It seems like it would be an easy task, but no, whittling down the numerous gross and mesmerizing horror film food scenes is a relatively difficult task. There are classics, of course, that most horror fans will immediately point to: Dinner scenes from Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Alien, Eraserhead or Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy, the raw offal consumption by Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby, the campy, slow deaths in Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, the Beetlejuice "Day Oh" dance number when that shrimp cocktail becomes a face-hugging monster's hand.
But the following food clips dig a little deeper into the horror film genre. There was no greater decade that embraced sick food scenes than the gore-loving '80s. Food also plays a big role in horror comedies. Here are ten great scenes to check out before Halloween, and one even comes with its own recipe.
10. What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?
A bold essay in the art of the macabre is how this movie was described in its original trailer. While the movie is famous for resurrecting the careers of its stars and known rivals Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, as well as exacerbating their feud— Davis was nominated for an Oscar for her role as Baby Jane, and Crawford allegedly campaigned against her, even accepting the award for winner Ann Bancroft — this psychological horror still holds up as one of the greatest, campiest films ever made, with one killer food scene. There's nothing more glorious than hearing Davis utter the classic line "Oh, Blanche. You know we got rats in the cellar?" while serving up lunch on a platter.
9. Drag Me To Hell
Nothing like a good old gypsy curse to ruin dinner. Such is the case in Drag Me To Hell, the 2009 comedic horror film from writer and director Sam Raimi, who also did the Evil Dead remake, a sure sign he is a devotee to horror comedy. Over dessert, doomed loan officer Christine manages to stab an eyeball, soaking her plate in blood, and almost chokes on a fly, which she then burps up much to the detestation of her boyfriend's mother. Not too traumatizing an evening for a main character that's also been forced to sacrifice her own kitten.
Fans of the movie will be happy to know that they can recreate the harvest cake via this handy online recipe, say, for an upcoming Halloween party. Don't forget to invest in a cool edible eyeball, or make your own with the family.
8. Get Out
Spoiler alert: Typically innocuous beverages play a big part in the horror of Jordan Peele's directorial debut, Get Out, also of the horror comedic bent, albeit with a deeper, satirical lens aimed at racism. White hypnotherapist Missy sends her daughter's black boyfriend, Chris, into the "Sunken Place" via her tea-stirring, which will allow a white man to take over his entire body. It's basically enslavement tea. After the guy has been trapped and ready to have his body snatched by the evil family, the daughter then takes time to hunt for more black men online in her bedroom while enjoying a big glass of milk with Froot Loops. It's all truly terrifying. But the twist ending is so worth enduring the torturous build up.
7. The Lost Boys
There was a time when actors named Cory were still on top of the world and vampires with LA rocker mullets ruled the box office. The year was 1987 and any kid that saw Joel Shumacher's classic Lost Boys surely remembers the beloved scene in which head vampiro David, played by a platinum pre-Young Guns Kiefer Sutherland, serves up some gnarly Chinese food that leads poor protagonist, Michael, into thinking he's eating maggots and worms.
As if Randy Quaid weren't frightening enough in real life, you really need to see him as a 1950s-era cannibalistic dad. This kitschy 1989 horror comedy, which sadly had zero success at the box office and relatively little mass market appeal, wasn't gory enough for horror buffs and a touch too weird to pull in families either with obvious inspiration drawn from David Lynch and Tim Burton. Take for instance this sausage-as-boa-constrictor scene. Fire up the grill, hun. Dinner's at six.
The beloved horror movie written and produced by Steven Spielberg and maybe or maybe not directed by Tobe Hooper of Texas Chainsaw Massacre fame, was released in 1982 and turned 35 this year, but it still has some of the best gore scenes of all time and that includes food gore. The face peeling scene is a classic with steak that starts to move across the counter and and erupt like a carne-stuffed volcano, a chicken wing crawling with maggots and then, of course, a parapsychologist who goes into the bathroom to vomit and ends up peeling his face off.
The coolest part about this entire scene is that the hands pulling the flesh off of the face actually belong to none other than Steven Spielberg according to horror obsessors Bloody Disgusting.
4. Nightmare on Elm Street 5: Dream Child
Remember all of those extraneous Nightmare on Elm Street movies you stopped paying attention to by the '90s? Well the fifth installment, Dream Child, features one of the gnarliest food scenes in horror history. The movie, released in 1989, the year of "Free Fallin," is actually the sequel to the fourth installment of Freddy movies, Dream Master, which makes this even more convoluted than it needs to be. The only thing you need to know is that "Filet de Barbie" is served and poor Greta gets stuffed to death with her own organs.
3. Killer Clowns From Outer Space
"Nobody stores cotton candy like this." On a space ship. With dead people cocooned inside. But such is the life of a killer clown from outer space, no? The ridiculous film from famed special effects artists the Chiodo Brothers is pretty silly but along with It, undoubtedly contributed to the number of kids who grew up scared to death of clowns. Finally, a movie that puts carnie food to good use. There are scary clown worm things that hatch from popcorn as well as heat seeking popcorn, and there's a melting death by acid pie. But fear not, coulrophobics, a couple of dopes running an ice cream truck help save the day from these clowns who drink human blood from cotton candy cocoons via the world's coolest crazy straws.
2. The Stuff
Something funky bubbling up out of the ground gets marketed and sold as a new tasty frozen yogurt-like substance that never melts. Turns out it also takes over the bodies and minds of the people who ingest it, turning them into aggressive zombies, making their heads explode and threatening to destroy the world. In what is surely guest star Danny Aiello's finest work outside of the Papa Don't Preach video, he is mauled to death by his froyo-addled doberman.
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SHOW ME HOW
This movie is essentially the greatest metaphor for the froyo invasion, or maybe cocaine addiction, ever made. If you want to see what it's like for marshmallow fluff to spew from people's mouths or out of beds or up walls or, better yet, get set on fire while a theme song that sounds like a Flashdance B-side plays intermittently in the background, this one is for you. Better yet, just watch The Stuff blow up Chocolate Chip Charlie's head at the hour and 16 minute mark.
1. Blood Diner
Originally written as an homage to a 1960s film Blood Feast, this truly under-appreciated and totally non-PC 1987 horror comedy written by LA horror punk legend Dukey Flyswatter revolves around two brothers who run a vegetarian diner, serving up human body parts at the behest of the brain of their dead, foul-mouthed serial killing uncle. The brain is kept in a mason jar in the kitchen, naturally, and it instructs the brothers to construct a female body out of the parts of immoral women to resurrect an Egyptian goddess named Sheetar, who will then return to earth to kill everyone or something. The plot is nonsensical, but that's not that important. What is? The fact that this film includes some of the most insane horror food scenes you've never seen including a naked woman who is battered and deep fried and then has her giant tempura-ball of a head knocked off her body with a broom.
What's your favorite sick food scene? Leave a comment and link to your favorite. Or send a tip to firstname.lastname@example.org