Redrum: A Colorful, Sinister Supercut

Danger takes many forms but really just one shade.

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Danger takes many forms but really just one shade.

I’m going to tell you something that you already know: red means danger. It’s perhaps the most common color reference out there, aside maybe from red means hot, which is, some would argue, a subdivision of danger. Stop signs, firetrucks, ambulance lights, blood; all of these red things mean danger out in the real world, and in film, too, the color has been chosen time after time by countless directors to indicate, instill, or create a sense of danger.

Look at horror films: Freddy Kruger’s sweater? Red-striped. The only color on Jason Vorhees’ white hockey mask? Red. The cloak worn by the dwarf in Don’t Look Now? Red. The main buildings and central color scheme of Suspiria? Red. The interior decoration color of choice in Fire Walk With Me’s infamous Black Lodge? Nope, not black, red. The bathroom walls in The Shining? Red again. And what’s the title of that Guillermo Del Toro Gothic haunted house movie? Oh yeah, Crimson Peak.

And that’s just horror. There’s also the front door in American Beauty, the neon drenching Ryan Gosling’s character in Only God Forgives, Akira’s cape, HAL’s eye, the cloak of the sex club official in Eyes Wide Shut, and who can forget Darth Vader’s lightsaber? All red.

Point is, though the fact that red means danger is obvious, the way directors choose to utilize the color varies widely, from the subtle to the over-saturated, and in the following succinct supercut from Wouter Sessink all sorts are on display. It’s proof, to me at least, that even though something is so ubiquitous as to be cliché or rote, like “red means danger,” there’s still plenty of space for innovation, novelty, and surprise.

Novelist, Screenwriter, Video Essayist