Blood Running Down the Screen – Our Top 7 Moments.
Blood Running Down the Screen – Our Top 7 Moments.
When Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell were raising money for The Evil dead, an old distributor told them “I’m gonna give you guys a piece of advice. If it’s a horror movie, you’ve gotta keep the blood running down the screen. You’ve gotta have blood, if it’s a horror movie, and a lot of it.”
Having blood splattered over the screen is now a horror staple. It’s a strong visual that puts the audience right in the middle of the action. Whether it be a quick splash on the lens, a gush of claret across half the screen, or an explosion of gore right down the camera, the effect can be astounding. Making us wince, smile or cry. Here we present our list of favourite moments that literally covered the screen in gore for maximum impact. Our top 7 Moments where Blood Ran Down the Screen. (Warning, If it’s listed it’s probably got spoilers)
Four Flies on Grey Velvet
When it comes to black-gloved killers, violently gory deaths and surreal dream sequences, Dario Argento is king. No more so than in his earlier film, Four Flies on Grey Velvet, which sees a drummer caught up in a series of mysterious murders. The film has widely been panned by critiques, it’s certainly not Argento’s finest films. In fact, the slow burning murder mystery is pretty terrible, but it does have the accolade of having one of the very first scenes where blood is splashed onto the lens. In the scene, the killer picks up a blunt object and violently bashes a man in the head. The Camera swaps to a POV from the victim, as the Killer smashes down the object again and again, as blood slowly flows down the screen. In this scene, Argento smeared the word FIRST on the wall, before smugly taunting anyone else that used his bloody technique. At least, that what the rumours say!
It’s not the most violent, or gory moment, but it did pave way for a more intimate form of horror, and that is why it’s on this list.
Sadly, I could not find a full clip to share with you, but you can see a small section of this scene in the trailer around 1 minute and 35 seconds.
The Walking Dead Series 6
The End of season 6 saw Rick and his group captured by a gang led by a man Named Negan. In a terrifying sequence, Negan picks someone, randomly from the group. He points his baseball bat from person to person as he “ippy dippies” the horrified group. To keep fan guessing, we never find out who Negan beats to death, but we do get a POV as he brings his bat down onto the individuals head. Mortally wounded, the victim raises his/her head one last time. With blood running down the screen, Negan bludgeons them to death with his gore covered bat.
It’s not the goriest moment we have seen in the walking dead, but it’s the impact that this scene has that makes it so important. The moment the blood starts dripping down the lens, you realise what a grievous situation it is. In your heart of hearts, you know that this person is not going to walk away from this hideous beating. And as it’s potentially a major character from the show, it’s heart breaking.
It’s a familiar sight in a James Bond film, the gun barrel trailing after 007 just as he swings around and shots directly at camera. A blood-red wash, representing the gunman bleeding, runs down the screen. The gun barrel sequence is a signature device featured in nearly every James Bond film, usually at the start of each film. Every actor who has played Bond has filmed one of these sequences, so it’s an effective way of telling the audience which bond is in the film. Especially as it pops up at the start of the film like a pre credit. Whilst it’s not meant to be a menacing sequence, it’s still one of our favourite and memorable blood washed camera sequences.
Interestingly, the gun barrel sequence is copyrighted by Eon productions, meaning that it can not use nor parodied without licences from Eon.
The Schwarzenegger jungle romp, Predator, had a number of gruesome deaths, but it was the death of Mac that had audiences squirming in their seats. Predator sees an elite special forces team under attack from an alien hunter. This creature has a bunch of otherworldly weapons, including a Plasmacaster (yep that’s what it’s called) that is a long-range energy projector weapon, capable of firing armor-penetrating plasma bolts. Basically, it’s a big gun that’s blast huge holes in things. If you shoot one of these at some one’s head, there is not going to be much left. And the film makers shared this in spectacle fashion when the Predator catches up with poor ol Mac.
Mac gets a full on Plasmacaster blast to the face, with the camera catching the moment from behind, so all those lovely juice bits explode over the lens. It’s pretty nasty stuff, but it’s also very cut and dry, leaving no question over Macs survival. Yep… He’s a goner! Good Luck retrieving that skull Preds!
Leaping straight out of the pages of 2000AD Dredd 3D was the remake that broke the mold. Being hugely superior to it’s 90’s counterpart, Dredd was a gritty and violent look at the future of law enforcement. One of the films key selling point was its creative use of slow motion, which was explained in film by the use of an illegal drug called Slo-mo. As soon as someone sucked on a Slo-mo inhaler, time would slow down into a bullet time styled treat. Such is the situation that saw gang boss Mama taking a tumble 200 floors down. Her slow motion explosion, as her head hits the floor, is a graphic and deserved death to the foul character. The scenes server no real narrative, other than to bring the dark and graphic violence of the comic strip to the world of digital cinematic technicolour. Beautiful.
The shining is one of the moist iconic horror films ever made and amongst its many terrifying scenes, is a moment where a river of blood flows breaks the fourth wall in the best possible way. Although it’s Wendy that discovers the cascade of blood pouring form the elevator, it’s Danny’s premonition of the scene that sees the blood gushing down the camera lens. Stanley Kubrick shot the scene in three takes and used between 200 and 300 gallons of fake blood, to turn the set in to a real life horror show.
The use of the camera angle, which allows the flow to cover the lens, puts the audience right in the middle of the action, covering them in its visceral glow.
The Evil Dead
As quoted at the start of this article, Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell were told to have blood rolling down the screen, and that’s exactly what they did. They wanted to shock the audience with copious amounts of blood. So when it came to dispatching Shelly with an axe, they covered the camera in crimson visceral. A POV shows Scotty swinging the axe down repeatedly, as the gore starts to roll over the screen. The extreme nature of the evil dead’s effects was shocking for 80s audiences, but it was also beside the point. The gore was supposed to be over the top and funny. It’s impossible to take the flowing visceral serious, and running it down the screen was Raimi’s way of saying, “yep, you in on the joke now”. Shocking, funny and gory… it’s simply the most effective use of this technique.
Thee are many more films than the ones on our list. Let us know your favorites and why they left an impact. Leave a comment below.