‘The Goonies’: The Treasure Map Had Real Blood Splatter on It

The Goonies was a family film at heart, but it doesn’t mean that the set held back when portraying some of its more gruesome details. While at its core, it’s about a group of friends embarking on a journey that will change their lives forever, the film spared no details in capturing the gruesome scenes throughout the movies. Sometimes, this meant putting their blood into the film in ways that were quite literal.

A scene from the 'The Goonies' is photographed
Jeff Cohen, Sean Astin, Corey Feldman and Jonathan Ke Quan in a scene from The Goonies | Warner Brothers/Getty Images

‘The Goonies’ remains a classic to this day

According to Mental Floss, The Goonies was based on Steven Spielberg’s idea that was then put to the script by Home Alone director Chris Columbus. With Lethal Weapon director Richard Donner at the helm, it makes sense that the film had such a lasting legacy nearly 40 years onward. However, part of the film’s sell was the cast of young actors, who helped certify its greatness throughout the film

Sean Astin, Corey Feldman, Josh Brolin, and the rest of the cast were either up-and-comers in the industry or soon-to-be stars because of it at the time of filming. While Astin is the film’s lead, it’s an ensemble piece about the adventures that kids embark on in the service of their childhood naivety. However, the treasure map at the backbone of the film turns out to be quite real. 

One of the film’s astounding achievements is a finale on a massive set with a full-size pirate ship floating in the middle. This was no small task, requiring two months of labor to build. However, most of the blood on the screen was not on the ship but on the map that guided them. 

Attention to detail made this movie truly great

The film is not the first ’80s movie that one thinks of when it comes to on-screen gore. After all, this is the decade that has primarily been defined by the slasher movies with gallons of blood pouring out on-screen.

However, when making the map that drives the entire plot, the film’s production design, the late J. Michael Riva, didn’t like any fake blood they were using. He explained how they got around this 

“So we actually had to cut our fingers and edge the sides of it with blood,” Riva explained to NPR. “You do these crazy things. You get so into it.”

This isn’t even the most disgusting part of the movie, however. The film also featured a real-life skeleton to play One-Eyed Willy, the pirate whose treasure is at the movie’s center.

This attention to detail paid off. Now, 36 years later, the film remains a favorite among ’80s kids everywhere. 

Will ‘The Goonies’ return?

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Donner is now in his nineties, but he shows no sign of slowing down. Rumors of a sequel came up as recently as 2014 when Donner told Rolling Stone that he had some ideas for the movie. 

“Hopefully we’re going to get this done, period,” Donner told the magazine. “Steven came up with the idea of doing a sequel after 30 years. … You don’t do it without him. We’ve been trying for a long [time], and he came up with another storyline and he’s right on.”

Despite constant rumors, however, Feldman told MovieWeb that he believes that the project is dead in 2016.

“Richard Donner is 87 years old. And it’s like, no one really wants to make it without him,” Feldman said. “He’s the driving force behind it. He says it’s still alive. But as we all know…When you get to that age, things slow down quite a bit. There is a big possibility that he might not want to keep driving it. So, I think without him, it doesn’t happen.”

Goonies might never say die, and maybe the people behind it don’t either. Whether the film remains a one-off adventure story or we get to see the grown-up versions of the characters, the effort put into the film remains inspiring to this day.

With 36 years of technological advances on top of this, however, it might be hard to recreate the first film’s mastery.