Foreword: I understand Halloween's over but I'm still enjoying the second half of my long marathon.

In Evil Dead II (1987), there is a gory scene where blood is splattered onto a lightbulb, and the room is consequently illuminated in a red tint, as if the light were to have a red filter.

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This was achieved, no doubt, by simply throwing fake blood on a bulb in for a slow motion shot, and the second shot was just achieved by whacking on a red filter to any old studio light they had.

My question is: how accurate/realistic is it?
Would blood (human or otherwise) not be too viscous, thick and opaque to allow for this effect to happen?
What would happen if you coated a lightbulb in blood?

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    @JohnnyBones "as long as it was opaque it would work" Huh? Opaque is the opposite of transparent. The more opaque something is, the less translucent (the less light it passes through), so that sentence is either worded incorrectly by mistake, or you're confused about the word opaque, or I'm wrong and confused. Commented Nov 7, 2016 at 15:44
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    @JohnnyBones Ah, ok, we figured out the problem: You're confused about what translucent and opaque means. Transparent means completely see-through, like water, and you're confusing that with translucent, for some reason. Translucent means it's reflecting or absorbing some of the light, but also allows some light to pass (also known as semi-transparent), so something like a red filter is a translucent piece of glass or plastic put on top of a light/camera. Opaque means completely blocks (absorbs or reflects) all light, you cannot see behind it. So, all your comments were wrong, basically. Commented Nov 7, 2016 at 18:44
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    @JohnnyBones I laid out the definitions and differences between transparent, translucent and opaque in my earlier comment. If you disagree with those definitions, then it's because you are wrong and confused. Regardless, "as long as it was opaque it would work" and "If it was translucent, it wouldn't be red" are both completely backwards. Commented Nov 7, 2016 at 19:35
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    @JohnnyBones It's pretty tricky for me, see I'm on the side of truth, and I don't like condescending people or having to repeat that they're wrong, but I've run out of ways to say it. Honestly, you're wrong, I don't know if it takes someone else to come in and comment to tell you as well, whatever. We could agree to disagree, I'm fine with that, seeing as I know I'm correct, and you seem to be comfortably deluded into believing that you're correct so I think you'd be fine with it, too. Commented Nov 7, 2016 at 19:40
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    @JohnnyBones A sprite bottle is translucent, light can pass through it and but is filtered green. A sprite can is opaque, light is reflected and absorbed, totally, so you cannot see inside or through it. If you coat a lightbulb with opaque blood, by definition it means you wouldn't see any light, light does not pass through opaque objects, it only passes through translucent (red filters) and transparent materials. Commented Nov 7, 2016 at 19:44

1 Answer 1


It would tint the light, but very badly, and unevenly (quite unlike the photo).

Of course, blood is a translucent liquid that will -- at first -- coat the bulb. Recall that hospitals use a gizmo that is attached to your fingertip in order to measure oxygen levels in your bloodstream. It does this, I believe, by shining light through a thin portion of your body (your fingertip) and measuring its color after passing through it. The more oxygen, the more bright red your blood will appear. (Doctors out there please correct this if I am wrong.)

But blood is also living tissue, and will die soon after leaving the body. Once it dies and is "baked" by the heat of the light bulb, its chemistry will change. It will discolor, flake, split, start to fall off the bulb, etc. After a while of some bad odor, it will probably look nothing like the photos above.

  • More interested in the translucency immediately post-partum (less so interested in what dried blood), so if you could elaborate some more (you made a good point about medical equipment that relies on skin/blood translucency to function) to give as good an accuracy/realism assessment of the Evil Dead II's portrayal, you'd get my upvote Commented Nov 7, 2016 at 16:22
  • The post-partum period you are referring to would best be measured in seconds as opposed to minutes or hours. The tissue would start to die immediately when the victim dies, and deteriorate quite quickly once it's exposed to air and heat. Exposure to air would immediately start a clotting process that would change the bloods chemistry rather fast. As far as I can tell, the first sentence in my response is the best way to describe the answer to your question.
    – John
    Commented Nov 7, 2016 at 16:34
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    it will also probably darken after time, due to the light bulb's heat, turning into brown or black. Proof can be seen in blood sausage.
    – Luciano
    Commented Nov 7, 2016 at 16:50

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