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Rivers of Blood

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Blood acting like a large body of water, whether for drama value or simple Squick. Often a source of Bloody Horror.

Can be justified if the action happens in a Womb Level.

Sister Trope to High-Pressure Blood, which emphasizes speed of flow rather than quantity, and comes directly out of a living being (though the latter can be said about some uses of this trope).

Named after a famous speech by Enoch Powell (itself an allusion to a line from Aeneid), which is, however, not an example of this trope.



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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Judas (2017): In reflection of his death at the Red Sea, Pharaoh Ramesses II is forced to ride a chariot of skeletal horses along the crashing waves of an ocean of blood for eternity.
  • Vampirella: Vampi's homeworld of Drakulon is covered with rivers of blood, thus allowing her race of space vampires to exist. Vampires that feed on living beings are largely seen as evil by the rest of their kind, though when the rivers run dry at one point the Drakulonians as a whole decide to invade Earth out of desperation. Later retconned to be an area of Hell.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Prince of Egypt: The scene from Exodus is played out when Moses uses his staff to turn the river Nile into blood, sending Ramesses' soldiers into a panic.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Kung Fu Hustle, when Sing is infiltrating the asylum The Beast is being held in, he runs through the corridors until he runs onto one cell at a dirty-looking corridor. The cell door slowly opens and then a large stream of blood floods out of the cell room. It turns out to be merely Sing's Imagine Spot; he was merely staring at the door, imagining it happening.
  • The Bible example gets a Shout-Out in the first The Mummy (1999) movie. Upon Imhotep's awakening, all the water in Egypt turns into blood.
  • The Shining: Blood pours out of an elevator, flooding a hotel hallway.

  • In The Divine Comedy, the Phlegethon is a river of boiling blood. People who were violent against others are punished here by being immersed in the blood to a level corresponding with how bad their sin was, and if they try to get out, centaurs shoot at them.
  • After the conquest of Port Murchison in The General series, Raj muses that it's the first time he's literally seen the streets running with blood.
  • In the Left Behind book The Remnant, the Tribulation Force sees that the rivers have been turned to blood due to the Third Bowl Judgment. Later on with the Fourth Bowl Judgment, there are boiling rivers of blood.
  • In The Winter War by Antti Tuuri, the narrator is told about a costly but successful Finnish counter-attack, where the blood of the Russian casualties pools at the bottom of the reclaimed trench so that it's halfway up a man's boot shaft.

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Bible:
    • In the Book of Exodus, one of the ten plagues brought upon the Egyptians was that all water turned to blood—even the river Nile.
    • The Book of Revelation 14:20 describes this in the apocalyptic battle.
      And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons adventure S1 Tomb of Horrors. If the valves of mithril are cut by a sharp weapon they will gush forth a river of blood — the blood of all of the creatures that have died within the Tomb. If not stopped, it will fill the room to the ceiling.
  • Warhammer 40,000: The Chaos god Khorne sits on a massive throne of brass on an ever-growing mountain of skulls located in an ocean of blood. The skulls come from worthy warriors (his faithful's enemies or their own, he does not like it when people use the skull of defenseless victims as trophies), while the blood never stops flowing from the constant warfare in the galaxy. Both policies are summed up in the oft-heard catchphrases "Blood for the Blood God! Skulls for the Skull Throne!" as well as "Khorne cares not from where the blood flows, only that it flows".

    Video Games 
  • Bayonetta 2 uses this trope as a background event when you fight the Masked Lumen for the second time. Justified in that the fight takes place inside a demon and the parties involved are hurling summons at each other that slowly shred the demon's insides.
  • In the Bloodborne DLC The Old Hunters, where there is a literal river of blood flowing through the fake-Yharnam portion of the Hunter's Nightmare. The banks of this river are completely filled with still somewhat living shriveled up corpses, and at the end lies the Wake-Up Call Boss.
  • Detention: The school is a Closed Circle because a river has flooded and washed away a bridge... and strangely enough, the river looks like blood, though Wei theorizes that it's factories dumping chemical waste in the river under the cover of the typhoon. The river of blood returns in the Bad Ending, where it also has bodies floating in it, symbolizing the people that Ray killed by snitching on the forbidden book club.
  • In Far Cry 4, the rivers of Shangri La are running red with blood thanks to the demonic invasion that has turned this erstwhile paradise into hell.
  • The Legend of Zelda: One official US guide claims that the orange water found in the fifth and sixth dungeons is actually blood.
  • Mortal Kombat 11: Raiden reveals that the Sea of Blood around Shang Tsung's island is bottomless. Geras gets to find out firsthand what it's like to sink in it.
  • Super Mario Kollision 1 (created by Blackout77) has an early level with a swimmable river of blood.
  • Tomb Raider (2013): Lara wades through a stream of gore full of people sacrificed by the island's cult.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • The Cleveland Show: Cleveland reminisces about a trip to the dentist, wherein an attempt to floss his teeth ends with a Big "NO!" and this trope flooding the entire facility.
  • The Simpsons:
    • The Shining bit was parodied in the episode "Treehouse of Horror V":
      Mr. Burns: Hmm, that's odd. Usually, the blood gets off at the second floor.
    • A very similar thing happens at a crime scene in a later episode. Chief Wiggum resolves to get to work on it with some paper towel.
  • In an episode of South Park Stan's sister is menstruating and sends him out to buy her some tampons. When he comes back (without any) and opens the door, menstrual blood floods out.


Video Example(s):


The First Plague

The Nile is turned to blood

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Example of:

Main / RiversOfBlood

Media sources:

Main / RiversOfBlood