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In The Fifth Element when Gary Oldman is talking to "Mr. Shadow," there is some sort of substance that runs down his head. What exactly is it? It seems to happen to everyone who talks to "Mr. Shadow."

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5 Answers 5

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It's never explained.

There are a few theories though:

  1. It's blood. It's simply darker than normal to indicate an even more sinister being. When Zorg (Gary Oldman) is called by Mr. Shadow, he starts to bleed it, suggesting that the mere force of evil in Mr. Shadow is enough to cause it.

  2. It's some type of residue, caused by contact with pure evil. This is supported by the fact General Staedert has the same black ooze trickle down his face when the "planet" attacked his ship.

  3. It's liquid fear. This is really just a different name for the two options above. It manifests itself in the same way and is caused by the Great Evil.

Obviously, all three of these notions are based on the exact same premise, giving it different names. TVTropes deem it a psychic nosebleed, again suggesting it lies along the same lines as one of the options above.

Unfortunately, these are all fan theories (commonly accessible across the web). There doesn't appear to be any definitive answer on the ooze from Luc Besson, the director, or any of the cast. Ultimately, I think these explanations are the most likely. Call it whatever you want, it's a way of signifying the presence of the Great Evil.

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    Well, it ain't blood, or at least it doesn't sound like it was supposed to be blood. From the original script, near the end: "The heat in the temple is unbearable. All the walls start to ooze the same horrible black slimy liquid seen at Zorg's. A drop of liquid falls to the temple floor and begins to smoke, eating away at it like acid. Loc Rhod has to dodge another drop of the stuff."
    – Walt
    Nov 26, 2014 at 16:10
  • @Walt: There were some fan theories that it could make anything bleed basically. Whether that be person, machine, walls etc. That's why I think the terms are a little misleading. It doesn't matter what you call it, it just seems to be something that happens due to the presence of the Evil. Nov 26, 2014 at 16:11
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    Whatever it's supposed to be, it's totally Hershey's. ;)
    – Walt
    Nov 26, 2014 at 16:15
  • Who wouldn't want to lick Gary Oldman's head. Nov 26, 2014 at 19:18
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In the original script, the black fluid oozes out of a video monitor rather than Zorg's head

Shadow pauses an instant. A black slimy liquid starts to ooze from the top of the screen. Zorg is feeling worse all the time.

SHADOW: Money is of no importance... I want the Stones!

The novelisation is similarly unhelpful, merely remarking that

... A black, slimy liquid began to ooze from the top of Zorg’s head.


Notably, there's also a mention of similar fluid on the walls of the Fifth Element's chamber in both the script and the novel, implying that it's unlikely to be blood.

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I believe it's intended to be blood sweat caused by extreme fear or anxiety, similar to what Jesus experienced in the garden of Gethsemane before his arrest and execution. Luke 22:44 "But he was in such agony that he kept praying more earnestly; and his sweat became as drops of blood falling to the ground."

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It is called hematidrosis. It is a rare disorder where the human body sweats blood. Some doctors think extreme stress can cause it, which would fit well with the plot of the movie.

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    While this may be a real life thing, unless you have evidence that Zorg had this disorder, it's speculative.
    – cde
    Oct 1, 2016 at 6:40
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it's the black goo - also known as sentient oil or black oil, called "purity" in the x files: http://x-files.wikia.com/wiki/Purity It is the same stuff in the new-ish tv show Residue or the stuff at the start of Prometheus. It shows up everywhere.

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    Welcome to Movies & TV , Kindly share if you have some source material to back up your theory. You might want to elaborate a bit more on your answer to provide additional information
    – Panther
    Jul 22, 2015 at 3:26

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