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EP18 Case

I saw you in your wedding gown, the prettiest dress

I came into your room that night and made such a mess

In my own way, I lovingly kiss the bride

With your ring in your hand, your eyes and your mouth open wide

In my eyes, blood drops look like roses on white lace...

There's something about seeing a Woman In a White bridal gown which is covered in blood. The juxtaposition of the joyous event the wedding dress is supposed to signify with the brutality or tragedy that the blood indicates makes for a striking image. The fact that the red of the blood stands out well against the white of the dress adds to this.

This can be used either to evoke sympathy in us if the bride has gone through something horrifying, or to alienate us from her if she has committed a horrific act herself. Or a bit of both. Sometimes just used to add some surreality to a scene.

What a bride might wear when her Wedding Day goes really bad. Compare with White Shirt of Death, Bloodstained-Glass Windows and Snow Means Death.


Examples:

Anime and Manga

  • Pictured above: The imagery is used in Detective Conan when a beautiful bride is the victim of the week, having been poisoned by her Groom in revenge for her Dad's part in the death of said Groom's Mother, 20 years ago. Unusually for this trope, said Bride gets better.
    • Subverted in a case where a bride gets stabbed by the killer of the week... but she was wearing a thick corset as a protector. And she wasn't actually a bride, but an Action Girl acting as a decoy for the real bride-to-be.
  • Not a true example of this trope as it isn't a wedding gown, but Murder Princess has an archetypal "Disney Princess" dress that gets repeatedly covered in blood, that evokes much the same striking image.
  • In Code Geass, seeing the sweet, naive Princess Euphemia massacring innocents in her frilly dress was a wham. The fan nicknames "Genocide-tan" and Euphinator cannot even begin to summarize the impact of the scene.
  • In Gun X Sword, the bloodstained wedding dress is all we see from Van's late bride.
  • Not truly a good example but in the final chapter of Haou Airen, we see Hakuron, the groom, in a blood-splattered white suit after getting shot.
  • In Darker Than Black, an Ax Crazy Mafia Princess wore a white dress to her birthday party, where she intended to have her father and most of his officers killed. Then her "pet Contractor" turned against her, and since his power was blowing a hole in anything he got blood on...
  • In Gunnm Alita kicks some mecha ass wile wearing a wedding dress at one point. She wasn't going to marry anyone tough.

Film

  • Kill Bill -- unsurprising, given that the main character is a Badass Samurai-swordswoman called "The Bride". (A chapter of the film is even called "The Blood-Spattered Bride", a typical Tarantino filmgeek ref to the Spanish vampire film 'La Novia Ensangrentada'). The final battle was supposed to involve her fighting in a wedding dress, but due to time constraints, we get the Anticlimax Boss of her using a heart-exploding technique on Bill, without him even getting up.
  • Little Shop of Horrors features this, although because at the last second a new ending was tacked on, the blood appears and disappears depending on the shot.
  • It wasn't a wedding dress, but the horrific humiliation of the titular character of Carrie with the pig's blood saturating her prom dress is real close.
    • Another not-wedding-dress example: Bette Davis' character in the flashback opener of Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte.
    • And yet another, Helen Mirren's character in Red is shot in the gut and bleeds on her white dress (she survives, though).
  • Visually invoked in La Reine Margot when King Charles bleeds all over her white gown. Said gown is not Margot's wedding dress, though.
  • After everything goes to hell at the end of the obscure horror film The Stepfather II, the female main character staggers in a daze down the aisle in a blood-drenched wedding dress.
    • That's not a typo by the way: there were three of the films. And there's a remake as well.
  • In the James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service featuring the first and only time to date where Bond marries, his wife Tracy is gunned down on their wedding night while driving home following the service.
  • In the obscure Anna Nicole Smith thriller To The Limit, a bride and groom are machine-gunned as they're leaving the church following the wedding ceremony.
  • The Hong Kong action movie Black Cat (based on the original La Femme Nikita movie) has a scene where the titular assassin bursts into a Jewish wedding and shoots the bride in the head.
  • In the old (1941) Jeanette McDonald movie Smilin' Through, McDonald's character is shot dead at her own wedding.
    • This was the third remake of a movie based on a 1919 play (written by and starring Jane Cowl). Norma Talmadge (1922) and Norma Shearer (1932) also had...unfortunate wedding scenes.
  • In The Deer Hunter some not-so-subtle foreshadowing occurs during a wedding when a bride accidentally spills red wine on her dress during a drinking ritual. (The ritual was to ensure luck, of course and since this is a movie about the horrors of Vietnam the groom's fate should come as no surprise.) Yeah, it's not exactly blood that spills on the dress per se, but the imagery and the resulting bad luck echo this trope.
  • In the Hong Kong action movie Queens's High Cynthia Khan's wedding is disrupted by a shootout, and she runs around with an Uzi in her blood-stained wedding dress chasing the attackers.
  • In Breaking Dawn: Part 1, Bella has a nightmare in which Edward eats all the wedding guests. Not only is her wedding dress bloodied, but everyone is wearing white dress clothing (suits, tuxes, dresses, etc.) and covered in blood.

