“#The 10 Most Disgusting Food Scenes in Horror Movies“
October is defined in Webster’s Dictionary as “31 days of horror.” Don’t bother looking it up; it’s true. Most people take that to mean highlighting one horror movie a day, but here at FSR, we’ve taken that up a spooky notch or nine by celebrating each day with a top ten list. This article about the grossest food scenes in horror movies is part of our ongoing series 31 Days of Horror Lists.
Hungry, anyone? Well, not for long!
I pride myself on having a strong stomach. There’s very little in the horror department that can make me lose my lunch. A grueling toenail removal? No problem! A drawn-out scalping? A cakewalk! Present me with the dankest perversions of the flesh and I’ll be right as rain. But if anyone chows down on a chicken leg with a little too much gusto, I’m a goner. Under the right ghoulish circumstances, food — regular boring-ass food — can give me the heebie-jeebies in ways no amount of blood and bone can.
Horror regularly teases out the horrific qualities of everyday life. A quiet night in can be infused with menace if you’ve watched too many home invasion films. You might side-eye children right after a viewing of The Omen. Even family pets can seem sinister in the shadow of any number of creature features. So perhaps it’s understandable that the perversion of something as essential, every-day, and comforting as food would cause even the biggest badass (me) to dry heave (also me).
In the spirit of confronting that which scares us most, we’ve assembled ten of the most wretched, rotten, and upsetting food moments in horror — and we’ve made a point of avoiding the obvious disgust that comes from scenes of cannibalism. Dig in at your peril. Keep reading for a look at the grossest food scenes in horror as voted on by Anna Swanson (vegetarian), Brad Gullickson (omnivore), Chris Coffel (omnivore), Jacob Trussell (omnivore), Kieran Fisher (Scottish), Rob Hunter (pescatarian), Valerie Ettenhofer (omnivore with a taste for fowl), and myself (vegetarian).
10. Fortune cookies in It (1990)
People like to say that Stephen King’s novel IT and the miniseries adaptation of the same name ruined clowns for them forever. Okay, but forget clowns for a minute: it also ruined fortune cookies! The scene in which the Loser’s Club reunites after twenty-seven years apart, inexplicably meeting up at a Chinese restaurant to rehash their childhood trauma, is one of the most wholesome parts in any version of this epic clown-monster story.
That is until it’s time to pay the bill and crack open those complimentary fortune cookies. Instead of finding words of wisdom, the six friends encounter a small assortment of nightmares: a gush of blood, a cockroach, an ever-wandering eyeball, a pair of crab legs, a dying bird fetus, and a single hairy tarantula leg. Worse yet, the waitress seems to think that nothing is amiss. Although they’ve found each other as adults, Pennywise’s tricks have isolated them all over again. The nostalgic mood is thoroughly broken, and we viewers have lost our appetites. (Valerie Ettenhofer)
9. Chicken salad in Hostel (2005)
There’s a nauseating moment in Hostel that shows a woman’s eyeball being sliced from its socket. But not even the grossness of that scene can compare to an earlier one in which a Dutchman munches down on a chicken salad with his bare hands. According to the hungry gentlemen, people have lost touch with their connection to food. That’s why he eats with his hands. As someone who’s been hungry and forgot to pack cutlery in the past, I can relate to him to some degree. (Kieran Fisher)
8. Chicken nuggets in Cooties (2014)
In the 21st century, we should probably change the old phrase “you don’t want to know how the sausage gets made” to “you don’t want to know how the chicken nuggets get made.” The opening sequence of Cooties force-feeds us a rapid-fire montage of how our favorite nuggies come together — from the slaughterhouse to the lunch tray, pink slime, and all — and it’s more disgusting than anything else you’ll find in this gory horror-comedy.
What’s hiding inside of our food, and how the fuck it’s going to kill us this time, is likely the genesis for this story about an elementary school besieged by pint-sized zombies after eating some tainted nuggs, so this montage acts like the film’s mission statement. Cooties‘ opening credit sequence is a reminder that we aren’t always what we eat; sometimes what we eat is a whole lot worse. (Jacob Trussell)
7. Spaghetti in The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)
This is the first time spaghetti will appear on this list, but it won’t be the last. As far as noodles go, spaghetti is by far the most ominous: pallid, wriggling, and unwieldy. Covering the cursed pasta in red-sauce only adds to its menace. It’s like a colony of tapeworms breeding inside a liquified corpse. Inherently: this is an off-putting dish.
What doesn’t help, and Barry Keoghan, this is directed at you, is when you eat spaghetti like a starving animal. In a white shirt no less, you absolute maniac. Keoghan’s Martin does horrible things in this scene: he unblinkingly tries to break up a marriage, doubles down on holding children hostage, and demands vague cosmic retribution for the death of his father. But none of that compares to the pure evil this boy teases out of a plate of spaghetti. Also, I cannot prove this, but that pasta is cold. And there is no danker evil than cold spaghetti. It’s unnerving, it’s repulsive, and I never want to eat spaghetti again. (Meg Shields)
6. The feast in A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)
Hoity-toity dinner parties are never fun. The guests, fashion, and dinnerware are often equally obnoxious, and the whole affair is downright unpleasant. Sometimes they can be so boring that you just fall asleep. Unfortunately, that’s precisely what happens to poor Greta in the fifth installment of the Nightmare on Elm Street series, and as result, she’s joined by a new dinner guest: Freddy Krueger.
