The History of Fake Blood (and How to Make the Best Batch)
From red handkerchiefs to chocolate syrup, there's more to the story of fake blood than you might guess.
If you've ever tried and failed to make a good batch of fake blood for your movie, you're not alone. Filmmakers have struggled with this since the dawn of cinema, encountering even greater challenges once color film came on the scene. In this short video from Great Big Story, we get to learn the history of fake blood, as well as secrets of the numerous concoctions that special makeup artists (like the famous Dick Smith) used in their bloodiest films.
These days, you can go online and simply buy a bucket of movie blood. Though it'll cost you a pretty penny (ReelBlood is $120/gallon), it'll be consistent and look pretty damn realistic.
However, if you don't have a huge makeup budget, the ingredients you'll need for Dick Smith's famous blood recipe are super cheap—and non-toxic if you switch out the Kodak Photo-Flo for creamer. Here's what you'll need to make it:
- 1 qt - clear corn syrup
- 1 tsp - methyl paraben (can be omitted, but the shelf life will decrease)
- 2 oz - powdered red food color
- 5 tsp - powdered yellow food color
- 2 oz - Kodak Photo-Flo (TOXIC)
- 2 oz - Water
Keep in mind that if you do use creamer, your fake blood will spoil after a while, so make sure to mark the date on your fake blood container with a marker and some gaff tape.
If you want something simple, safe, and cheap, Karo syrup and red food coloring works pretty well. Corn syrup can be consumed for an "indefinite period of time," or in other words, won't expire for years if properly stored. The only drawback is getting the right consistency and hue. And it's very sticky. I've gotten pretty decent results adding red and green food coloring to Karo syrup and then mixing in some chocolate syrup to give it a nicer, goopier consistency. It also makes the batch darker and less translucent.
Do you have the perfect fake blood recipe? Share it in the comments below!