Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Whole Bloody Affair: Aestheticization of Blood

I'll admit it. I'm a wimp. I can't stand the sight of real blood; it makes me queasy and willing to part with my previously devoured lunch. During high school I got suckered into participating in one of those school-wide blood drives. It was actually fine. It felt great donating half a liter of my five liters of life juice to the greater good. I also got out of a quiz and was given some PB&J to boot! Of course I would do it again. The next year, while reclining in the medical chair and having my blood sucked out into an unseen bag, one of the student nurses picks up the bag, shows it to me, jiggles it around, and makes some stupid joke about my blood being "delicious" or something. I promptly vomited then passed out. I hate blood. I hate this semi-viscous liquid that brings life to my body.

Somehow, blood in movies and television is completely alright with me. And as Quentin Tarantino has indubitably shown us, it can be quite spectacular.

This animated scene and of course the crazy 88's are the 2 scenes that really stuck with me. The outrageous jets of blood, which must account for at least ten times as much a normal humans amount of blood, act as another canvas for Tarantino to inject his quintessential style. As O-ren's mother is killed in the bed above which she is hiding, her blood begins to pool in the mattress above. And just as the sound track begins to swell and climax, droplets of blood form and rain down in an emotionally unsettling way. That amount of blood in real life would have me heaving, but I was mesmerized in the beauty of the scene. When O-ren finally gets her revenge, blood literally paints the walls. But with Tarantino's freakish attention to detail, he leaves a bloodless outline of O-ren on the wall as her body blocks the spray in a menacing pose. It seams Quentin Tarantino literally uses blood as the paint and canvass for his art.


  1. Tarantino definitely uses blood in a lot of different ways in this movie. He uses it in touching scenes and then can pull a 180 and use it for gore. While looking around for articles about the use of blood in Kill Bill I came across an article that gives a little insight into how Tarantino made Kill Bill and the process he went through.,9171,349193,00.html

  2. I think the thing with blood is that it's something that no one really ever wants to see in real life. We are intrigued by bloody scenes in movies. But when one encounters blood in real life, they usually do not want to see it (unless of course they are psychotic killers). Blood is something that is meant to be inside of you at all times. When Tarantino shows characters getting dismembered and blood spewing over the walls, we find it comical, on the surface. When I see scenes like that, I can't help but to think "What if that happened to me? What if that blood was coming from the hole in my shoulder?" So, while I am amused at Tarantino's dramatization of dismemberment, I constantly relate to those characters being chopped to bits.

  3. I'm with you on hating actual blood but being OK with blood in movies or on TV. I cannot donate blood, I get so sick just thinking about blood being taken from my body and being placed into a test tube. If I ever cut myself I get so nauseous looking at the blood oozing from my elbow or knee or some other body part. I don't know what it is, but blood just disgusts me. Remarkably though, I have no problem seeing someone decapitated in a film. If I were to see someone decapitated live I would probably pass out immediately; I would be horrified. I think directors these days have such an eloquent way of displaying violence that we almost lose our original fears when we're looking up at a screen. I know I'll never donate blood, not because I don't want to help people, but because I can't stand the sight of it.


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