The Chemistry of Hollywood Bloodbaths

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You know we love us some horror flicks here at Reactions, so this year for Halloween, we’re giving you a historical, chemical rundown of one of the most crucial elements of all scary flicks, fake blood. Make sure to take a look down below for a complete list of all clips used in this movie. Watch them all!

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Kirk Zamieroski

Executive Producer:
Adam Dylewski

Scientific consultants:
Rich Hartel, Ph.D.

Fact Checkers:
Kyle Nackers
Alexa Billow


The Curse of Frankenstein, Terrence Fisher, 1957
Psycho, Alfred Hitchcock, 1960
Blood Feast, Herschell Gordon Lewis, 1962
Color Me Blood Red, Herschell Gordon Lewis, 1965
Night of the Living Dead, George Romero, 1968
The Exorcist, William Freidkin, 1973
Carrie, Brian De Palma, 1976
Night of the Living Dead, George Romero, 1968
The Shining, Stanley Kubrick, 1980
The Evil Dead, Sam Raimi, 1981
A Nightmare On Elm Street, Wes Craven, 1984
The Evil Dead II, Sam Raimi, 1987
Ghostbusters II, Ivan Reitman, 1989
The Babadook, Jennifer Kent, 2014
IT, Andrés Muschietti, 2017


Chemistry of Hemoglobin – http://chemed.chem.purdue.edu/genchem/topicreview/bp/1biochem/blood3.html

Compound chemistry 0n blood – http://www.compoundchem.com/2015/10/29/blood/

Grand Guinol Fake Blood/Methyl Cellulose – http://www.grandguignol.com/callboard1996.htm

Grand Guinol historical fake gore – http://www.props.eric-hart.com/features/the-gore-of-grand-guignol/

Carmine – http://en.cnki.com.cn/Article_en/CJFDTOTAL-JSTW200602005.htm

Carmine in your food –https://www.livescience.com/36292-red-food-dye-bugs-cochineal-carmine.html

Glycerol – https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/glycerol#section=Top

Glycerol – https://www.chemistryworld.com/podcasts/glycerol/7682.article

Methyl Cellulose Slime – Special Effects: New Histories, Theories, & Context; Chaptor 1: Ectoplasm and Oil

Methyl Cellulose info from Dow – http://msdssearch.dow.com/PublishedLiteratureDOWCOM/dh_096d/0901b8038096d9ff.pdf?filepath=/pdfs/noreg/192-01062.pdf&fromPage=GetDoc

The Motion Picture Production Code of 1930 – http://www.colorado.edu/AmStudies/lewis/film/productcode.pdf

Hitchcock Sneaks Past the MPPC with Psycho – https://the.hitchcock.zone/wiki/Production_Code_Administration

Hitchcock used Bosco – Masters of Deception, PG 200.

Bosco used in Night of Living Dead – Night of the Living Dead, PG. 11.
Corn Syrup – http://chemistry.elmhurst.edu/vchembook/548HFsyrup.html

Hammer’s Entry into Horror with The Curse of Frankenstein – The Routledge Companion to British Media History, PG. 419.

Hammer Horror – https://books.google.fr/books?id=nUC8AAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=hammer+horror+films&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjkkeuI_KbVAhXCrxoKHZ-NCqwQ6AEIKDAA#v=onepage&q=hammer%20horror%20films&f=false

Herschell Gordon Lewis’ Custom Red Blood from Barfred Laboratories – The Godfather of Gore, PG. 39

Composition of Koapectate – https://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/DrugSafety/MedicationErrors/ucm080666.pdf

Scientific America Article on DIY blood – https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fake-blood-made-scientific/

Dick Smith – https://filmmakeriq.com/lessons/dick-smith-hollywood-blood/

Methylparaben effect on Sugars – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12115834



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