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Red Handed 4738.jpg

Bob paused and examined the strange, red, five-pronged sigils painted on the wall. "Looks like a mitt-full o' sausages, glued to a ham," he mused to himself. Then it dawned on him. "No! NO! ALICE?"'
Bob and Alice Buy the Farm

Someone is seriously, even mortally wounded. This is represented by a handprint in thick blood. A staple in Zombie Apocalypse films and Horror in general.

The Bloody Handprint may be plastered onto the White Shirt of Death for even more visceral visuals. Alternatively, the audience sees the handprint on a wall, but not the victim: it's a Gory Discretion Shot. Ostensibly the audience is being spared the horrible sight of the victim but the artist knows their minds are working overtime. If the protagonist is following a trail handprints they'll be gripped by apprehension too.

A direct extension is the use of the Bloody Handprint as a symbol, either in framing artwork such as book covers, or in-world. Used in-world it is a classic symbol of savage and violent people, turning up on flags, equipment, and uniforms. Extra points if they don't use paint.

This is quite logical and possible as Truth in Television, since a person's first reaction to pain in their body is to touch where it comes from. Naturally, if you're bleeding, your hand will likely get covered and an aware person may apply pressure to stem bleeding, increasing the bloodiness. When faced with that much blood, a person has other things on their mind than washing up.

Examples of Bloody Handprint include:

Anime and Manga

  • Higurashi no Naku Koro ni. You're not supposed to go for your own throat, Keiichi... The manga has a handprint decorating the back cover of each volume.
  • In the final episode of Code Geass R2 Lelouch leaves one of these - in his own blood - on Suzaku's Zero mask as they exchange their final words after Suzaku stabs him.
  • In Rave Master Musica gets these in his (and Reina's) fight with Ogre after he stops Ogre's superheated goldclaiming pole wit his bare hands.
  • Great Teacher Onizuka: After a serious injury, Onizuka left a bloody handprint on Uchiyamada's bald head. Uchiyamada found it really hard to remove, and almost thought that Onizuka cursed him.
  • In Baccano, Claire Stanfield leaves bloody hand-prints on the outside of the train window. He belongs to the latter example.
  • Lucy in Elfen Lied

Comic Books

  • Echo in Marvel Comics. When her father was killed, he left one on her face.
  • Tintin: Happens in The Crystal Balls.


  • In The Capitol Games, one tribute is forced to cover her chariot costume and her partner's in handprints made with her own blood.


  • God of Cookery as a result of a Barehanded Blade Block being a little more realistic than most depictions.
  • Shaun of the Dead: Once the Zombie Apocalypse begins, two of these adorn a drinks refrigerator in the grocery store where Shaun does his shopping. Shaun doesn't notice them, as well as anything else out of the ordinary.
  • The cover art for the remake of House on Haunted Hill and its sequel is a bloody handprint.
  • Wilson in Cast Away.
  • In The Blair Witch Project the main characters find the supposedly demolished house of Rustin Parr, the walls of which are covered in children's handprints, presumably composed of dried blood.
  • The Mist: After the insane crowd led by the religiously insane villainess stab an unfortunate marine and throw him out the store where the monsters lurk. The last shot before he is violently dragged away into the mist is him putting his blood-covered hand on the window before whispering "please", leaving the bloody print after he's killed.
  • The DVD cover for Creep has a bloody handprint on a subway train window.
  • The Grand Duel: In one scene, a dying victim of one of the villains leaves his bloody handprint on his immaculate white suit.
  • Lord of the Rings: Saruman's mark on his Uruk-hai warriors was a very mild version of this. (He used white paint.)
  • In Halloween: H20, Laurie leaves a bloody handprint on the door of a closet, tricking Michael Myers into thinking she was hiding inside.
  • In Gothika, Douglas Grey leaves several bloody handprints all over the house as he attempts to escape his wife, the posessed, temporarily Ax Crazy Miranda Grey. It makes it very easy to show where he's been.
  • Monsters (2010 film). Seen on a wrecked yacht as the protagonists journey down the river in the Infected Zone.


  • Marc Haddon's A Spot of Bother: While cutting a skin lesion off his lip, George Hall suffers serious blood loss and leaves them all over his house.
  • In Death on the Nile, this is one of a few Red Herrings made to accuse the dead girl's husband's ex.
  • Carrie: Carrie leaves one of these on Mrs. Desjardin's shorts while panicking over her first period—she is under the impression that she is bleeding to death.
  • In a Night Huntress book, Cat enters the house to find a man dead in the kitchen and a trail of bloody handprints leading up the stairs. The wife had dragged herself up to the (adult) daughter's bedroom and died in there.
  • A bloody thumbprint shows up in the Sherlock Holmes story The Adventure of the Norwood Builder. Lestrade thinks that it's conclusive evidence. Holmes agrees, but for a different reason: The thumbprint hadn't been there the night before.