Literature

  • As part of his motif of blood-splattered white things to emphasize how the violence of World War II affects a rural Quebec village, Roch Carrier includes a blood-splattered wedding dress in La Guerre, Yes Sir!.
  • Rosalie Hale's Backstory reveals that after being turned into a vampire, she took revenge on her Jerkass ex-fiancee and his friends after they gangraped and left her for dead in an alleyway. She wore a wedding dress to do so.
    • A notable aversion though. Rosalie specifically made sure to NOT spill blood because she was a newborn vampire and would not be able to avoid drinking their blood if she did. She didn't want ANY part of them inside her.
  • In the last act of Federico Lorca's Bodas de Sangre (Blood Wedding), the bride enters the church where her wedding was to have taken place; her white dress drenched with the blood of both her groom and her true love who have slain each other over her.
  • The titular heroine of Lorna Doone is shot at the altar as she is about to marry the man she loves. She survives.
  • The second Firekeeper book, Wolf's Head, Wolf's Heart starts off with a wedding between the new heir to Bright Bay and Hawk Haven, former enemies. Lo and behold, it is interrupted by assassins from the former ruler of Bright Bay not happy with losing her kingdom to a proper leader. The bride takes a massive wound, bleeding all over her dress, while her husband suffers only a very minor wound. Which, you know, is bad, because the weapons were poisoned, and bleeding all over her dress allowed the bride to get the poison out of the blood stream.
  • Inverted in Lords and Ladies, in which Magrat's mail-order Queen dress gets reduced to bloodied shreds before the wedding, due to her kicking arse during the elves' invasion of Lancre Castle. She could've changed clothes afterwards, but she and Verence decided not to wait a moment longer and got hitched in what they were wearing at the time. Bonus points because she also wore bloodied armor over the tatters of the dress.
  • The eponymous character in the book Anna Dressed in Blood died in the dress she was going to wear to an school dance, which, of course, was white.
  • When Ellony marries Valraven in Chronicles of Magravandias, an old wound reopens and bleeds all over her gown. Played with in that women wear red wedding dresses and Pharinet first thinks the color of the fabric has come off on Ellony's hand.

Live Action TV

  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - Mac tries to fake his own death by driving his car into a wall and is badly shaken/concussed by the event. Disappointed that the car doesn't blow up, he takes his friend Charlie to go get something to help things along, he finds a wedding dress in a pawn shop which he is completely enamored with. When he and Charlie return to the car, Mac is wearing the dress and bleeding all over it.
  • MASH - In the episode "Margaret's Marriage," Head Nurse Margaret Houlihan is being married in the MASH's mess tent, when the ceremony is interrupted by incoming wounded, and after the ceremony is sped up, Houlihan, still in her wedding dress, and the rest of the doctors and nurses, still in their dress uniforms, have to rush to operate on the wounded. They all end up with blood on their clothes.
  • The season 3 finale of Dexter ends with a drop of Dexter's blood from his injured wrist falling onto the back of Rita's wedding dress as they dance at their wedding. Possibly a foreshadowing of how marrying a serial killer is going to get Rita killed by Trinity at the end of season 4.
  • Smallville - Chloe Sullivan in season 8, episodes 10 & 11.
  • In the Torchwood episode "A Day In The Death", Maggie, a woman Owen later talks to, was covered in blood following the fatal car crash an hour after her wedding. Also, in "Something Borrowed" Gwen's wedding dress gets splattered with some black alien blood.
  • The UK Crime And Investigation Network has a Trailer for the show Snapped: Women Who Kill which shows us a bride. The narration asks us what we would do if we were getting our wedding dress fitted when our groom-to-be phoned up telling us the wedding was off. The camera pans back to show that the bride is holding a gun and that her gown is covered in blood.
    • Also, in the episode where she actually got married, she immediately has to go into the OR, and is only wearing a scrub apron over her wedding dress as a bit of protection.
  • An episode of Lie to Me has a bride spattered with blood when her new husband is shot at the reception.
  • Kamen Rider has done this once in Kiva. Mio attempts to kill Taiga during there wedding ceremony. However the blood is later shed on her by Bishop, making this a possible subversion. It should be noted this is the only time we see a Fangire bleeding, and even then its blue.
    • Another subversion comes in Decade where in her visions Natsumi is always wearing a white dress. It is revealed it the last episode to be a wedding dress. It also crosses with Blood Spattered Innocent as she is forced to watch either Decade kill everyone or Decade get killed. The season finale hints at the latter, though he survived for two new movies to end the series in December

