I love Halloween! And to help everyone celebrate this year, Matzo and Rice asked our good friends at the Molotov Theater Group to do a guest blog on how to make your home made edible blood!
And now, a guest post by Lucas of Molotov Theater Group!
Halloween is my favorite holiday because it is all about glorifying the bizarre and grotesque. Washington DC’s Molotov Theatre Group, “America’s Second Oldest Theater of Grand Guignol (Theater of Horror),” relishes keeping the Halloween spirit alive year-round. As a horror-centric company, we go through stage blood by the gallon. I imagine the loyal Matzo and Rice reader might be thinking, “What does this have to do with food?” Well put a sock in your inner monologue and I’ll tell you.
There are many different options afforded when building a blood effect. Stage blood manufactured by professional make-up companies is very washable, comes in a variety of consistencies, and in some cases, edible. However, this “store bought” stage blood is also very expensive, a fact that stings all the more when you think about it while on your hands and knees scrubbing it off the floor after the show is over.
An alternative to store bought blood is to make a homemade concoction of your own. Depending on what you are using the blood for, these homemade mixtures can be an effective and budget-conscious way to achieve the same effect.
We have made several different types of blood using kitchen materials. The mixture is chosen after considering how the blood will be used. For example, the blood used for arterial blood spray will have a very different quality than the blood resulting from a razor cut. The former will need to be looser so it can be sprayed long distances. The later will be thicker than actual blood, as the blood should stay put on the arm, simulating a cut into the flesh. The following recipe is one that produces a blood very similar in color and viscosity to actual blood. Measurements are vague, as this is more of an art than a science. While making your creation, remember two important rules:
- It’s done when it looks right.
- You can always add more of an ingredient, but you can’t take it out.
Dark Cairo Syrup
Red Food Coloring
Blue Food Coloring
Peanut Butter (optional)
Shallow Bowl (preferably white so you can better judge the accuracy of color.
Spoon (or some other stirring agent)
Dump however much cairo syrup into a bowl as you want. I recommend dark syrup, because I think it helps achieve a more accurate color, but the clear syrup will do in a pinch.
Next add your red. Pour a little into the cairo, then stir. Repeat until the syrup is a bright red. Remember, you can always add more, but you can’t take it out.
Next add a VERY tiny amount of blue. This is the most dangerous part of the recipe, as too much blue will turn your blood purple and ruin the batch. If this happens, throw it away and start again. No matter how much more red you add to the mixture at this point, it will never look right again. Trust me. However, it is important to add the blue, since there is blue in real blood. Without it, the blood will look too bright and red. I’m sure everyone has seen cheap horror movies with blood that looks like ketchup. This is due to a lack of blue.
After you achieve a realistic looking hue, you may choose to add peanut butter. The oil in the peanut butter will help keep the dye in the blood from setting into any fabric the blood touches. It also gives the blood more body if you are using it for an effect that you want to stick in one place. Using chunky peanut butter is great for simulating things like brain matter. This mix would also taste delicious on pancakes or waffles!
Many of our other effects come from the kitchen, which makes a lot of sense when you stop and think about it. When simulating organic matter, it makes sense to use organic matter. The key to producing convincing, edible effects is thinking outside of the box and remembering that the simplest solution is often the most effective. See pictures of some of Molotov Theatre Group’s creation and learn more about Grand Guignol, the French theatre of horror, at www.molotovtheatre.org.