I've noticed that when showing blood in a number of older movies, the fake blood is always bright red. Why was this? I know special effects have obviously improved over the years but it doesn't seem like blood would be that hard to make a color that looks real. So it seems like there must be some other reason. Why does fake blood in older movies look so fake?

Example from Suspiria 1977 enter image description here

Example from Dawn of the Dead 1978 enter image description here

Example from Carrie 1976 enter image description here

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    I think you should spoiler the image.
    – Vahn
    Sep 29, 2016 at 3:16
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    I mean the image kind of creepy. Especially the last one. At least for me.
    – Vahn
    Sep 29, 2016 at 3:22
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    @Vahn spoilers are for well .. 'spoilers' rather than graphic images. Perhaps you're not well suited to using this site if you have a problem with them. Sep 29, 2016 at 3:25
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    @cde Nothing in the movie title indicates that the question is about horror movies. Blood can be seen in every movie genre. Sep 29, 2016 at 7:35
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    @AndrewThompson No, that is as a general statement not true. We have used spoiler blocks in the past for the courtesy of not presenting possibly disturbing or overly sexual content right in the open. And please refrain from calling out people who have a problem with distrubing imagery as "not suited for this site". The general disregard that is shown here for the concerns of users in light of obviously bloody imagery is a little, well, creepy.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Sep 29, 2016 at 9:39

1 Answer 1


Blood in horror movies has a rich history. Black-White movies had no problem with it and could pull it off easily. So much so that it is said that Alfred Hitchock shot Psycho in Black-White because he wanted the bloid in shower to look "realistic" since he couldn't get the same effect with fake blood.

"What was once alarmingly "realistic" now looks either stylized (if it's a good movie) or fakey (if it's not so good)."

That quote best describes how I feel about blood in old movies. 70's movies as OP points out didn't look 'realistic' because there has been a general shift in our perception. As always, 70's doesn't has lack of cheesy movies and so blood may seem fake to us. Tarantino and Coen now generally use darker, gritier shade this is now even an industry phenomenon.

If I had to pin it down to one reason it would be because of trend change. It is interesting to know that lens flares were dispised by filmmakers who used expensive equipment to counteract the effect because to them it was just a nuisance but today lens flares are ubiquitous and are thought to add realism.

Note- As for how the shade 70's blood was achieved I can say only two words- corn syrup.

This post was HEAVILY influenced by this article- Color of Blood

I recommend you check out the link for a deeper feel. Also the pictures perfectly encapsulated the visual styles.

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    Also, if the blood is full of oxygen (in the artery) is bright red but if the blood is from the veins, then is darg red
    – lois6b
    Sep 29, 2016 at 12:08
  • Just out of curiosity, who is that quote from? I either am missing it or its not stated.
    – sanpaco
    Sep 29, 2016 at 17:22
  • Don't forget that it may have appeared more realistic in the theater. Ignoring the lighting used in the projector, remastering alters the colors and changes the white/black points. Black mattes in e.g. Star Wars were not visible in the theater but were obvious on VHS. ("movie remastered color")
    – Yorik
    Sep 29, 2016 at 19:56
  • @sanpaco the quote is from the mentioned article Sep 30, 2016 at 15:50
  • @Yorik I still think 70's blood was MUCH brighter than what we are used to now, but nice observation :) Sep 30, 2016 at 15:57

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