratches lying on the floor below, which also appears in a photograph that Howard said was of his daughter, but is actually a girl who went missing a couple of years before.
  • About Scout: Before his suicide attempt, Sam writes "SORRY" on the bathroom mirror in shaving cream, then crosses it out and writes "FUCK YOU" instead.
  • Dr. Lizardo in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension made a Room Full of Crazy by writing on the walls with... chalk? Charcoal?
  • Alien 40th Anniversary Shorts. In "Containment", a women is trapped in an Escape Pod with a Xenomorph, so she writes DO NOT OPEN in blood on the inspection window of the airlock, as another spaceship has just docked with them.
  • In Art of the Dead, the prostitute Louis hires to be his subject (and his canvas) opens her eyes to discover that Louis has pained vile epithets over her body in his own blood (and backwards, so she can read them in a mirror).
  • The Awful Dr. Orloff: After encountering Dr. Orloff, Wanda writes a note for Inspector Tanner with her lipstick and gives it to the flower seller to deliver.
  • By Hook or By Crook: In the mental institution where Val is sent after being arrested, someone has scrawled "LONELY IS THE HUNTER" on the walls in blood.
  • In Charade, a knot of conspirators are dying off one by one - James Coburn's character is found with hands and feet bound to furniture legs and a plastic bag over his head - he used his finger to spell his killer's name in the carpet.
  • Clown Motel: After spending the night at the titular motel, the group finds that someone wrote "Enjoy The Show" on the hotel room window in blood.
  • Done by Father Hennesey in Constantine (2005), using a corkscrew as a pen and his own hand as paper.
  • In Curse of the Crimson Altar, Peter signs Lavinia's book in blood. According to Professor Walsh, this is a step there is no coming back from.
  • The Dark Tower (2017). Walter burns Jake's mother in their own home, and draws a smiley face and taunting message on the wall using her ashes.
  • Dead in Tombstone: As Guerrero kills each of the gang and places their bodies in coffins outside the church, he pins a page of the bible to their chest with a knife and writes their number on it in blood.
  • Richard from Dead Man's Shoes uses his first victim's blood to write the words "One Down" on a wall, after murdering said victim with an axe.
  • In the aftermath of the insanely violent kung-fu film, Delightful Forest, which culminates with the hero Wu Song slaughtering the villains' entire army of guards and the three main villains in a six-minute-long uninterrupted massacre, after killing everyone he then wrote "Wu Song is the Murderer" with his own blood on a wall before leaving the city to become a monk and hermit.
  • In D-Tox, the Cop Killer writes 'ICU' in blood on the cheek of the body he leaves behind when he fakes his death.
  • The Duellists. The protagonist's girlfriend writes 'Goodbye' on his sabre in lipstick when she leaves him. The lipstick is blood-red, which is appropriate given he was about to fight a Duel to the Death.
  • A note written in blood in left pinned the wall of Joe's sauna with a knife in Fear, Inc..
  • Frankenstein Created Woman: After being mortally wounded, Karl writes the name of the killer on the floor of the café in his own blood. Of course, the name he writes is that of a man who has been dead for weeks.
  • In Ghost Town (1988), Langley and Kate find the body of the priest inside the church. He used his dying strength to write "EVIL FINDS NO SANCTUARY HERE" in the dust on the wall with his finger. Kate does not find this comforting.
  • In God Told Me To, a drug dealer kills a Dirty Cop who didn't respect his orders, then uses the knife to paint "GOD" on the wall so people will think it's another random, religiously-motivated killing.
  • In The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery, a drunk Ann goes to the Southwest Bank at night and writes a warning about the impending robbery on its window in lipstick.
  • Guns, Girls and Gambling: After killing Elvis Elvis and The College kid, The Blonde leaves a message for The Chief and The Rancher written in their blood on a roll of toilet paper which she drapes across their bodies.
  • In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the Heir of Slytherin wrote their threatening messages on the walls in blood. In the book, they just used paint.
    First Message: (Harry, Ron and Hermione find the petrified Mrs. Norris) The Chamber of Secrets has been opened. Enemies of the Heir, beware.
    Second Message: (Harry and Ron find out Ginny has been abducted by the Heir) Her skeleton will lie in the chamber forever.
  • As Detective McCarthy searches for Jenke in the opening flashback of The Horror Show, he comes across of one cop's severed head placed on a table with "blue platter special" written in blood on a wall next to it.
  • John Wick: Chapter 2. The Marker's Blood Oath is sealed with a bloody thumbprint pressed against one half of an interior compartment. There's even a short spike on top to prick thy thumb. The holder of the Marker adds his thumbprint on the other half once the contract has been fulfilled, showing the Marker is void.
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959): Explorer Arne Saknussem leaves a message in blood on a plumb bob which — encased in a lump of volcanic rock — is retrieved centuries later by the protagonists, sending them on their journey into the Hollow Earth.
  • Played for Laughs in the Hong Kong comedy Justice My Foot. Stephen Chow plays the protagonist Sung Sai Kit, a cunning lawyer who wins via clever ploys and his wits (seriously, he wouldn't be out of place in the Ace Attorney universe). Jailed towards the end of the movie, he has to get the attention of the high magistrate, and as he is in prison, has no access to brush and ink. He writes a message in blood on a fan... by biting the finger of the man who presents the fan to him as evidence of innocence in a previous incident, and using said finger as a brush instead of biting himself, as is expected by Asian sensibilities.
  • Another variation in The Killing Room (2009). Several people are locked in a white-painted room and forced to take part in a lethal Mind Control experiment. One of them finds what appears to be a message from the previous occupants scratched into the wall. The words have been painted over, so they take the blood from a member of their group who has already been killed and smear it on the walls to make out the words. A cut later there's blood smears all around the room, showing they're just the latest of many victims. Turns out the words have been put there deliberately by the researchers, so having to use blood to see them is likely a deliberate Mind Screw.
  • In Kung Fu Hustle, Sing has been beaten to a pulp. The Landlord and Landlady, thinking he's dying, ask if he has a last request. He draws a lollipop with his blood before passing out. The two complain he should have written out the request because they have no idea what he drew.
  • Miss Froy in The Lady Vanishes writes her name with condensation on the train window. When the heroine sees it again, it confirms to her that she's not crazy and something is amiss.
  • A variation in The Last Witch Hunter, as 36th Dolan leaves his final message to Kaulder by marking proper words in his journal with his own blood.
  • In Lemon Tree Passage, the ghost writes "FIND HIM OR I WILL" on the kitchen wall in blood.
  • In The Locals, Paul leaves a message for Grant written on the window of the car with Lisa's lipstick.
  • In The Loft, a message in Sarah's blood is written on the headboard of the bed: the Latin phrase "fatum nos iungebit" (intended to be Latin for "fate will unite us"):
    Chris Vanowen: "fatum nos iungebit" is wrong.
    Detective Cohagan: How so, doctor?
    Chris Vanowen: The future imperfect tense of the verb unite, iungere, is not iungebit. It's iunget. It should say "fatum nos iunget." So the person you're looking for made a classic Latin error. But I'm guessing you knew that already, too, didn't you?
  • At one point in Mad Max: Fury Road, Max can be seen using his blood to draw a map.
  • Averted in Memento where the main character is stuck without a pen and desperately needs to write something, but doesn't manage to find a workable substitute. However he does tattoo himself as a way to remind himself of important information.
  • Midnight Movie: While in the asylum, Radford bites into his wrist and tears out a chunk of flesh, and then starts scrawling on the floor in his own blood.
  • Mystery Date (1991): The man in the upstairs room of Club Voltaire scrawls two clues in his own blood on the wall.
  • A variation in Abel Gance's Napoléon. Marceau does have a pen and paper but there is no ink, so he pricks his wrist and signs the army register with his blood.
  • In the beginning of National Treasure, Ben Gates cuts his thumb with a knife and rubs the ensuing blood over an etched pipe, using it to print out a hidden message onto his notebook.
  • The Night Flier: The vampire writes a message in blood on Richard Dees's motel room window: "STAY AWAY". Dees doesn't listen.
  • Outpost. After the first two mercenaries die, Prior heads out of the bunker with a bed sheet marked "5" to tell the undead Nazis just how many are left, then tells them to "bring it on". When they kill Mac, the Nazis then respond in kind by tying his corpse to the post, with a "4" carved into his chest.
  • In Patton, General Montgomery is chatting with another British officer in the bathroom, and uses condensation on the mirror to sketch out a plan for invading Sicily.
  • Pig Hunt: The hippie stranger smears blood on the window of Ben's SUV at the gas station and draws a smiley face in it. Later, when John and his friends arrive at his late uncle's ranch, someone has written messages on the walls (including "FALSE FLAG") in what might be blood.
  • In Quills, the Marquis De Sade has his writing equipment confiscated and resorts to writing on his clothes, first using red wine and eventually bodily fluids.
  • In Razors: The Return of Jack the Ripper, the Ripper leaves messages written in blood upon the wall.
  • Resurrection (1999): Subverted. The cops find a message left behind by the killer at his first murder site written on the window in blood: HE IS COMING. However, lab tests show it to be lamb's blood.
  • Ripper: Letter from Hell: The killer leaves a messaged scrawled in blood at the scene of Marissa's murder. The M.O. is later repeated at the murder of Andrea.
  • Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace: Trapped in a secret room and dying, Blackburn uses his wedding ring to scratch the letters 'M O R' on the wall as a Dying Message.
  • The Shaggy Dog: When the protagonist is trying to convince his children that he's still their dad once he gets turned into a dog, he tries to spell, "I AM DAD" with Scrabble letters. However, he cannot find a second "D".
  • In Sisters, the dying man crawls to an open window, and writes "HELP" with his bloody finger, one of the few practical examples of writing something in blood in all of filmdom, as someone does actually see him do it—and there was a possibility at that point that he might not have died if he'd gotten the attention of someone a little more quick-thinking. By the time she figures out which apartment he's in, someone has managed to finish him off, hide the body, and clean up.
  • In Slaxx, the ghost of Keerat, who is possessing a store mannequin, uses a bloody severed hand to communicate with Libby and Shruti by writing on the walls. Since she's writing in Hindi, Shruti has to translate.
  • In Sleepy Hollow High, while Justin is undergoing Unwilling Suspension, Bobbi writes the word 'SNITCH' on his chest in chocolate syrup so it will attract rats.
  • Snuff Movie, the original murderers wrote messages in Mary's blood on the walls after they killed her. Boris Arkadin recreates this detail in his Snuff Film.
  • Soldier of Orange: When Erik is arrested by the Germans and put in prison, he writes a letter to the warden asking for his release using toilet paper and his own excrement. The Germans are not amused.
    Warden: Man, have you gone mad?!
    Erik: I didn't have a pen.
  • Sorority Row: When Cassie explores the old mine shaft, she finds the blanket Megan's body had been wrapped in, but no sign of the body. Written on the wall in blood are the words "THETA PI MUST DIE".
  • Split Second (1992): The monster leaves behind a taunting message for Stone after brutally murdering a woman in a bathroom stall, written on the mirror in her blood: "I'M BACK".
  • Tales from the Crypt: At the end of "Poetic Justice", Edward Elliot finds his son James' body slumped over his desk. In front of him is a sheet of paper with a mocking poem on it written in James' blood. And the paper is wrapped around James' heart.
  • In the 1932 film Three on a Match, Vivian scrawls a message in lipstick on her nightgown and throws herself out the window of the fourth-floor apartment where she and her son are being held, alerting the authorities and saving her son's life at the cost of her own.
  • In Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen, Sam starts having a mental breakdown in the middle of a frat party, and in order to get the symbols out of his mind, he starts drawing them on the table... with cake frosting.
  • Downey in Triangle, after getting his throat slashed, lives long enough to attempt to scrawl the name of his killer on the mirror in his own blood, but dies partway through.
  • The Tripper: When Samantha finds the naked bodies of her fiends in the van, the killer has written 'JUST SAY NO' across the corpses. The words 'JUST SAY' have been carved into two of the bodies while 'NO' has been written in blood on a third.
  • The Untouchables (1987): After murdering Oscar Wallace and George the Bookkeeper in an elevator, Frank Nitti uses their blood to write the word "TOUCHABLE" on the wall.
  • Welcome to the Punch (2013). A female detective has a habit of writing notes on her hand, instead of taking out a notebook. When the protagonist finds her dead at the morgue, the final vital clue is there for him to act on.
  • In When the Bough Breaks (1994), Jordan borrows Macleah's lipstick to write "Two Rivers" on the wall of his Room Full of Crazy. Two Rivers turns out to be the killer's hometown.
  • In While the City Sleeps the killer writes "Ask Mother" on the victim's wall in lipstick.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit has two versions of this trope using the same sheet of paper! Roger's alibi for murder is that he was writing a letter to his wife with her lipstick on a "nice, clean, sheet of paper" which turns out to be Marvin Acme's will (the MacGuffin of the movie), which has been written in ACME's Disappearing-Reappearing Ink.
  • In Wild America, the Stouffers come back to their car to find one of the windows smashed, everything except the camera and film gone, and "THANKS" written in the frost on the windshield.
  • In Wild in the Streets, one of Max's first acts of teen rebellion is writing "MAMA PAPA SCREW OFF ME" in lipstick on a mirror.