Old Fred forces Greta to eat herself to death, killing her in a disgusting but highly amusing manner. Greta’s face begins to blow up resembling something from Dr. Pimple Popper as Freddy stuffs it with various forms of something vaguely meat-like and extremely bloody. Just before she plops dead, Freddy hits us with the hilarious “You are what you eat” line. Maybe dinner parties aren’t all bad. (Chris Coffel)
5. Roast chicken in Eraserhead (1977)
What’s more awkward than dinner with your girlfriend’s parents? Dinner with your girlfriend’s parents where you are served unnervingly small roast chickens that bleed profusely when carved. Where do they bleed from, you ask? What a silly question. From “the cavity,” of course! “Now, Meg,” you ask, “how do know it was blood if the film is in black and white? It could have been a gravy or perhaps some very dark marinade.” No. It is blood. I just know it.
After the dinner, it is revealed to our hapless, big-haired protagonist (Jack Nance) that his girlfriend has had his child. If you want to call that snake-faced demon a child. Anyway, what better way to preface the knowledge that you’ve had a kid than a chicken gushing blood out from between its legs when you cut it? Oh, also, while the “blood” (we know it is blood) is oozing forth, frothing, and pooling onto the plate, the chicken’s tiny, horrible legs give tiny, horrible kicks. Thank you, David Lynch. I’ve just lost my appetite. (Meg Shields)
4. Lemonade in Cabin Fever (2002)
Cabin Fever is the kind of film where everyone is terrible and deserves death. But, this entry belies the unfortunate reality that flesh-eating bacteria will make a meal of whoever it can, not just petulant college students. Alas, the hermit’s infected body is floating comfortably in the reservoir, polluting the water supply and tainting all taps, faucets, hoses, and sprinklers. Paul tried to warn the authorities. But unfortunately for Paul, the authorities are dumb as hell. His warning goes unheeded and his body goes, where else, but right next to another water source.
The victorious cops celebrate at the local convenience store, where two adorable children sell them lemonade. Lemonade made with water from the creek flowing over Paul’s festering corpse.* The famous sweetness of lemonade coupled with the knowledge that this batch is made not just with corpse water, but infected corpse water is enough to turn any stomach inside out. In fact, if you drink it, your stomach may very well do just that. (Meg Shields)
*Does the corpse water lemonade in Cabin Fever qualify as cannibalism? Yes.** Did we forget to exclude it from this aspirationally cannibalism-free list? Yes. Believe me when I say we tried very hard to swat away secretly cannibalistic food entries. But when you’re dealing with demonic fortune cookies and possessed poultry maybe a little corpse water is fine. Bottoms up!
**Editor’s note: Does the corpse water lemonade in Cabin Fever really qualify as cannibalism, though? No. Hear me out. They’re not eating that corpse, they’re just drinking the fluid it was stored in for a little while. Is it cannibalism if you stir your iced tea with a finger before drinking it? No, not even if you do it with someone else’s detached finger. Case dismissed.
3. Pizza in A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)
Nothing will make you rethink the meat on your plate like Freddy Krueger digging into Rick the little pizza meatball in A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master. The tiny mouth, the loud scream, the squishy anguish as he goes pop in Robert Englund‘s mouth — gulp. Honestly, just typing these words makes me a little queasy.
This film taught me that every slice of beef or pork on your plate had a soul, and while I continued to chow down on animals for a long time after my first watch, every now and again, I could hear the chunks of dead critters cry out with a similar wail to Rick’s. Thanks, Freddy. (Brad Gullickson)
2. Spaghetti in Se7en (1995)
Eager for a second helping of spaghetti? While I assume the answer is a resounding NO after number seven, that’s exactly what you’re gonna get. And then a third, and a fourth, and a… you get the picture. Se7en thoroughly understands and boldly displays that there are some real godawful ways to die.
Among the film’s heavy-hitting death scenes is the gluttony inspired killing, featuring — you guessed it — spaghetti. Specifically, a lot of spaghetti. Enough to fill John Doe’s unfortunate victim as he’s force-fed with a gun pointed at his head until he gorges himself to death when he bursts. Mercifully, that happens off-screen, but of course, the idea alone is enough to horrify, and David Fincher provides us with enough context to vividly imagine exactly what this spaghetti-caused death would entail. So go ahead, imagine it. (Anna Swanson)
1. Steak and chicken in Poltergeist (1982)
Tobe Hooper‘s Poltergeist remains something truly special and rare — a funny, sweet, and terrifying family-friendly horror movie. From the clown to the swimming pool to every other thrill the film has to offer, it’s a delight for horror fans from start to finish. One of the many standouts, though, is its foray into grossly disturbing food scenes.
It starts innocently enough as a slab of steak inches its way across a countertop while a poor guy watches in disbelief, but it quickly turns horrifyingly gross. The steak begins to erupt with beefy tumors, and the guy, in shock, drops the chicken drumstick he’s been gnoshing on only to discover that it’s crawling with maggots. More terror follows as he tears his own face apart in disgust, but it’s those unsettling glimpses of revolting meat — meat in revolt? — that stays with you. (Rob Hunter)
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