Horror fans sure do have quite the voracious appetite for all things gruesome, as my first Meals of Horror installment had you wanting more movies to feast upon. In case you haven’t read it yet, click here to do so before reading on. Now, that you’ve had a taste, I think it’s time to serve up a second helping of the most wonderfully macabre meals to ever appear in horror films. Once again, after you finish reading, feel free to post in the comments section below to suggest other morbid meals you’d like to see appear in future installments. Okay, let’s dig in, shall we?
OODLES OF POODLES!
This first suggestion came from reader Carlill, and it was already on my list of scenes I absolutely had to cover in this article series. Theatre of Blood (1973) starred the late, great Vincent Price as a Shakespearean actor who decides to terrorize his critics. In what’s easily one of the most memorable sequences in the entire film (which pays tribute to Shakespeare’s classic tragedy, Titus Andronicus), Vincent’s character Edward Lionheart bakes a delicious pie for one of his critics, Meredith Merridewa. What could Merridewa possibly love more than a tasty pie? Well, his pet poodles – or his “babies” as he refers to them – are his most beloved things in the entire world. Edward decides to combine the best of both worlds, by using Merridewa’s precious poodles as the main ingredient in his pies! Merridewa is quite rude, however, for he doesn’t want to eat the pies. So, some of Edward’s vagrant pals hold Merridewa down so he can force feed the poodle pies to him. After Merridewa dies, Edward makes a post-kill quip that even Freddy Krueger would be proud of: “Pity… he didn’t have the stomach for it.”
I gotta say, there are few movies I’ve watched more times in my life than The ‘Burbs. It’s just one of those movies that never gets old, no matter how many times I view it. It’s a warm blanket. It’s comfort food. It’s also one of the greatest horror-comedies of all time, with absolutely perfect casting. It’s basically an extreme version of having strange neighbors living next door in suburbia, only to discover that all your worst fears about them are true.
One day, Ray Peterson (Tom Hanks) and his friends reluctantly decide to visit the Klopeks (their creepy new neighbors), in hopes of learning more about what they’ve been up to. The Klopeks are a truly odd family, and they’re clearly not used to having guests over, so Hanz Klopek does his best to be a good host by offering his guests sardines and pretzels. Nobody wants to eat the sardine, but Ray’s wife Carol (Carrie Fisher) wants him to be courteous and eat one. Horrified by what he’s about to do, Ray grabs a slimy sardine, lays it onto a pretzel, and shoves the entire thing in his mouth. I cannot even begin to describe the sounds of him starting to chew on the thing, but suffice to say, the foley audio person must’ve had a field day with this scene. It’s absolutely repulsive and hilarious at the same time, and then Tom Hanks sells it even more by going into a crazed, seemingly allergic reaction, until he yacks up the food into a nearby newspaper. How Brother Theodore (Uncle Reuben Klopek) kept a straight face for the full duration of this scene never ceases to amaze me. If you haven’t seen The ‘Burbs, do yourself a favor and remedy this immediately.
While we all love to talk about Crispin Glover’s amazing dance sequence in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, it’s important to remember some of the other classic scenes in the movie, including the kills. And I gotta say, amongst the earliest kills in the movie is one that no horror fan should ever forget. So, there’s a hitchhiker in the woods looking to get a ride to Canada; her sign reads about peace and love, but also says “Fuck you!” on the back for anybody who drives by and mocks her. Hey, you gotta be prepared for any situation, right? And speaking of being prepared, she packed a nice little meal for herself while waiting for a generous person to give her a ride: a banana. Hitchhiker (sadly, that’s the name they gave her character, but we can call her Miss Chiquita) begins peeling open her banana and starts to eat it. Unbeknownst to her, Jason Voorhees has just walked up and decided to stab her right through the throat from behind. It’s an awful way to go, and the pain she’s experiencing is shown with a close-up of her fist, squeezing the hell out of banana so it squirts out from within the peel. Never before had a banana in cinema felt the brute force of Jason Voorhees.
I also like to imagine what would’ve happened if Miss Chiquita had other foods or beverages in her hand at the time of her death. Could she squeeze a tube of Go-Gurt so that it shoots out and gets all over Jason? Could she squeeze a champagne bottle so hard that the cork fires out and knocks Jason unconscious? The possibilities are endless!