Music

  • Non-wedding-dress example: about half way through The Birthday Massacre's song Happy Birthday, the speaker's black-and-white dress becomes a black-and-red dress. It should be noted that this is the song that gave TBM their name.
  • Alice Cooper's "Roses on White Lace" is a very literal example
  • The covers of My Chemical Romance's "Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge" and "Life On The Murder Scene" feature a woman in a blood-spattered wedding dress (though it's much easier to tell she's in a wedding dress on the cover of the latter).
  • Kate Bush's "The Wedding List": "God help the bride / She's a widow, all in red / With his red still wet."
  • There is an English ballad called "The Rose and the Lily" that invokes this trope. Done by Eliza Carthy and Norma Waterson on the album "Gift".

Theater

Opera

Video Games

  • The backstory of the character Bloody Mary from the game Twisted Metal Black tells how she finally snapped at a friend's wedding, tired of always being the bridesmaid and never the bride. She stabbed the bride to death and stole the bloodstained dress to wear herself.
  • Magazine scans of the upcoming Parasite Eve sequel show Aya Brea toting her guns while wearing a wedding dress. Got to wonder who she's marrying...
  • Xenogears. Especially unique is that the player can get that dress as equipment if they don't attack Dan in the martial arts tournament
  • Perhaps not quite the same, but in Saga Frontier, Emilia spends the last scenes of her quest (including the boss fight and following violent scenes) in the wedding dress she never got to wear after her fiancee was murdered. Of course, if it ends happily, her dress is put to correct use and is completely clean. The official artwork of her in her dress and veil, holding a large gun, makes for a striking juxtaposition.
  • Subverted in Final Fantasy X, where Yuna wears a very white dress as she attempts to make Seymour un-undead.
  • As once pictured above, during the city elf origin in Dragon Age: Origins a Female Warden is kidnapped by the arl's son during her wedding, which results in this as she proceeds to slaughter the entire guard of the castle she was held captive in. While she gets better armor almost immediately, nothing stops the player from playing through the entire scenario in the wedding dress for some extra badassery. It's really just a bit fancier looking clothing though (unlike the one shown in the concept art), but given that the character is a commoner in a medieval era it is probably closer to reality.
  • The Left 4 Dead 2 DLC The Passing features a Witch in a wedding dress. Playing the wedding music startles her, and startling her provokes a Horde attack.
  • In Clive Barker's Undying, Lizbeth wears one of these.

Tabletop Games

  • One of the sample characters in the Hunter: The Vigil sourcebook Slasher is the Painted Bride, a woman possessed by the spirit of a murdered bride who manipulates other brides into murdering their groom-to-be. For her, the blood splattered dress look is permanent; if she wears other clothes, the colors turn white after a couple hours, and red streaks begin to appear on her chest after that. Likewise, as a Legend (think Candyman), her means of possession/summoning usually involves the bride getting something red on their white dress.

Web Comics

  • While it's not a lot of blood, Oasis still qualifies in this Sluggy Freelance strip.
  • A blood-spattered bride is not actually seen, but in this strip we see that Penny Arcade's Tycho and Gabe are well aware of the power of this trope.

Web Original

  • This little gown from Deviant ART.
    • It's Rosalie Hale from Twilight, see Literature section
  • This set of photos on Wedinator submitted by the lady pictured, she decided to wreck her wedding dress this way to celebrate the finalisation of her divorce. It appears to be cow blood.

Real Life

  • Angelina Jolie decided she wanted one of these when she married Jonny Lee Miller, so she wrote the groom's name on the white shirt she wore to her wedding, in her own blood.
  • The sad case of Estrella Carrera, who was found stabbed to death shortly after her wedding, still dressed in her wedding gown.
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