  • According to a legend that arose soon after his death, Domenican friar and Inquisitor Peter of Verona (canonized as Saint Petrus Martyr) wrote "credo" on the ground in his own blood while dying when he was murdered by Cathars in a forest near Milano in 1252.

  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer: Tom and Huck Finn swear an oath to not talk about seeing Injun Joe murder Dr. Robinson. They write the oath on a shingle and sign it in their own blood.
  • Discussed and averted in The Belgariad. When the party finds themselves in such a situation, Polgara has a quill, ink, parchment, etc. ready to hand. She explains that on a past occasion, she found herself needing to leave a note without the necessary implements, and ended up using her own blood to write the message. Following the event, she took steps to make sure it wouldn't happen again. Alas, this incident never appears in Polgara's autobiographical prequel, so we get no answers to such questions as why a sorcerer couldn't just create writing materials out of thin air. (Some enemies' Supernatural Sensitivity might be one reason, but we just don't know.)
  • The Books of the Order: In Geist, the protagonist's sidekick discovers a rune written with blood while looking for a missing person. Apparently, the blood wouldn't have been strictly needed, so it was a case of the missing person not being able to get a pen.
  • In A Brother's Price, Jerin was burning a letter when people came through secret passages and abducted him. He struggled for long enough to be able to write one three-letter word in soot before they hauled him away, the name of the one he thought responsible. Many characters in that world are illiterate, and they didn't have time to clean up as his bodyguards were trying to break through his locked door.
  • Chanur Novels: In The Pride of Chanur, Tully writes out some First-Contact Math in his own blood on the deck of the Pride after forcing his way onboard. Pyanfar had already pretty much rejected the theory that he was some kind of escaped exotic pet, but this evidence of a writing system clinches it.
  • In Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the children are prisoners of the mob, and are forced to write a message for help by pricking pinholes into a large-denomination franc bill.
  • The Banjo Paterson poem "Clancy of the Overflow" contains this line (known to all Australian school children):
    "And an answer came directed in a writing unexpected
    (And I think the same was written with a thumb-nail dipped in tar)"
  • Dead Silence has several, most notably "I'm sorry" written outside a barricaded cabin.
  • One of the villains in The Court of the Air is fatally impaled during a sword fight in an open snowy field, by a fugitive he knows has been living under a false name. As he's dying, he tries to password of his foe's hidden identity using his own blood to write it down. In this case, the Dying Clue aspect of this trope is subverted, because the snow he writes the man's secret down on melts before his body can be found.
  • The Da Vinci Code does this in the first chapter. Though he only used the blood to make the police use ultraviolet lamps. He did have and use a pen, but one with invisible ink (except in UV). Possibly includes a Shout-Out to Monty Python and the Holy Grail:
    Sophie: Why would a dying man bother to write out "P.S.", Mr. Langdon?
  • Subverted in Death on the Nile: a murdered woman uses her own blood to trace a letter on the wall, presumably the first of her assassin's name. This doesn't work because Poirot, Race, and Dr. Bessner are all smart enough to know the victim would have died instantly and couldn't have written anything after being shot. The only reaction it produces is a snarky comment from Poirot that killer is apparently a fan of old-fashioned melodramas. It later turns out that the killer wrote the letter. In a double-twist on this trope, it was written to implicate one of the people actually directly involved in the murder, in an attempt to make it look like another party was trying to frame her.
  • This happens repeatedly in Discworld:
    • In Moving Pictures (Discworld), CMOT Dibbler tries to write down an idea for a film that came to him in a dream on his bedsheets; he runs out of bedsheet and starts writing on a wall, which he then pays a troll to carry around for him.
    • The same thing happens in Thief of Time, when Jeremy gets the idea for the Glass Clock in a dream and ends up writing the specifications for it all over his bedsheets and part of the wall.
    • In Men at Arms, Detritus, a troll, is trapped in a freezer, and the cold temperature brings his brain to peak efficiency. Unfortunately, this also means he's probably going to freeze to death, so as he gets smarter (and closer to death), he starts writing a mathematical grand unified theory of everything in the frost on the walls. He gets up to the = sign when he freezes up completely; when he's rescued, the heat from opening the door causes the rest of the equation to melt away.
    • In Thud!, a dying dwarf miner uses the last of his strength to scrawl a cursed mine symbol onto the door he was trapped behind in his own blood.
  • In The Dreams in the Witch House, Walter Gilman refuses to sign the book of Azathoth in his own blood.
  • In the Brazilian book A Droga da Obediência, one of the protagonists is captured inside the school. Just before being dragged out of the place, he asks his kidnapper to go to the bathroom, and uses the contents of a toilet to write a Morse code message to his friends.
  • Eighth Doctor Adventures: In the two-novel story Interference, the Doctor winds up using his own blood to cover the floor of his cell with arcane mathematical formulae.
  • The Faerie Queene: Fidessa's holy book is said to be written in blood, a reference to the bloody death of Jesus on the cross.
  • Frog and Toad: In one story, Toad loses his to-do list and the only item he can remember is "Go to sleep". So, he writes on the ground with a stick, "Go to sleep" and then at bedtime, he crosses it out.
  • The Ganymede Takeover: Gus Swenesgard sends one of his minions to contact the Black Muslim resistance to offer a We Can Rule Together deal. They dump his naked corpse back in Gus's territory with the words WE DON'T NEED YOU, WHITE MAN carved on his back with lasers.
  • In The Girl from the Well, Yukiko Uchiyama's ghost has scrawled phrases in blood on the walls of her house.
  • In the Robert A. Heinlein short story "Goldfish Bowl" the protagonist is captured by aliens. He repeatedly scratches himself to make scars and form a message on his skin.
  • Played with in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Harry is forced to do lines as punishment for telling the truth about Voldemort and is given a pen with no ink. He starts writing, and the message comes out carved across the back of his hand.
  • In Hours (2012), the ninth class to inherit the secret gymnasium discovered that the 8th class had stolen all the markers out of the gym. Since the scanner at the door prevents anybody from bringing foreign objects into the gym, the ninth class had to write the rules to their game using blood. The tenth class avoids this by writing their rules using the poison ink secreted from a plant Alexis grows.
  • In If I Fall, If I Die, the missing boy Marcus sends his friend Jonah a note written in blood on birch bark, which Jonah calls "typical Marcus."
  • IT has several examples, most but not all from Pennywise.
    • First (chronically), after killing Patrick Hockstetter, Pennywise uses his blood to leave a message for the Losers: "STOP NOW BEFORE I KILL YOU ALL/A WORD TO THE WISE FROM YOUR FRIEND/PENNYWISE".
    • When Pennywise begins killing again in the 80's, Mike initially delays in calling the others back. To motivate him into doing so, Pennywise finally writes "COME HOME COME HOME COME HOME" with the blood of his ninth victim.
    • Finally Stanley Uris, one of the protagonists, commits suicide in his bathtub because he doesn't want to go back to Derry to face It again. When his wife finds him, she finds that he's written the single word "IT" on the bathroom wall in his own blood.
  • In Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Childermass briefly attempts to copy the Book of the Raven King, which had been written as blue discoloration on a man's skin, onto his own flesh. He quickly gives up for some of the many, many reasons no one should ever even try to copy out something in a language they don't know onto their skin, with a penknife, all alone in a cold and isolated area, when the book covered the man's entire body except for groin, face and hands, and for all he knows size and placement of the marks is vital.
  • In the Known Space book The Patchwork Girl the victim leaves "NAKF" written in his own blood on the rocks of the lunar surface. He was trying to write "NAKED", indicating that his killer was naked: i.e., not wearing a space suit, which is quite a trick out on the surface of the moon.
  • In one of the Lovejoy novels, Lovejoy writes a note using his own urine as invisible ink.
  • In The Laundry Files, the Official Secrets Act and other non-disclosure agreements have to be signed in blood — a sterile lancet or disposable needle and Sharps container are thoughtfully provided.
  • Happens in the first book of the Lionboy trilogy: Charlie's mother grazes her leg when she falls off a ladder, but before bandaging the wound she asks Charlie to bring her a pen. Charlie brings her an old fashioned nib pen and ink, but she ignores the ink in favor of dipping the pen in her blood to write a mysterious note.
  • In the Mageworlds novel Starpilots Grave, a Magelord is revealed to have cut the throats of those piloting the warship he was riding and used their blood to write a cryptic note to an "Adept from the Forest World" on the windscreen before emptying the craft to vacuum, swiping a scout-craft, and setting it adrift on a sub-light trajectory which would bring it to the attention of the recipient some five centuries after the fact... and a few months after the death of said Magelord.
  • In Mr. Bean's Scrapbook, the in-universe tie-in for the film Bean, a running gag is that Mr Bean keeps having to switch to new ways of writing: first his typewriter breaks, then his "borrowed" word processor is taken back, then he resorts to using a child's printing kit which takes three hours to lay a (mostly backward) sentence, then a pen which runs out, a crayon and a pencil which break, and finally he ends up using his own blood to refill the pen.
  • In Mr Meesons Will by H. Rider Haggard, a dying millionaire trapped on a desert island has his will tattooed on the back of a fellow castaway.
  • In New Moan, this trope is played with. Teddy gives Heffa a note, written in some red substance. Heffa asks if it's blood, to which Teddy replies that blood is useless as ink since it clots too quickly, and it's just normal red ink.
  • In the No, David book "It's Christmas, David", David pees his name in the snow.
  • Olga Da Polga: When Olga (a guinea pig) doesn't want to be renamed, she writes her name on the floor of her cage by walking through the bedding.
  • Paradox Trilogy: In the third book, Heaven's Queen, Maat writes out a message for Devi using Devi's own blood while Devi is unconscious.
  • In the Red Dwarf book Better Than Life, the crew get stuck in a virtual reality game and the only way to communicate with them is by carving messages into their arms.
  • Older Than Print: Writing an important letter in blood (complete with dramatic biting of the finger) is a great way to get across that your message is Top Priority. (That might be why in China, the Emperor gets to use red ink.) One such message is written in Romance of the Three Kingdoms in an attempt to get rid of Cao Cao; the note is found, and all of the signatories end up being fugitives of the government. Coincidentally, one of Cao Cao's descendants would write a similar letter against Sima Shi, with similar results.