Live Action TV

  • In one episode of Firefly, "Out of Gas" an injured Mal is stumbling through the ship with a gaping gunshot wound in his gut, leaving large bloody handprints on everything, especially most of the medbay. And the engine. And most of the walls. And, when he's reduced to crawling, a good portion of the floor, as well.
  • CSI
    • "Who Are You?": One is found on the floor during a murder investigation.
    • "Unfriendly Skies": One is found on an airliner's cockpit door.
    • CSI also occasionally features bloody footprints.
  • CSI New York episode "Rain": After a robbery, one of the robbers is found in a pool of blood with baby-sized ones leading away from it.
  • The Haunted episode "Demon House". They're found on a baby's crib.
  • ER episode "Twenty-One Guns". Abby places one on a door window just before slumping over and falling to the floor.
  • General Hospital: Sonny had one on his white shirt from when he attempted to hug Michael at the scene of Claudia's death and Michael pushed him away.
  • IT: Also happened in the TV Miniseries of Stephen King's novel.
  • Deadliest Warrior
    • The "Yakuza vs. Mafia" episode used one as a logo to represent the Mafia.
    • In the dramatized battle at the end of the "KGB vs. CIA" episode, a shot and wounded KGB agent leaves one on a door, followed by a trail of blood, allowing a CIA agent to track him down and eventually kill him.
  • Battlestar Galactica: Seen on a Cylon centurion.
  • In one episode of MacGyver, Mac comes across a deserted ship that's been run ashore and ransacked on the inside. Within he finds a Bloody Handprint several times the size of his own, which obviously could not belong to a human.


  • One production of Romeo and Juliet had Mercutio leave a bloody handprint as he was being carried off after getting sliced open by Tybalt.

Video Games

  • Silent Hill Origins. A girl ( Alessa) leaves one on a mirror. Touching it marks your first transition into the Dark World.
  • Silent Hill 4 - A series of them can be seen on the opposite wall of Henry's apartment. They increase by one every time a Victim dies.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines. Bloody handprints on a sarcophagus indicate it may have been opened from the inside.
  • All over the place in Bioshock, but special mention goes to the medical pavilion level.
  • The posters for Left 4 Dead.
  • Resident Evil : Apocalypse.
  • In Dreamfall, the last trace of Reza that Zoe finds is a bloody handprint on the backdoor of Victory Hotel—that is, until he shows up in person for The Stinger epilogue.
  • A handprint is on the cover of Blood, a FPS featuring a truly bloodthirsty gunslinger.
  • Iji: As part of Escape From the Crazy Place; the heroine, wakes up in room overrun with violent aliens. In the background are bloody handprints, and the word 'Help' written in blood.
  • In Star Wars Republic Commando, Sev has one of these on his helmet. Instead of showing that he's either been wounded it's a paint job to intimidate others.
  • These are recurring evidence in Ace Attorney
  • Saints Row 2: A bloody handprint is one of the possible emblems to put on a trucker cap.
  • Kingdom of Loathing spoofs the Cast Away example with the familiar "blood faced volleyball".
  • Almost every Vault in Fallout 3 has at least one on an interior window.
  • The EA logo in Dead Space is covered in 'em.
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2: The emblem of the Brazilian Militia, an enemy faction.
  • Penumbra: Black Plague has a very creepy room with a pattern of bloody hand prints all around the walls at about knee height. Like someone wasn't able to stand, but went around testing the wall for ways out. (This is near a kennel where there's a ton of bloody dog footprints all over.)
  • Fatal Frame has a handful, though there's a particularly scary one in the third game that has to do more with where you find it.
  • Red Faction: Guerrilla: The Marauders, a savage tribe of Martian scavengers use the Bloody Handprint as their symbol. It appears on flags and vehicles. It is emblematic of their feral and violent nature.
  • Half-Life has these scattered around the complex, along with more run-of-the-mill pools of blood. It's usually a good way to tell whether you're going the right way or not.
  • Used as an ominous logo by The Word of Blake faction on their BattleMechs, at least according to the end of the Mechwarrior 4: Mercenaries sequel.
  • A special effect used in Dark Academy stage in Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin have bloody hands appear and disappear on the wall as you walk through one of the hallways.
  • Corpse Party: Blood Covered uses this for a quick Jump Scare in its Game Over sequence. Since this typically appears after one of your characters has suffered a nightmarishly Cruel and Unusual Death...


Web Original

Real Life

  • The coat-of-arms of Catalonia is four red pallets on a gold background. A legend says that it was created when the badly wounded Count Wilfred the Hairy of Barcelona passed his bloody fingers across the golden shield awarded to him by the Emperor of the Franks.
  • The flag of Ulster is a bloody hand superimposed on the St George Cross (red on a white background). According to legend this is because in a dispute over who should rule it was to be decided by who could place their hand on the territory first. One set off running, the other cut his own hand off and told a runner to take it, thus winning the race. This may explain a lot about the Province's bloody history.