What’s blood for, if not for shedding? It’s something horror movies have gotten right for decades now. From the smallest trickles to oceans engulfing us, blood has enraptured and disgusted us as only something biological could. Maybe it’s true, everything looks a little better covered in blood.
Here are the 10 best bloody moments in horror for the truest aesthetes.
10. Cam (2018)
One of the newest on the list, Cam is the Netflix darling about a cam girl going through the throes of a lost identity in a virtual hellscape. The film is filled with lavish, decadent rooms, contrasted with oceans of beige sheets in an introspective glance at the duality of our protagonist Alice (Madeline Brewer). The movie features short moments of blood, driving the impact even harder. One such moment is near the end, with a small pool of blood reflecting the neon lights around it. We stare at it as it grows, dripping off the marble desk into a lush carpet.
9. It (1990)
I know what you’re thinking. “How is she ignoring the bathroom scene from the 2017 remake? The audacity!” Because it was great, but this was better. I’m a sucker for a bloody message and few have done it better than Stan (Richard Masur) scrawling one final message before his death. After a final phone call and the realization that the nightmare of his youth was back, Stan takes one last moment after slashing his wrists to leave a message. The word “IT” decorates the wall in a grisly fashion, rivulets of blood turning the picturesque moment into something that shaped the original miniseries.
8. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
What kind of Vampire fanatic would I be if I left Dracula off the list? Between Gary Oldman (Hannibal) as Dracula and Winona Ryder (Edward Scissorhands) as his love Mina Murray, the movie is overflowing with bloody good moments. It’s hard to pick just one, from the most subtle of crimson pin pricks on ivory skin to the eerily calm blood transfusion. But its hard to ignore Lucy (Sadie Frost), returning to her grave to find death waiting for her. So she does what any proper lady would die in the face of danger: she projectile vomits blood all over Van Helsing (Sir Anthony Hopkins). The stark red against the painfully white lace dress she’s wearing almost hurts to look at in the best way possible.
7. Carrie (1976)
It wouldn’t be a proper list without mentioning Carrie. While the remake was surprisingly okay, the original is where we’ll find one of the most iconic bloody scenes in cinema. It’s something that’s been parodied, remade, and mentioned a thousand times over-and for good reason. The first time you see it is bound to remain for long after. Carrie (Sissy Spacek) manages to hold an eerily sad smile for just a brief moment as she’s drenched in blood whilst clad in her prom best. Her bouquet is ruined, and her prom queen crown tumbles off. All that remains is soaked in blood, and about to get bloodier.
6. Byzantium (2012)
Another lush vampire film that I will never stop talking about. From gorgeous prose to stunning scenery Byzantium is a quiet, bloody force to be reckoned with. The film manages to utilize gore and blood in the most pleasing of ways. Instead of a vivacious, candy apple red we so often see, the palette is a deep, rusty crimson. It strikes out against the muted backdrops, drawing the eye in before it realizes what it’s looking at. One scene was so beautiful I found myself gasping. The film blesses us with an actual blood waterfall. Gemma Arterton is Clara, standing underneath the crimson liquid rushing over black stone. Completely drenched, the scene is telling of the brutal eroticism and heartbreaking loneliness the movie exudes.
5. You’re Next (2011)
A surprisingly simple moment that sets up an entire movie, You’re Next features the title words scrawled in blood on a wall while a man in a lamb mask brutally murders two people. The moment is iconic in the way that it’s the cold open for the movie, telling you “Yes, it’s going to get bloody.” And it works. The film has since gained a cult following and I can’t help but look back at the almost pure and uncomplicated message written in blood with fondness.
4. Evil Dead (2013)
Don’t get me wrong, I love the original. But the remake seems to have had a certain touch when it came to its bloody moments. In particular, the blood rain. The rain bears down on Mia (Jane Levy) as she stands in front of a cabin in the woods. It almost looks like freckles as she peers up in confusion. What happens next is a torrential downpour of blood. It beats down on her as she flails and runs. It’s a frantic moment, emphasized by sheer terror through a fog of red.
3. Hellboudnd: Hellraiser II (1988)
The first Hellraiser is overflowing with gritty, bloody moments where our gaze lingers for far longer than comfortable. However, it’s within the sequel that one of the most aesthetically pleasing horror images arises. With the background noise of terrified heartbeats and horrific squelches a single finger enters the frame to scrawl a single message. One of the creepiest moments in the movie, and it’s nowhere near close to being done.
2. Mandy (2018)
A movie I will be shouting about until the day I die, Mandy is a gory, sadistic masterpiece with a rage only Nicolas Cage (Face/Off) playing Red Miller could muster. A vibrant, technicolor trip into the Pacific Northwest accompanied by a heavy, doom saturated soundtrack. The film revels in colors so saturated it almost hurts. One such moment rides near the end, Miller drives through the wooded night, staring at his girlfriend Mandy Bloom (Andrea Riseborough). It’s a tender moment, punctuated by Miller drenched in blood. His manic smile encapsulated with stark white teeth and white eyes brings a hysteria to an otherwise sad moment. Which seems to describe the entirety of the movie. Go watch it. Seriously.
1. Suspiria (1977)
Could the number one slot gone to anything else? A lush dreamscape of ritualist horror and witchy goodness, Suspiria is the pinnacle of horror aesthetic. Every frame, every breath of a second is artfully done. The candy-apple red atmosphere drowns the film in the best way. It hits a peak when a mysterious woman is disemboweled and hung.
She crashes through a stained glass window, the harsh green in the design reflecting against the pinks and reds of the building around it, all while she dangles, drenched in pink blood. The entire film uses blood and gore in such an aesthetic way that upon each watching you find yourself utterly entranced and disturbed. Fun note: the blood splatter on the floor after she hangs resembles the shape of a witch.