  • In a Sam Pig story, Sam tries to convince the farmer to take him to the circus by writing, "CIRCUS" all over the farm in random objects.
  • In the Ellery Queen novel The Scarlet Letters, a dying man uses his own blood to write XY on a wall in an extremely cryptic Dying Clue.
  • Sienkiewicz Trilogy: In The Deluge, Kmicic writes a letter with his own blood to make sure the other party knows he is not lying. He uses a quill for writing, so technically, not a pen.
  • Skippy Dies: A variant. Skippy is dying on the floor of a doughnut shop, and scrawls a message on the floor in jelly from a doughnut: "Tell Lori". He dies before he can finish the message.
  • In Something Wicked, a murder mystery based on Macbeth, Duncan is found dead with "Malcolm" written on the wall of his tent in blood, which seems to implicate his son... except the hero realizes that everyone, including Duncan, called his son Mal, and it's unlikely that a dying man would have bothered with the extra letters. It turns out to be a frame-up by the real killer.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • People who join the Second Sons traditionally sign in blood. They abandoned this tradition some time ago and started using red ink instead, because blood makes terrible ink. When he joins the company, Tyrion mixes some of his blood into the ink he signs with.
    • Stannis Baratheon uses his own blood to sign an accord with the Iron Bank of Braavos, because his ink has frozen.
  • Special Circumstances: The demon summoned by David Krake in the second part of Princess of Wands uses the blood of some of his victims to continue the runes that his summoner wasn't able to finish after taking three arrows to the head.
  • The Squire's Tales: Gawain writes Griflet la Fise du Dieu, Hero of England in his own blood on a discarded shield as a makeshift headstone after Griflet's heroic death.
  • A Study in Emerald has the two main detectives (not Watson and Holmes) called to the murder of the nephew of Queen Victoria (actually one of the Great Old Ones). They find the word "Rache" written on the wall in blood. Green blood.
  • In A Study in Scarlet, Sherlock Holmes finds 'Rache' written on the wall in blood. Lestrade wrongly concludes that a woman called Rachel is involved, and the victim died before finishing the name. Rache is German for revenge, and the murderer who was American intended for the police to believe it was committed by a German. Holmes wasn't fooled when he noticed that too much effort went into making the handwriting look German. The blood is also not from the victim, but from the murderer whose nose bled because of the excitement.
  • In Switch, the sequel to Savvy, Tucker pretends he has to pee as an excuse. The cop discusses this trope by telling him to "write [his] name in the snow".
  • Tempest (2011): In Tempest Unleashed, Tiamat's goons kill most of the selkie royal family, kidnap Kona, and leave a note on the mirror in his blood that says, "The new selkie king requests your presence at the Sahul Shelf."
  • Thicker Than Water has Felix called out to a crime scene where his name is written in the blood. Lampshaded in narration: "The words 'Use a pen, Sideshow Bob' flitted incongruously through my brain."
  • The Thinking Machine: In "The Problem of Cell 13", Van Dusen manages to send messages from inside the condemned cell by scraping shoe polish off his shoes to use as ink and using the metal aglets of his shoelaces as a stylus.
  • In Twelve Days, a waitress who flirts with Terry leaves her number in pink lipstick on his napkin.
  • And in the unrelated Vampire: The Masquerade story "Scarlet Letters," a girl cuts her own throat and uses the runoff to start writing poetry on the wall while she's bleeding to death.
  • In Watchers of the Throne, Aleya finds a last message left behind by her convent's now-dead astropath, summoning the surviving Sisters of Silence to Terra, scribbled on the door in blood.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In 2point4 Children Ben witnesses a hit-and-run and rushes into the kitchen shouting the car's registration number (license plate) over and over so he won't forget it. Not having a pen, Bill writes the number on a cucumber with a tube of mustard.
  • Angel:
    • This trope was used a lot for ghosts. In "Rm w/a Vu", a malevolent spirit wrote messages on the walls of Cordelia's apartment, and in "Hell Bound", it was the messages in the condensation of Fred's shower door.
    • Legal documents at Wolfram & Hart are shown being signed in blood.
  • Arrow: In "The Thanatos Guild", Malcolm Merlyn has left a map for his daughter Thea that can only be revealed when the DNA from her blood interacts with the bacteria used to imprint the map.
  • In the Babylon 5 episode "Passing Through Gethsemane", this trope is subverted and played straight; one of the monks, Brother Edward, sees "Death Walks Among You" written in blood on the wall, but that one turns out to be just a compound that looks like blood, then vanishes after a couple hours so people think he was hallucinating. The monk is a former Serial Killer who was subjected to a mind wipe, and a telepath was hired by families of his victims to break the programming before they took revenge. The straight use of the trope should be fairly obvious: at the scenes of his crimes, he actually did write "Death Walks Among You" in the victim's blood on the wall.
  • From Becker: "Look, writing your name in the snow with your pee is good drunken fun when your name is something like Joe Smith. But, when your name is Stanislav Kasacinski and it's ten below out, you're just frostbite waiting to happen."
  • From a deleted scene of Being Human (UK):
    [the two see "Get Out!" written in red on the wall]]
    Mitchell: Oh, shit!
    George: Shit! What is it, blood?
    Mitchell: Paint, and it's still wet. Tch. Blood. You ever try writing anything in blood? It's totally impractical.
  • Blackadder: "I'm sending off some party invitations and to make them look particularly tough, I wish to write them in blood. Your blood, to be precise."
  • Blake's 7: "Mission to Destiny" was an "old-fashioned" whodunnit on a spaceship. One member of the crew was found dead with the cryptic message 54124 written in blood beside him. Avon reasons that "When you are dying, it is difficult to be neat", and announces that the guilty party is a suspect whose name is SARA.
  • The Bletchley Circle: While marking out the train routes in the first series, the girls use Millie's lipstick to trace the lines.
  • A sketch on Blue Collar TV had Larry the Cable Guy calling Information for the number to 911 and, not having a pen, bit the tip off a strawberry to write it on the wall.
  • In an episode of Bones, Bones was being framed for the murder of a friend incarcerated in a mental hospital. It eventually turned out that the victim had left a long and complex clue by writing in his own saliva which only showed up under a blacklight when Hodgins and Cam search his room looking for a clue in a triangle.
  • The Slasher Movie episode of Boy Meets World, "And Then There Was Shawn". However, in this case, it's "couldn't find chalk" due to the gang ending up in detention after school. The message that appears on the blackboard reads "NO ONE GETS OUT ALIVE!"
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In "Innocence", after Angelus kills Jenny's uncle the day he had sex with Buffy, he writes a message to Buffy on the wall — "Was It Good For You Too?" in the victim's blood.
    • In "Conversations With Dead People", Dawn sees what appears to be her mother, and the incredibly creepy words 'Mother's milk is red today' appear on the wall. Unlike in the first example, this blood was red not brown. Because Rustproof Blood was averted in the first instance, it can be assumed that this blood is actually meant to be fresh.
  • Castle:
    • An episode starts out with a murder victim who wrote "LIE" on the ground with her blood as she lay dying. Turns out they were looking at it upside-down: it was actually the number "317".
    • Another episode had "Murdere" written in the victim's blood on a mirror. For a while Castle muses that it implies the killer is foreign "Murdere, he's French! Murdero, he's Spanish!" (The final letter wasn't very clear and could have been E or O.) It was written by one of the two (yes, two separate) killers in an attempt to frame an extreme animal rights group that had been protesting the victim's company for animal testing.
  • In the Charmed (1998) episode "The Power of Three Blondes", the Halliwell Sisters are replaced by three evil blonde impostors who are all Brainless Beauties. While impersonating Phoebe, Mitzy Stillman gives Phoebe's newspaper-editor a report written in eyeliner (she was intentionally trying to get Phoebe in trouble with her boss). When explaining why it's written in eyeliner, Mitzy claims that, you guessed it, "I couldn't find a pen."
  • CSI:
    • In "Passed Pawns, the Victim of the Week uses his dying strength to write the letters 'D E' in his own blood on the floor of the alley.
    • In "CSI Unplugged", the kidnapper leaves a note saying "WE HAVE HARPER" written in blood.
    • In "There's the Rub", the Victim of the Week was Locked in a Freezer and tried to leave a Dying Clue by writing on the glass with cooking oil.
  • CSI: NY did a variant where the victim didn't write the message - it was written by the killer in an attempt to implicate someone else.
  • Death in Paradise:
    • In "A Murder on the Plantation", the Victim of the Week is hit with a machete and uses his dying strength to write the letters ' J O H' in his own blood.
    • In "La Murder Le Diablé", the killer leaves a message written at both crimes scenes using a lipstick taken from the first victim.
  • Dinosaurs: In "Nature Calls", when Earl and Fran are spelling out words so that Baby won't understand, Baby writes, "THEY THINK I CAN'T SPELL" with his alphabet blocks.
  • Doctor Who is a fan of this trope, as well.
    • A variation of this trope appears in "The Invasion". One of the characters in the story has the habit of scribbling notes on her apartment walls using the irrefutable logic, "You can lose a piece of paper, but you can't lose a wall."
      • However this backfires in "The Dalek Invasion of Earth". Someone writes a message for the Doctor on the back of a door, which he doesn't see because he opens the door (so the message is hidden against the wall) and doesn't close it until he leaves, when only the audience can see it.
    • River Song, in particular, once used a blowtorch to write "Hello Sweetie" in old high Gallifreyan on a starship's black box to be found by the Doctor 12,000 years later. She also carved a message on the diamond cliffs of planet One, making it the oldest written words in the history of the universe, because the Doctor wouldn't answer his phone.
    • Amy and Rory use a car to make a Crop Circle reading "DOCTOR" in order to get his attention in "Let's Kill Hitler".
    • "The Day of the Doctor". The War Doctor blasts his NO MORE message into a wall using a laser gun he borrows from a Gallifreyan soldier.
  • Drop the Dead Donkey. Seen during Globelink's so-called 'reenactment' of a post office robbery that (thanks to Gus Hedges desire to recreate Reservoir Dogs instead) gets played for Bloody Hilarious fanservice, including a shotgunned postal worker scrawling I LUV YOU MUM on the wall as he dies.
  • An arc of Earth: Final Conflict had an prison inmate who drew alien symbols on his cell with his own blood. They were of huge importance for the resistance, as they knew hardly anything about the Commonality at the time.
  • In Elementary, a shooting victim uses his blood to write a message that the shooter was not his estranged brother, to keep the brother from being a suspect. Other characters point out that given that he took the time to write in his blood, the message is genuine. The estranged brother is the one who points out, quietly and privately, that since the victim was shot in the back, they couldn't actually have been completely certain that it wasn't him.