Who could possibly forget the impactful kills of John Doe in Se7en? Many copy-cat films were created as a result, but none came even remotely close to capturing the tension and atmosphere ofSe7en. John Doe punished each of his victims in a completely ruthless fashion, basing his kills on the seven deadly sins, and when we saw his first victim based on Gluttony, we knew we were in for a truly different kind of killer. John Doe forced this poor obese man to eat can after can after can of spaghetti until his stomach burst. It was chilling to think of a killer who had that kind of patience and callousness to just stand there, holding his victim at gunpoint, and making him eat cheap canned spaghetti until his death.
And from now on, when you watch the final scene where Brad Pitt’s character asks, “What’s in the box!?”, I want you to imagine it’s a lone cane of SpaghettiOs. Why? Because you’re gonna burst out laughing, and nobody else in the room will understand why. It’ll be our little secret. The spaghetti secret.
DON’T EAT THE WORM!
Know any alcoholics who just can’t quit? No problemo. Forget about sending them to AA meetings, just have them watch this scene from Poltergeist II: The Other Side, and they’ll be on the wagon before you can sing “God is in his holy temple…” in a creepy voice. Steven Freeling has been hitting the sauce pretty hard, and who can blame him? When you consider all the things his family has been through over the course of two Poltergeist films, it’s amazing he’s not doing heroin at this point. Well, on this particular day, he’s chugging some tequila (though Mezcal is what it would be in reality) and swallows the worm that was floating around at the bottom of the bottle. Unfortunately for him, that worm was possessed by the evil spirit of Reverend Henry Kane. Now Steven is possessed as well, and after terrorizing his wife, he finally barfs up the huge worm that’s grown exponentially inside his stomach, and we’re treated to a slimy, skeletal monstrosity with the grinning face of Kane. Chug all the Pepto you want, but it’s not gonna cure that kind of indigestion. And that, my friends, is why I’ll stick to drinking water.
FOOD FOR THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE!
Ah, Soylent Green. A total classic, and there’s no way I would leave it out of this series of articles. For those of you who haven’t seen the film (and if you haven’t, I must ask… why!?), it’s all about how the world has become overpopulated in the year 2022, and citizens are given food rations by the Soylent Corporation, including their newest green wafer product, Soylent Green. These wafers were supposed to contain proteins produced by plankton in the sea, thus providing humans with the nutrients they’d need to survive during these trying times. However, the lead character, Detective Frank Thorn, eventually discovers that the plankton that’s supposedly in Soylent Green is no longer in the oceans, so that can’t be what’s inside of it. So what exactly is inside those green wafers? How are they still filled with protein? Come on… even if you haven’t seen the film, I’m sure you’ve heard the infamous quote: “Soylent Green is people!”
Fans of the movie should also know that there were some Soylent Green crackers released a few years back, and while they’re no longer in production, they do pop up on eBay from time to time. It’s a great item for those of you who like collecting horror memorabilia and/or want to know what people really taste like.
WE ALL SCREAM FOR ICE CREAM!
Finally, I wouldn’t want to leave you hanging without paying homage to this b-movie gem from 1995, starring Clint Howard. The Ice Cream Man is that classic tale we’ve all heard a million times before: Boy sees ice cream man murdered. Boy goes to mental ward. Boy gets out of mental ward. Boy is now all grown up and becomes a serial killer ice cream man.
In all seriousness, I’ve always found this movie to be an absolute blast. It’s funny as hell, and if you ask me, this was the role Clint Howard was born to play. Watching him try to be creepy as possible in such an absurd role is entertaining enough, but seeing him serve up a severed head in a comically large homemade waffle cone with a cherry on top to an ultra-horny woman takes the movie to another level.The Ice Cream Man isn’t just dumb, it’s absolutely ridiculous. But it’s the best kind of ridiculous. It’s a gift that all horror fans should devour… just don’t eat it up too quickly, or you’ll get brain freeze.
That’s all for this second piece in my “Most Memorable Meals of Horror” series. Be sure drop a comment below, on the Dread Central Facebook page, or tweet me at @imockery or with your suggestions for the upcoming third installment! As Audrey II would say… “Feed me, Seymour!”