Horror Movie Dictionary: Blood

I am in blood stepped in so far that should I wade no more, Returning were as tedious as go o’er.” That’s from Macbeth.

Gory visuals of blood can cause a significant drop in both heart rate and blood pressure, reducing the amount of oxygenated blood flow to the brain. In a Ohio University study, more than 27% of respondents said they feared fainting before donating blood, compared with the figure of people who actually faint (4%). Blood injury and injection (BII) phobia is a really common psychiatric disorder

There’s a reason blood is so liberally deployed in horror films.

The real tragedy as far as the horror movie genre is concerned, is that scary films are seldom critically lauded except when there’s restraint when it comes to blood and gore.

Mass market sanguine-free supernatural releases are among the few times the tower gatekeepers descend from the parapets and deign it worthy to review a horror film. Occasionally, relatively bloodless slashers slip through the cracks (Halloween and Child’s Play were warmly received).

Blood doesn’t make a good movie bad, nor the reverse. And handled correctly it’s a showstopper. Handled incorrectly and it’s a CG mess, covering up sloppy film-making like a rust-bucket’s paint-job. Evil Dead, Blood Feast, and Dead Alive are a few of our favorite syrupy, bloody messes (for those interested in Blood Feast, listen to our podcast interview with maverick splatter-horror director, the late H.G. Lewis)

Oddly, many films with blood in their title aren’t all that particularly bloody (and there are a LOT of plasma-related movies: Bloody Wednesday, Blood Hook, Silent Night, Bloody Night, Blood Rage, etc, etc). But that’s probably just marketing.

Of note, two of most influential films in the entire horror canon have blood in their title, Herschell Gordon Lewis’ Blood Feast, and Mario Bava’s A Bay of Blood.

Horror Movie Dictionary: Demons

“The sleep of reason gives birth to monsters!”

That line is from Lamberto Bava’s Demons (the movie-within-a movie part), where teens are puttering around a cemetery and come across an ancient tome (spoiler alert: never, ever open ancient books and read out weird incantations. It didn’t work for the folks in Evil Dead either).

The “sleep of reason” bit is something we lifted for fair use in our Really Awful Movies Podcast intro (we actually reached out to the distributor to get their approval, which surprised the heck out of them as forthrightness isn’t the order of the day online). The dialogue from the film is a variant of a phrase, The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters, an etching by Spanish romantic painter Francisco Goya, part of his series called “Los Caprichos (The Caprices).” (William Blake’s “May God us keep From Single vision and Newton’s sleep” is its anti-quote).

Demons is a film that inspired our line of merchandise, and graphics for this very site’s banner. At first, we deployed our other favorite, Bill Lustig’s Maniac, but Demons seemed more appropriate as the series’ combination of silliness and disgusting gore really resonated with us.

Demons is a near-perfect movie, especially for the ethos of this site, and associated podcast. It’s as enjoyably stupid, gory, weird, and violent as any movie in the horror pantheon. It has a plot that is so ridiculous it could’ve only been conceived by Italians. And it also has a cochlea-assaulting soundtrack of 80s cheese metal that is the perfect tonal accompaniment to skidding around on a motorbike hacking zombies.

The etymology of “demons” is from the Greek, daimōn meaning “deity, genius.” So, it took a few thousand years for the word to go from the sublime to the ridiculous. Still, with its power to entertain decades later, Demons is a popcorn movie in the truest sense, especially as it’s set in a movie theater.