  • John Crichton in Farscape lured Scorpius into a trap by using the complex-looking equations for wormhole navigation written in blood on the floor of the holding cell. It was rather obviously ketchup.
    • Bonus points for not only hiding the key piece of the equation under his foot, so Scorpy had to come in to get it, but threatening to wash the whole thing away in his own blood if Scorpy didn't.
  • On FlashForward, when Lloyd Simcoe is kidnapped by Flosso, he tries to write a note like this, using his blood as ink and a flyer for paper. It's blown away though, and only found after he's rescued.
  • There's an episode of Friends where Phoebe writes a phone message on the back of Chandler's neck.
    "Get the woman a pad! A PAD!"
  • Funky Squad: In "The Carnival is Over", Cassie comes out of the shower and finds the threatening message "HERE I AM" scrawled on her bathroom mirror in lipstick.
  • The Goes Wrong Show: As part of the performance of The Lodge, a bloody message appears on the wall. As with most plays by Cornley, there is an error: Expect More Boides.
  • In the Haven episode "Real Estate", an evil house kills a woman, and her dripping blood spells out, "This is your fault."
  • Human Giant has a Paul killing a someone and writing a message on the wall... Turns out that it's a reminder for Aziz's dentist appointment.
    Aziz: (looking at a pile of corpses) Man, we really need to get a marker board or something. This is gettin out of hand.
  • While trying to run away from El internado: Las Cumbres, a Boarding School of Horrors, Manu is knocked out and abducted by a mysterious figure. He wakes up in a white cell, with nobody responding to his cries for help or demands for explanation. At one point, he slashes his wrists with a sharpened piece of metal and uses his blood to write "MOTHERFUCKERS"note  on the floor.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022):
    • "...After the Phantoms of Your Former Self": Lestat de Lioncourt scratches his own index finger and uses his own blood to mark the places on his Don Pasquale music sheets where the tenor sings off-key.
    • "The Thing Lay Still": Claudia jots down in her journal Lestat's final words ("Mets-moi dans mon cercueil, Louis, Louis" note ) with his blood by dipping her pen into a wound on his neck.
  • Played for laughs in this comedy sketch by Jinnai Tomonori.
  • Jonathan Creek used the contract-signed-in-blood version in the season three episode "The Curious Tale of Mr Spearfish".
  • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid: In the Kamen Sentai Gorider special, Emu finds a sequence of numbers written in blood on a broken piece of mirror. It's later revealed that it was written by Emu himself, since he's trapped in a "Groundhog Day" Loop and tried to leave himself a message after he'd been fatally stabbed by the Big Bad; the numbers use Goroawase to reveal the villain's true identity.
  • An episode of the Live-action Largo Winch shows a woman joining a group of villains, and signing her name with her own blood.
  • Law & Order: Criminal Intent: In "Three-In-One", the killer, who suffers from dissociative identity disorder, paints on the wall in his victims' blood, and one of his personalities writes messages asking for help.
  • Little Britain: Played with in the narration by Tom Baker. "I'd love to write a book, but unfortunately I don't have a pen."
  • Luther: A Satanist killer abducts a woman from her home and leaves the corridor leading from the front door covered in words written in blood such as DO NOT FEAR THE ABYSS, I AM THE ABYSS. Likely a deliberate use of the trope to add to his reputation and creep people out. Also a deliberate taunt to the police, as the blood had been kept frozen from a murder the police had been unable to pin on him years before.
  • The Mentalist has the main bad guy, Red John, write a symbol on the wall with his victim's blood, which drove the main character to work with the police to try to catch Red John.
  • Midsomer Murders: In "Send in the Clowns", several suspects receive threatening notes (one of them delivered by a brick through the window) written in pig's blood.
  • Mission: Impossible: In "Command Performance", a thief dying in a church writes "1769" on the floor in his own blood as a clue to the location of his stolen loot.
  • Subverted in an episode of Monk: Sharona finds a message scrawled in red on a wall... but it turns out that it's just lipstick. Her lipstick.
  • Murdoch Mysteries:
    • In "Bad Medicine", the Victim of the Week writes the letters "W Y" in his own blood on a rock after he is shot in the back with an arrow.
    • In "Snakes and Ladders", the killer writes the words "TRY TO STOP ME" in his victim's blood at the sites where he dumps their bodies.
    • In "The Murdoch Appreciation Society", Murdoch uses his ultraviolet light to check for blood stains at a scene and finds the phrase "BLUE SKY" also written in blood.
  • My Life Is Murder: In "Sleep No More", Alexa spends much of the case obsessing over a the fact the Victim of the Week had a deep fresh cut on his finger, but there was no blood at the crime scene. She eventually works out that he had deliberately cut his finger on a meat hook after he was Locked in a Freezer and wrote his killer's name on the wall only for the person who found his body to clean it off.
  • Happens from time to time on NCIS, generally of the giving-a-clue-as-to-the-murderer variety. Except for the time it was a call for help. Unintentionally aimed directly at a NCIS investigator... Which also ID'd the person making that particular call for help.
  • In the season 4 finale of Once Upon a Time Henry gets hold of The Author's Pen to undo the cruel story inflicted on his family, but no ink. So he dips it in Regina's open wound.
  • The Outpost: After Talon mortally wounds Toru Magmoor, he spends his last moments using his own blood to spell out a message to the Prime Order revealing that there's still one Blackblood (namely Talon) left alive.
  • Penny Dreadful: In a Couldn't Find Enough Paper example, the message fragments left behind by a long-dead crazy monk are scrawled on a bewildering variety of objects, from parchment to cloth to pottery to scrap metal to a dead moth's wings.
  • An episode of the Taiwanese period drama, Princess Huai-yu, have Duchess Jian-ning biting her forefinger open to write a message to her elder brother, the Emperor Kang-Hsi. "Your sister's in trouble!"
  • The Red Dwarf episode "Psirens" has a dying Red Shirt scrawl a warning using blood and intestines. The Cat wonders why he went to the trouble of using his kidney as a full stop. Rimmer notes that it probably just "plopped out" on its own.
  • Rome: Lacking a wax seal for a dispatch, Octavian grabs a handful of manure from the battlefield instead.
  • Salem: George Sibley tries to get a message out indicating that his wife is a witch... by stabbing himself in the thigh and writing on a small piece of paper with his blood. Too bad he gets caught with it anyway.
  • The Sandman (2022): In "Calliope", the novelist Richard Madoc is cursed with an unending flood of new plot ideas as punishment for imprisoning and abusing the muse Calliope. The curse hits while he's in the middle of a speech, and he staggers off to find paper and pen to write them all down, but quickly gives up and resorts to cutting his fingers and writing on the wall in his own blood.
  • A later episode of Saved by the Bell has a new teacher give the class a test on the first day of school. Lisa bemoans not having any writing utensils on her and has to use her eyeliner instead.
  • Shakespeare & Hathaway - Private Investigators: In "The Rascal Cook", a poisoned chef collapses in the pantry. He uses his dying strength to dip his finger in some foodstuff and write the word "Sorry" on the wall.
  • Sherlock:
  • In Squid Game, Gi-hun is strongarmed by his Loan Shark into putting his fingerprint on a document signing away his physical rights. When he asks for ink, he's told to use the bloody nose he was given moments ago and that they'll take his organs if he misses another payment.
  • Starsky & Hutch has two opposed examples. In the episode "Bloodbath", Starsky is kidnapped by a murderous cult, who leave his name scrawled in blood on a mirror for his partner to find. In "The Plague", Hutch is in an isolation room with a fatal disease; before Starsky leaves to go look for a cure, he uses a borrowed lipstick to write his name on the observation window where Hutch can be reassured by it.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series: In "The Devil in the Dark", a Horta (essentially a lava monster) burns, "NO KILL I" on the ground. Spock wonders if this translates to "I don't kill" or "Don't kill me".
  • Supernatural:
    • An episode of season 6 has Sam bite open his own arm and draw a devil's trap (which does Exactly What It Says on the Tin) in his own blood for lack of any other medium.
    • The King of Hell Crowley burns a clue into the Winchester's table with hellfire, causing Dean to comment that he could have just used a pen and paper.
    • The angel banishing sigil is an aversion of this trope, as it has to be drawn in blood or it doesn't work. In a season 6 episode, however, Castiel draws an anti-angel ward in his own blood while he's injured and in a hurry. Since spray paint is later established to be sufficient for similar warding, it's unlikely the blood was necessary, but simply the quickest thing to hand.
    • In a season 9 episode, demons wanting to leave an intimidating message key it into the side of the Impala. Dean is not pleased. What makes it worse is that the message isn't even for the Winchesters, it's for Crowley.
  • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles had one of these which was even more absurd than the usual examples of this trope. In the beginning of the second season, a guy makes the jump from the future to the past but is shot when he does so. He needs to get his message to Connors, so what does he do? He breaks into their basement and scrawls a confusing and incoherent message on the wall with his own blood then visits upstairs, whispers something cryptic then dies. He sure failed at that mission.
  • Top Gear: Jeremy Clarkson declared that the Dodge Viper was a car "so sophisticated, it could write its own name." He then proceeded to write the word 'Viper' on the test track, using skidmarks.
  • Seen in the Torchwood episode "Captain Jack Harkness". Tosh and Jack are stuck in the past, and need to send a message that will last the next 60 years and be found by the other members of their squad. Tosh doesn't have a pen, so she cuts her hand open on a rusty can and writes in her own blood. Also seen in "They Keep Killing Suzie"; the word "Torchwood" is written in blood on a white wall on a crime scene.
  • In the Walker, Texas Ranger episode "Legends", the Big Bad of the episode, Michael Viscardi, strangles his middle man, Dean Scaggs, to death when the latter ends up being followed to the former's office by Gage and Sydney, who had a warrant for his arrest. In Michael's Roaring Rampage of Revenge against those who convicted his father, the Dying Clue that turns up in his office when Gage and Sydney find Scaggs's bloodied and lifeless corpse is not of the latter's killer, but of Michael's final target, the prosecuting attorney, Alex (the message reading "DA Walk").
  • The Walking Dead (2010):
    • In the pilot episode ("Days Gone Bye"), Rick comes across an abandoned farmhouse where the two former inhabitants had scrawled "God Forgive Us" in blood on the wall before committing suicide.
    • Used to oddly heartwarming effect in "Alone" at 20:50 to 43:00. After the prison is overrun and everyone is separated, Maggie leaves notes, scrawled on walls in the blood of walkers, to tell Glenn where she's going. The smile on his face when he finds it is priceless.
  • The opening episode of Season 4 of The X-Files, "Herrenvolk", has X, Mulder's then-informant writing a message in blood on Mulder's doorstep, having been shot trying to bring information.

