Hello again, on this early Monday morning. I say it’s early, but 8 o’clock might not be early at all for some of you. Since graduating, I have fallen into the habit of sleeping until nine or ten, and I knew I had to break that habit! I never felt accomplished if I didn’t start my day earlier.
Does anyone else feel like that?
Today, we are finally getting back into the special effects world. From the title, you probably guessed it already: fake blood. Is it worth buying the products when you can make it at home for half the cost? (Honestly, it is probably less than half but I haven’t plugged in those numbers yet to figure it out.)
I recently purchased three different types of blood from Ben Nye: Dark Blood, Stange Blood, and Thick Blood. All three products cost me around fifty dollars total. Yikes! My unemployed wallet was not pleased about that, but I had some money saved up still from when I was working at school. These products had to be worth the hype and cost, right?
Well that’s what I wanted to test. Was I paying for a good quality fake blood, or the fact that it was “Zesty Mint Flavor.”
So this is what I used:
- Ben Nye Dark Blood
- Ben Nye Thick Blood
- Ben Nye Stage Blood
- a spatula tool
- a spray bottle with water
- three squares of photo paper (it is thicker than normal paper so I didn’t have to worry about making a mess.
To start, I just took a small dot or dollop of the fake blood and added it to the photo paper (as seen above.) I also added a little streak of it just to get a better sense of the color. Aesthetically, the dark blood is the one I like the most. I like that aged, oxidized look of blood when working with special effects. I like it old, drying, and crusty. There is something about that grudge vibe of it that I really like.
The con of this dark blood? It is super sticky. Honestly, these all should have come with a warning, because it gets everywhere.
The good thing about it (even if it gets everywhere) is that it is just corn syrup base, so it rises right off with a little water. This blood also looks amazing once it’s dried a little and set. When spritzed with water, it runs beautified, in my opinion. It doesn’t separate or break down. It keeps a good consistency. Out of the three, this one is probably my favorite.
I will always admit when my first impressions are wrong. My first impression about this thick blood was something along the lines of “get me some toast cause I think I just ordered some jam.” That is exactly what this consistency is like, or even thicker depending on your jam preference.
I had no clue what I was going to do with something like this, if I was being honest with myself. I spent a few days messing around with it, and I realized it is great “filler” blood. Not as dark or as crusty as something like a scab wound, but something that has just started to heal. I used this blood in a fresh stitches tutorial.
(leave a like or a comment if you’d like to see a post of the tutorial)
The blood is a little bright for my taste, however. I wish it had the color of the dark blood more, but I was expecting more of a scab color. This is easily workable by making sure your wound is darkened with some paint or eye shadow. Because the consistency is so sticky and thick, it does take a couple tries to figure out how to work with it, without getting it everywhere or making it too thick or thin on your skin.
Is it an essential product? Eh… Maybe not essential, because there are other ways to simulate that type of effect, but it is a nice little extra to have in your kit if you have the money.
Now for my least favored blood of the trio. The Ben Nye Stage Blood. Honestly, I felt that I was paying more for the Zesty Mint Flavor than the product. (spoiler alert: the dark blood also was mint flavor.)
For my taste, this product was just too bright red for me, almost a little orange-ish. I think this blood is better for photos rather than film. However! I did like how easy it was to work with.
Quick example: When Schlep TV was filming our up and coming horror short, we used this in one of our actor’s mouth. We wanted it to be thinned out since it was obviously going to be mixed with his spit. All we had to do was add a few drops of water and it worked like a charm. This blood is super workable when trying to get a different consistency. You made it too thin? Just add a little more blood from the bottle. It’s pretty forgiving.
Am I saying this blood is bad?
No. It is just my least favorite of the bunch so far. (Besides Halloween store blood. That stuff is terrible and a little dangerous, if you ask me.)
But is it worth the money? … Depends on how much money you have in your budget. If you could only afford one, I would go for the Dark Blood. It is just as workable as the Stage Blood, and I think the color is better when it comes to film.
What if it isn’t in your budget? Buy a bottle of clear/light corn syrup, and mix up a batch yourself. It won’t last as long (it has a self life about a week or two) but we (as a group) had better luck with getting that pooling blood effect. We just added a little red (okay, a lot of red) food coloring, and just a drop or two of blue food coloring to darken it.
There are endless recipes online for fake blood, but my personal favorite is Goldiestarling’s recipe. You can find the video here.
Hope this was helpful for all of you who are just starting out, like I am. Keep on being gory out there, until next time.