In honor of the black friday, I would like our present our devoted and probably tiny fan-base with what I view to be the most truly unappetizing and distasteful scenes of eating in film history. Evident to everyone who has ever watched people eat after becoming full or observed residual soup on anyone’s mustache, something about eating and disgust just go together. If that isn’t evident to you, I hope these NSFW clips veritably ruin your post-thanksgiving leftovers.
The Fly (1986)
David Cronenberg’s visceral masterpiece The Fly provided us with some pretty disgusting moments. After a experiment with a teleportation pod goes horribly awry and scientist Seth Brundle’s (Jeff Goldbum) DNA becomes inexorably fused with that of a fly, the movie becomes a non-stop horror show of pustules, ground-meat looking skin, and various appendages falling off. To name a few of these horrors, Brundle snaps a trucker’s wrist asunder in an unfair arm wrestling match, Veronica Quaif (Geena Davis) gives birth to a gigantic maggot in a dream sequence, a baboon gets turned inside out, and Jeff Goldbum is shirtless for a good portion of the film. But one scene that always particularly disturbed me (especially as I first watched the film while eating an Italian Beef in fourth grade) is when Brundle demonstrates his descent into the annals of inhuman fly-logic by grabbing a donut and proceeding to vomit his own stomach acid on it for the purposes of digestion.
Nothing does the heart good like watching a deformed Jeff Goldblum barf onto a glazed donut.
Originally released as a short film in the east-Asian horror compilation movie Three…Extremes, Dumplings tells a tale of philandering husbands, black market abortions, and fetus dumplings. In the quest to become younger and gain the favor of her disinterested husband, Mrs. Li (Miriam Yeung) seeks treatment from Aunt Mei (Bai Ling), who specializes in creating fetus dumplings intended to rejuvenate the consumer. This film was clearly the best film within in Three…Extremes and the short film’s ending is much more concise and interesting than that of its later film adaptation. That being said, for some reason the fetus-eating didn’t gross me out as much as it did for the other people I was watching the movie with. Balut, or developing duck embryos, are a popular (and apparently nutritious) street food throughout Southeast Asia, and in this snack the embryo is usually eaten whole. To me, chopped up human embryos in a dumpling-format seem more palatable by comparison. In all honesty I’d probably eat the fetus-dumpling over the developing duck embryo.
Dead Alive/Braindead (1992)
There are plenty of disgusting moments in Peter Jackson’s 5th film, the horror-comedy flick Brain Dead (released as Dead Alive in the U.S.). Though a baby rips through a woman’s face, zombie parts fly with the help of an upturned lawnmower, and a man punches his fist through the back of a woman’s head, the dinner scene particularly gets my goat. I don’t know why this one bothers me more than other moments in the film. Something about the combination of creamy substances, fat men, and disintegrating old women. It probably would have just been gross enough watching a fat man eat custard for 5 minutes.
Salo, or 120 days of Sodom (1975)
Released shortly after the director’s tragic murder, Pier Paolo Passolini’s Salo recontextualizes the Marquis de Sade’s 1785 novel in the final days of Mussolini’s regime in Italy. Following the exploits of a group of wealthy libertines who sadistically (no pun intended) torture and sexually humiliate a large group of teenagers, this film has more coprophagia, or feces-consumption, than you could shake a stick at. But for those of you who haven’t seen it, there are much more disturbing and harrowing scenes of coprohagia in the film. After re-watching this clip, and seeing the scene out of its original context, its black comedy made me laugh a bit. Still, I’m not going to be eating chocolate or beef for a couple of days.
The Tin Drum (1977)
I’m not sure why I included this one because it doesn’t gross me out nearly as much as the clips above. After my father told me multiple times about the scene, my sole impetus for watching this film was to see eels taken out of a horse’s head. Though I love this scene in and of itself, Volker Schlöndorff’s The Tin Drum holds much more intrigue beyond it. The puking woman in the clip, Agnes Matzerath (Angela Winkler), the main character Oskar’s (David Bennet) mother, develops an addiction to raw fish soon after and eventually dies because of it. All and all, at least these chefs were slightly humane in their eel cutting techniques. It beats the Iron Chef method of pinning the eel down and slicing its wriggling body while still alive.
If we’ve been able to learn anything out of this experience, it’s that horrible skin deformities and crumbling ears are not conductive to eating.