  • In "Hollywood Seven" by Jon English, the narrator discovers that his neighbour has been murdered by a Serial Killer:
    I found her there one mornin'
    She didn't co-ome for coffee when I called
    She'd gone and brought the wrong one home this time
    There were crazy lipstick marks all over the wall
  • Murder Ballads: The Serial Killer in "Song of Joy" writes quotes from John Milton on the walls in the blood of his victims.

    Music Videos 

  • In the Cool Kids Table game The Wreck, Lazy Boy finds a message written in blood on the walls of the ship that reads "OUR DEATHS WERE IN VAIN".
  • In Listen Out Loud, a podcast about The Loud House, some ravens spell out "I AM" with their bodies. It turns out that Luan trained them to write that.
  • Episode 175 of The Magnus Archives features a woman frantically scribbling what comes after humanity's extinction before her death.... with one of her ribs.
    Jon, reading: Her pencil is broken, but her notes, her warnings from this new world are far from complete. She snaps off another rib and continues writing.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • During Jerry Lynn's match with Steve Corino at ECW Heatwave 2000, he used Corino's blood as war paint and scrawled the word "DIE" on his own stomach in Corino's blood.
  • The Undertaker once stabbed Steve Austin in the forehead with a pen and signed a contract with his blood.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Sesame Street:
    • A classic sketch has Ernie writing a shopping list with chocolate pudding, because he couldn't find a pen, a pencil, a crayon or a typewriter. Note that he includes all of these things on the list.
      Bert: He's improving. Last time he used spaghetti sauce.
    • One "Abby's Flying Fairy School" skit involves Abby and her classmates writing a stop sign with letters from alphabet soup.
    • In one episode, Telly writes a big "X" with his mashed potatoes due to being distracted by an eerie, sentient letter X.
    • One animated skit involves some fireflies trying to form a number 15 with their bodies, but their glow runs out.

    Tabletop Games 
  • There's a power that Harrowed have in Deadlands that lets them create spontaneous writing on any surface. The precise effects vary, but making it look scrawled ever-fresh blood is one of them.
  • Abyssals in Exalted have a Charm that allows them to write in their own blood without suffering any harm from the blood loss.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Module I12 "Egg of the Phoenix". A revenant [undead creature] will try to communicate by writing a message using its own decaying flesh.
    • In the Planescape setting, a cleric of a god of communication once tried to use magic to communicate with The Lady. After The Lady's shadow had passed over her, the cleric arose as a vampire that was unable to communicate in any way except by using people's intestines to form words. To compound the problem, a rumor arose that The Lady had indeed said something to the cleric, leading to someone actually seeking her out to find out what. She was apparently happy to comply, but ran out of guts before she could finish.
  • Warhammer 40,000: The scribes of the Grey Knights chapter use blood to write the true names of daemons, as apparently using ink gives the demon some power over the writing.

  • The German musical Mozart! represents Mozart's genius with a child staying by the actual Mozart's side throughout the play, invisible to everyone else. In the song "Wie wird man seinen Schatten los?" ("How do you get rid of your shadow?"), the way this aspect of him is destroying him is driven home when the child stabs him arm with a pen so that he may continue his composing in blood, draining Mozart's life away.
  • Due to various props being misplaced in The Play That Goes Wrong, Jonathan (as the Inspector), is unable to find his notebook or pen and is reduced to attempting to take notes on a vase with a key.

    Video Games 
  • In Alphabet Soup, a Licensed Game for Sesame Street, Cookie Monster writes with his alphabet soup.
  • One quest in Arcanum involves a serial killer who is possessed by a demon and is being forced to kill for the demon's amusement. At one of his crime scenes, he writes the demon's name on the floor in blood, in the hopes that someone skilled in demonology will research the demon and figure out the correct way to send it back to where it came from.
  • At the end of Assassin's Creed, Desmond gets to see some elaborate drawings made by Subject 16 in blood. There are so many of them that one has to wonder how he managed to keep the drawings so neat. Although the 'couldn't find a pen' bit is subverted by the fact that a pen was what he actually used to kill himself. He painted the walls with blood because even after being cleaned away, he knew it would still show up in Eagle Vision.
  • Best of Three: Parodied. When Grant returns Helen's fancy pen, he says that he kept imagining her writing with an inferior Bic pen. Helen can either thank him or say, "oh, when I lose my pen I use a quill dipped in goat’s blood." Grant is surprised by this response.
  • BioShock has a number of messages written in blood, most notably the message on the board of photos reading: "Would You Kindly" In Arcadia, when Andrew Ryan gases Julie Langford in her office, she manages to scrawl the combination of her safe on the window before expiring.
    • BioShock 2 also has messages burnt into walls by a robot (which the designer stated was to give a variant to all the ones written in blood), mostly and adequately "Fired".
  • Brutal Orchestra has a spoiler-worthy and artistic version of this trope, as Nowak draws a painting on the wall of his wild Dying Dream, using the blood from his own fatal head wound, before he dies.
  • In Chrono Trigger, you find a fallen knight who gives you a monster-fighting tip using his blood as the ink. Good thing he was a knight instead of a writer of strategy guides...
  • At the climax of Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls, it is revealed that Komaru's parents have supposedly been killed, and that they supposedly wrote their children's names in their blood before dying. Toko wonders why they would do such a thing, instead of naming their killer.
  • Dead Space: Consistently scattered wherever the markers are. Some prisoners write in blood and... other bodily fluids, while some of the victims go insane with marker-dementia and can no longer write normally with a pen, using their blood in very large letters.
    • "Cut off their limbs!" written in blood around the ship. This is how Isaac learns that dismemberment is even more effective than a headshot.
  • Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening: After Dante bursts forth from Leviathan's eye and lands on a higher floor of the tower, the nearby pillar has a "Welcome" text and Jester's portrait below it, both written and drawn in blood. The camera also focuses on it for a while during that cutscene.
  • Divinity: Original Sin II: After he witnesses a deadly Voidwoken attack on his home city, a traumatized artist starts to paint the scene using his own blood, seriously injuring himself in the process.
  • When you reach Delta Labs 4, the epicenter of the demon invasion in Doom 3, the walls are streaked with bloody messages. Whether it was done by demons, demon-possessed victims or just by insane victims, there are no survivors left by the time you arrive. The words repeated over and over again are "suffer", "die" and (appropriately enough for being on the edge of a hellgate) "burn".
  • The first two installments of the Endless Nightmare series have your character, James, often coming across bloodied messages written on walls. The first have "HAPPY BIRTHDAY AIMEE" written in blood in the dining room, where James' daughter Aimee died prior to the game's events, while the sequel have James coming across his name written in bloodied CAPS.
  • Messages written in blood can be found all over the ship in the Ghost Ship series, rather reminiscent of Dead Space. A neat detail is that one of the messages indicates the writer wasn't using their own blood, but rather writing the message using a severed limb they found lying around, which at least makes a lot more sense.
  • In God of War III, Kratos finds Daedalus dead with one final near his body written in blood. It's quite impressive that he managed to do it, considering it was a very lengthy message directed to Kratos and that Daedalus previously had his arms restrained before the chains ripped him apart.
  • In Half-Life, a dead scientist can be found in a side area in the Lambda Complex with a series of numbers written on the floor next to him in his blood. These numbers happen to be part of the solution to a teleporter puzzle not far ahead.
    • Black Mesa also does this with the military's messages to Gordon during "On A Rail", which were written with more mundane implements in the original game. Halfway through the chapter, "DIE FREEMAN" can be seen written with the blood of a dead security guard, and the highly popular "Uncut" mod for the chapter features the rest of the original messages, in all their poorly spelled glory, also inscribed in blood.
  • The Happyhills Homicide: After each murder, the Clown leaves messages in the victim's blood, venting his rage about the things they did and announcing that he's far from done.
  • In Layton Brothers: Mystery Room, the big mystery of the first case is that the victim was found with her hand inside her sandwich. At first it appears to be a dying message, as with her hand where it is among the ingredients, the first letter of each spells out "PHELPS", the misspelled name of her lover. The fact it's misspelled sets of a major red flag for Alfendi and Lucy that it's fake. Turns out that this was faked by the real killer who. on top of just trying to frame the boyfriend, used the dying message as a diversion for the real reason he put the victim's hand in the sandwich.
  • In the 2013 remake of Leisure Suit Larry 1: In the Land of the Lounge Lizards, Larry finds a password in the bathroom and writes it down by chewing his fingernail until he bled and scrawling it on a sheet of toilet paper with his blood.
  • Early in Lenna's Inception, you find that the dying elder wrote "It's dangerous to go alo" with his blood before succumbing to his wounds.
  • In the Mass Effect 2 DLC Arrival, the wall of a prisoner's cell (with the body of the prisoner still in it) has a drawing of the unmistakable silhouette of a Reaper, in human blood.
  • Parodied and Played for Laughs in Mortal Kombat 11, where the series' blood mage Skarlet has a Friendship Finishing Move involving her painting on an easel; naturally, she uses blood in place of actual paint.
  • On the penultimate day of One Chance you find that all the other scientists had either killed themselves or were killed by the pathogen, with the exception of one who will kill you or your family if you stayed home the previous day. Among the bodies, you find the word "Sorry" written in blood on a wall.
  • In Outbreak, the Player Character finds a message written in blood on a bathroom mirrior, then asks why anyone would do that.
  • Portal has loads of insane messages scrawled in... Uh, it's hard to tell what it is actually. According to the webcomic tie-in for the sequel, it's just paint.
  • In the OG Resident Evil, there were originally supposed to be messages scrawled in blood written on some of the mansion walls. The original release simply recolored the messages to hide them, and they can still be seen in-game by tweaking the color palette with an emulator. Later editions removed them entirely.
  • Rune Factory 4 combines this with Apocalyptic Log using the diary in the attic of the Obsidian Mansion. Made mostly for ambience and as a homage to the horror genre as a whole (including a Shout-Out to Chzo Mythos), since the game is very kid-friendly.
  • In System Shock 2, there are walls with bloody messages urging players to REMEMBER CITADEL.
  • In UnMetal, Jesse breaks out of his prison cell by writing a fake suicide note on some cheap toilet paper after cutting himself with a rusty wire. The guy interviewing him thinks it's a clever trick, but he continually wonders how the hell he was able to find a noose.
  • You'll find bloody messages saying things like "We're doomed" and "God is dead" scrawled on the walls of the stages in Viscera Cleanup Detail. Given that you're a lowly space janitor, you have to clean them off the walls.
  • In Wing Commander Prophecy, it's not shown, but in a discussion between some Non Player Characters in the pilot's lounge, it's said that the Kilrathi aboard the kat fleet that got wasted earlier in the game used their blood to write "Knathrak", roughly equivalent of Ragnarok for them, on the deck.

    Visual Novels 
  • Multiple times in the Ace Attorney series there have been victims who wrote names, presumably of their killers, in blood which are almost always written by the killer in order to frame someone else.
    • In the case concerning the SL-9 Incident two years before, Neil Marshall apparently wrote Ema's name in blood on a very unusual vase before he died... but then it turned out it was actually Damon Gant, planting false evidence to blackmail Ema's sister Lana.
    • There's also the case concerning Maggie Byrde, whose boyfriend wrote her name in the sand next to him with his right hand before he died. He was left handed, and her name is actually spelled "Maggey". Oddly enough, no one considers the fact that this wouldn't be possible if he died of a broken neck.
    • In the first case of Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth, another prosecutor finds that the victim (supposedly) wrote Gumshoe's name in his own blood on the crime scene. As Edgeworth, you have to demonstrate that the detective must be innocent.
    • In the third case of Apollo Justice, the victim does manage to write a message in his blood, and the killer tries to wipe it out, but it isn't the killer's name. It was actually the victim's own Interpol ID number, left as a hint about why he was killed; he was investigating the killer's smuggling activities.
    • The first case of Dual Destinies contains an example that is both a subversion and a straight example. The defendant's surname is found apparently written by Apollo, who was knocked unconscious, in his own blood. However, the victim of the case had actually written the ID number of her killer, who covered it with a large case; when Apollo found the writing, the killer knocked him out and altered the writing to incriminate the defendant.
    • During the second case of The Great Ace Attorney, in a more literal invocation of this trope the supposed Dying Clue is written in spilled ink rather than blood... in a language the victim doesn't even know.
  • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc:
    • As Sayaka Maizono was dying from being stabbed by Leon after she fails to kill him, she uses her own blood to leave a Dying Clue and help clear Naegi's name.
    • Later, when Hagakure believes he killed Sakura, he tries to fake a Dying Clue by writing Fukawa's name on a magazine with her blood.
    • Writing "BLOODSTAIN FEVER"/"BLOODLUST" on the wall in the victim's blood is mentioned to be the Calling Card of Serial Killer Genocider Syo/Genocide Jack.
  • The letter from The Letter is written in blood, and when someone is killed because of the curse, bloody messages appear on the walls near them.
  • In Spirit Hunter: NG, when Akira returns home after investigating Miroku Mansion, he finds 'Don't Look' written on his bedroom wall in a suspiciously red substance. Next to it is peeling wallpaper, which when pulled back reveals a bird-like stain on the wall that resembles the chapter's vengeful spirit.

    Web Animation 
  • Slightly done in Draw with Me, where, oddly enough, they use coal on glass, which makes no sense. However, it could have been black chalk, and we don't know exactly what the wall is made out of. (It's some durable glass, if it even is some sort of supernatural sentient self-repairing glass.)
  • Done in the Zero Punctuation review for Thief: The Dark Project. One of the jokes involves Yahtzee snapping, murdering someone, and scrawling "Press X to Not Die" in the victim's own blood on the wall above the body.

  • Ansem Retort:
    • Parodied when the cast plays Pictonary: Axel drew his in Riku's blood for kicks.
    • Later, an ominous message is written in blood on the wall. Marluxia ignores the message in favor of complaining about how everyone writes their messages on the wall and how he always has to clean it up.
  • Played for Laughs in Bloody Urban, and is apparently the favoured advertising medium of the Australian Liberal Party.
  • Done by Bruno the Bandit in a parody of The Da Vinci Code.
  • The introduction of the girls in College Roomies from Hell!!! has Roger slipping a note under their door. Unfortunately, he forgot to bring a pen, so he wrote the note using blood produced by a convenient papercut. Also, the cut stops bleeding before he can finish writing the message, so what the girls find reads more like a death threat from a stalker than an invitation to dinner (Which is what the note was intended to be). As a result of this, when Mike knocks on their door a few hours later, the girls attack in perceived self defense and end up hospitalizing him.
  • At the beginning of the interactive comic Deep Rise the protagonist wants to write down their dream before they forget, but can't find any writing implements, so the audience suggests carving notes into their arm with their beak. Of course then they need to find a lighter to burn the blood before it metastasizes.
  • In Girl Genius the castle kills some of the fake Heterodyne's minions and uses their blood to write out that "THE HETERODYNE MUST ENTER ALONE" when she refuses to listen, it probably chose to do so for fun as it is very fond of murder and destruction.
  • In Homestuck, Vriska mind-controls Tavros into writing text with her blood... for him to read.
    • And then he wears his fingers down, and the writing becomes in his own blood.
    • Gamzee Makara has a really fricking creepy variant. Apparently, after he kills off the rest of the trolls, he is going to paint pictures on the walls with their blood.
      • It's pretty impressive to be creepy even by the standards of this trope.
    • When Aradiabot shows the trolls who wrote the First Guardian genetic sequence on the walls of their rooms, you can see a wide variety of alternative media and substances in use. Plushie guts, troll blood in various colors, sopor slime...
      • In another instance, Aradiabot uses her Psychic Powers to shape Vriska's blood into words. She's responding to Diamonds Droog, who's watching her from an exile terminal in the future.
    • Back on Alternia, Nepeta kept an extensive wall painting of all possible romantic pairings between her friends, which she would routinely update, painted in various shades of animal blood. Her theme song is actually called "Walls covered in blood", and is considerably more upbeat than you'd expect.
  • In Juathuur, Rowasu uses blood at the end of chapter 11.
  • A particularly awesome moment in Kagerou has Dark, bleeding from his eye sockets, writing the names of Red's victims in blood, as well as revealing Red's true name, James Valentine Beethoven.
  • A nanotechnology reservoir in Last Res0rt is hidden behind a door with some warning scrawled in blood in an alien language.
  • The Petri Dish: In one strip, someone writes with their finger on some petri dishes to spell out insults.
  • One Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal has a pizza delivery boy who drops the pizza he was delivering and leaves a message for the recipient saying he'll come back with a new one... or at least that was his intention, anyway.
  • In Schlock Mercenary, Kevyn Andreyasn uses his blood to write a warning for Captain Tagon, about his antimatter grenade epaulet being armed, as the same injuries that gave him blood to write with also prevented him from being able to speak.
  • Superego has Juliet do this with milk-based paint, and she does it often, driven by her desire to tell others about her psychic dreams and their potential meanings.
  • FUG's calling card in Tower of God after the murder of Edin Dan and Gyetang was to write the organization's name in big bloody letters on the wall.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Celebrity Deathmatch: At the beginning of the Macaulay Culkin vs. Haley Joel Osment match, referee Mills Lane asks Macaulay for an autograph for his grandson. Macaulay asks for a pen, but Mills doesn't have one on him. Macaulay then bites off his own pinkie finger (referencing the scene in Home Alone where Harry threatens to bite off Kevin's fingers), and signs his autograph in blood.
  • Drawn Together: In "Charlotte's Web of Lies", Wooldoor performs a kidney transplant on a hobo by stealing Toot's kidney, and the scene cuts to her waking up a bathtub full of ice and noticing the words "CALL A DOCTOR" written in her blood.
  • Family Guy:
    • In "A Fistful of Meg", Meg hires a bunch of jocks to beat up a bully who threatened to kill her. Later, she finds their bruised corpses with the message "YOU'RE NEXT, MEG" written on the wall in their blood.
    • In "The Unkindest Cut", Peter accidentally agrees to attend Quagmire's ventriloquist show, cursing himself in private but pretending to be supportive when his friend walks in. At one point, Quagmire hears Peter shooting himself, and he sees that the blast somehow created a blood stain on the wall reading "CAN'T WAIT".
  • Played for Laughs in OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes, when the characters make a movie. Enid is murdered, and writes the killer's name "in her own ketchup!" (Movie!Rad, reading it upside-down, then goes to find out who "O.K." is.)
  • The Simpsons
    • In "Principal Charming", Bart wrote his name in the schoolyard using grass-killing chemicals.
      Bart: Maybe it was one of the other Barts that—
      Skinner: There are no other Barts!
    • In "Cape Feare", Sideshow Bob writes death threats to Bart in blood. And his diary. And amusing letters to Reader's Digest. He faints midway through one of the latter.
      Snake: Use a pen, Sideshow Bob!
    • Subverted when the family goes over the threat letters and finds one in pen; Homer admits he wrote that one after Bart somehow tattooed "Wide Load" across Homer's ass.
    • A non-bloody example: In "The Springfield Files", Homer runs away from an alien screaming "Yahhh!" As we watch from above we see him run through a field spelling out the word "Yahhh!" in cursive (including the exclamation mark, which he dots!) See here
    • In "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bangalore", noted MacGyver fans Patty and Selma kidnap MacGyver star Richard Dean Anderson after he'd dismissed the show as merely "a paycheck" and liked Stargate SG-1 more. After Anderson escapes, Patty and Selma say "we'll always have what he wrote", pointing to a message for help. Patty asks "What did he write that in?", and Selma answers "Grape juice and tears."
    • In "22 Short Films About Springfield", Maggie gets stuck inside a newspaper dispenser, so Homer writes a message on a scrap of paper with spray cheese and ties it to Santa's Little Helper's collar. Instead of running for help, however, SLH eats the message.
    • In "Bobby, It's Cold Outside", when Lenny creates an explosive package for the package thief to steal and gets out the front door, he gets surprised to recognize the package thief that he accidentally drops the package, which explodes on him. Before he passes out, he writes the initials "S.B." in his own blood, said initials standing for Smithers and Burns.
    • In "Skinner's Sense of Snow", Wiggum writes his name on the snow with coffee.

    Real Life 
  • It's actually standard operating procedure in the military that if a soldier is injured in combat and there isn't a pen on-hand, the person tending to the casualty should use the wounded's own blood to write the time aid was applied on their forehead.
  • Of the second variety (because it's cool and symbolic), it is general knowledge in Philippine history that members of the anti-Spanish revolutionary group Katipunan (literally "commune" or "brotherhood") sign their membership forms with their own blood drawn from their forearms as a sign of commitment to the struggle. It was never known whether members suffered from tetanus or infection, but who cares?!
  • The Marquis de Sade, after being imprisoned, wrote his stories first using wine and a chicken bone, then his own blood.
  • The Manson Family had a creepy habit of writing things on walls at murder scenes - in the blood of the victim.
  • During the 1937 massacre by police of Nationalist protesters in Ponce, Puerto Rico, a young Nationalist named Bolívar Márquez Telechea dragged himself to the wall of Damas Hospital after being shot and wrote "¡Viva la República! ¡Abajo los asesinos!" ("Long live the Republic! Down with the murderers!") in his blood.
  • The murder of Frenchwoman Ghislaine Marchal in 1991 involved her writing in her own blood on a wall: "Omar m'a tuer" ("Omar killed me"), with a glaring spelling mistake (it should have been Omar m'a tuée). The defence argued that a well-educated woman wouldn't have made this mistake, and it must have been someone else trying to falsely implicate her gardener, Omar Raddad, or some other Omar. The prosecution responded that the error is very common even among the educated, and put forward claimed examples of her making the same mistake in other writings. The phrase is still very famous in France (perhaps due to the controversial nature of the whole thing: Raddad was convicted, but, the case was seen as weak and likely tainted with prejudice, and he later received a partial presidential pardon), and in fact "... m'a tuer" has become a Snowclone.
  • The punishment of chopping at the waist was abolished in China after the Emperor was appalled to learn that a person so executed had survived long enough to write a particularly complicated character meaning "misery" in his own blood seven times.
  • Apparently, several people have made last-minute testaments in this way: There is a story about a farmer, trapped under his own tractor writing on the bumper, with mud, who of his neighbours would get which of his animals and about a dying man who wrote "all to wife" on the wall in his own blood. Both of these were accepted as valid.
  • Parenthetical Girls hand-numbered one of their albums in their own blood.
  • A man in Pinellas, Florida tried to invoke this trope after murdering his girlfriend by writing the first name of his victim's ex-boyfriend on the wall in her blood, creating the impression that she wrote her killer's name as she died. His ruse failed when the police took a closer look at the victim's injuries and realized that she would've been physically incapable of pulling it off, not to mention the blood was on her right hand and she was left-handed.
  • Saddam Hussein had a copy of The Qur'an written in his own blood... even though blood is seen as unclean in Islam and writing a Qur'an with it is a very high blasphemy. Of course, destroying any copy of the Qur'an is also blasphemy. After Saddam's regime fell, it was put into storage, where it remains as of this writing due to the unsolved question of what should be done with it.
  • The guy who wrote the lyrics to the Moroccan national anthem wrote it in his blood on his cell wall. It must have looked like a Room Full of Crazy.
  • Geocachers who hike several miles to a cache to realize they left their pen in the car have been known to sign the logbook in blood. The preferred way is to make a mark with dirt or mud and explain it in your note online.
  • Apparently, this was once inverted: The murder victim had a pen and wrote the killer's name on her body. Unfortunately, the conditions the body endured made it unreadable until the FBI's Special Photo unit used an infrared camera to get a better image. The guy was caught.
  • When Fracisco Pizarro — the Spanish conquistador who led the conquest of Peru — was assassinated, he was stabbed through the throat. Reportedly he drew a cross in his own blood and kissed it before dying.
  • Clive Barker once pulled it off in real life, albeit inadvertently. Chuck Palahniuk related a story where a teenage fan of Clive's waited in line at a book signing, then when he reached the front of the line, immediately cried "Clive, this is for you!" and slashed his own wrists with a razor blade. Barker grabbed the kids' wrists and slammed them down against the books he'd left on the table, keeping the pressure on the wound long enough for paramedics to arrive and save the kid's life, then dutifully autographed the requested books in the kid's blood and delivered them to the kid in the hospital.
  • When the last Mughal Emperor (who was a noted poet) was exiled from Delhi by the British for supporting a major rebellion, he wrote poems on the walls of his room with a burnt stick.
  • Anthony H. Wilson, head honcho of Factory Records, had several contracts (most notably that of Joy Division) written in his own blood - not for want of a pen, but because he was batshit insane.
  • Sergey Yesenin, one of the best Russian poets of the early 20th century, wrote his last poem Goodbye, my friend in blood. He complained to a friend that day: "This mangy hotel has no ink. I had to write with blood," and showed 3 shallow cuts on his wrist. Yesenin was very depressed (therapy didn't help) and hanged himself the next day, it's possible that he started to slit his wrists, but changed his mind and wrote the poem instead. A series of copycat suicides followed with crappy poetry written in blood.
  • Vladimir Mayakovsky, another famous Russian poet (and Yesenin's friend), recalled searching for a powerful metaphor for a poem for two days before suddenly seeing it in a dream. He jumped up half-awake and scribbled the central part of the metaphor with a burnt matchstick onto a cigarette box in darkness before falling back asleep. In the morning, it took him a couple of hours to remember what that phrase meant and how it got there.
  • The "Dear Boss" letter allegedly sent by Jack the Ripper claims that the killer "saved some of the proper red stuff" from a previous murder to write the next one with, "but it went thick with glue and [he] couldn't use it." (It's worth noting that most historians consider this letter to be a hoax.)
  • U.S. Army Counterintelligence officer Ib Melchior (yes, that guy) had the wife of a Gestapo official hang herself in her cell in the belief that she'd be tortured for the location of her husband. She also bit open her wrist and wrote a farewell to her husband in blood. While shocked, Melchior realised that she wouldn't go to such lengths unless she was sure her husband would receive her final message. So he hauled her traveling companion into the cell to view the dead body. She broke down and confessed to being the sister of the Gestapo official, whom they planned to meet up with later on.
  • In the 1980s, Nick Cave was once spotted writing a letter using the blood in a hypodermic syringe he'd just ripped from his arm.
  • Hoàng Diệu, one of the Governors of Hanoi who defended the citadel against the French occupation, had seemed to be close to victory when the Hanoi armory blew up due to sabotage. Morale broke, the French came back for a second wind, and the Vietnamese leadership deserted him. He calmly directed the troops until the last minute, ordered a retreat, bit his finger to write a suicide letter to the Emperor, then hung himself with his own headscarf in front of the Temple of Martial Arts, a place of veneration for military heroes of old.
    The citadel is irretrievably lost. I am ashamed to face the people of the North. My death is of no importance, I pledge to follow Nguyễn Tri Phương to the grave. Your Majesty is miles away, we weep tears of blood for you.
  • When Senator Bob Dole was wounded in World War II, he was given morphine for the pain, and the letter "M" was written on his forehead in his own blood as a warning not to give him additional morphine lest he be accidentally overdosed.
  • Musician Hersilie Rouy, incarcerated in an insane asylumnote , was one of the few to successfully write her way out. She collected paper scraps, glued or sewed them together, then wrote in soot mixed with water or her own blood. Lots of women did this, but expressing yourself in clear, reasoned language (especially if complaining of bad conditions or an unfair diagnosis) was a sure sign of folie lucide — a hopeless psychotic pretending to sanity.
  • Fernando Oreste Nannetti couldn't find a pen, so he used a belt buckle to do his fantastic wall carvings on the facades of the asylum in Volterra, Italy (now an Abandoned Hospital). His works include art and narratives of his Planetary Romance style adventures. He also did over 1600 illustrations on paper. 20 years after his death he was given the Civic Merit award from the city of Volterra. He has inspired films and popular songs.

  • A brainteaser: Dr. Lax is murdered in his office. There are five suspects, Gerry, Julie, Jason, Sofia, and Brian. The one clue is a calendar with the numbers 6, 4, 9, 10, and 11 written on it in blood. Who is the killer? Solution: At first it seems like a number to letter puzzle, but that would spell out "FDIJK", which is gibberish. The clue indicates writing on a calendar, and if each number is assigned to the corresponding month and the first letter of each month written as a word, the killer is revealed to be Jason.



Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Write With Anything Handy, Writing In Blood


Escaping Prime's Death Trap

When Rick Prime's trap room has shielding which blocks portal travel while a wall of fire advances towards them, Rick and Evil Morty combine their portal guns and some of the teleportation fluid from the trap clone to overcome the shielding.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / AdvancingWallOfDoom

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