With Halloween fast approaching, I’m ready to get all sorts of spooky. When October rolls around, I dive head first into horror movies. I remember the first time I watched Blair Witch Project. I think it was somewhere around this time of year in 2003 or 2004. The sun was still beating bright on the windows so my friend Effie and I tacked up thick blankets on each window pane and wrapped ourselves in an absurd amount of woven blankets with some snacks and prepared to be terrified. Although I was 11, I was no stranger to horror movies. I perched down 2 inches from the screen to watch IT (1990) 5 times in a row when I was merely 8 or 9. I peeked through the hallway to catch chilling scenes of The Exorcist when I was 6. Maybe this is responsible for my twisted sense of humor and horror obsession but I’m okay with that. Now, at 25, I’m always seeking something new that will actually REALLY scare me. I’m talking nightmares for weeks. It’s been a while.. I’m lookin’ at you, Eyes Without a Face (1960). But I’ll pay tribute to a couple of my newer favorites: Raw (2016), and, It Follows (2017). Also Mandy (2018) was insane and the score was unreal, spooked me to the core.
On the note of horror movies, there’s something really chilling about a quiet dinner party. Whether someone is eating flesh, or a simple chicken dinner, normalcy in horror movies creeps me out. I’ve given my two cents about the top food scenes in film, but here are the top horror movie food scenes that will make you lose your appetite.
Dumplings (2004) / Fruit Chan
I got really into Korean horror movies in my teenager years. I remember there was a category dedicated to the genre on Demand and my friends and I would watch terrifying subtitled movies after another. Dozens of mainstream American horror movies are actually remakes of original Korean flicks, like The Grudge and The Eye or example. Please don’t remake Dumplings though. Please. One is enough.
Psycho (1960) / Alfred Hitchcock
There was something so unnatural and sinister in the way that Norman asked Lila to have dinner with him. There’s no surprise that any action of Norman Bates will be unsettling, but they way that he watches her slowly move her food around gives me the heebie jeebies.
Get Out (2017) / Jordan Peele
While this was a short and subtle snacking scene, it was so chilling that it makes the list. Right when we finally see how twisted Rose is, she then proceeds to eat DRY cereal and sip her milk with a STRAW. All while searching for her next victim. Not to mention her oddly symmetrical, clean bedroom and stuffed animal lion lurking behind her. She has managed to ruin my beloved childhood stuffed lion for me, and cereal.
Parents (1989) / Bob Balaban
This is one of my all time favorite movies, and so underrated! When you pair a creepily perfect family with cannibalism, you can’t help but laugh. It balances campy with terror perfectly and thats the recipe for my favorite horror movies. Considering this flick is basically 80 minutes of eating humans, the whole movie is essentially a dinner scene.
Blood Diner (1987) / Jackie Kong
1987 at it’s finest, everyone. This movie is absolutely ridiculous. As long as you remember that you’re watching an 80’s horror movie, you can have a lot of fun watching this. Here we have another gem that basically managed to make the whole movie center around eating, murdering, and oh yeah, seeking blood sacrifices to awaken a dormant Egyptian goddess.
The Last Supper (1996) / Stacy Title
A true gem. A classic tale of graduate students murdering a slew of racist/Hitler praising conservatives during a dinner party and proceeding to bury them in their vegetable garden. This dark comedy gives us a young Cameron Diaz, some inspiring recipe ideas, home decor goals, and wine poisoning tips.
Hannibal (2001) / Ridley Scott
This was mostly likely one of the first horror movie dinner scenes that came to your mind, and with good reason. I mean, witnessing a vulnerable Ray Liotta propped up at the dinner table is shocking enough, and then we add the addition of a missing scalp and chewing on your own brains to the table.
The Perfect Host (2010) / Nick Tomnay
This flick kind of has a darker Clue vibe to it. As if going to a dinner party isn’t anxiety enducing enough, we have people begging to go to a strangers party. Yikes. Regardless, this dinner host doesn’t mess around. Even with John bleeding out on the ground, Warwick offers him a fine wine.
Rope (1948) / Alfred Hitchcock
Yes, this is more of a thriller but it’s Hitchcock so I think it’s okay that it made the list. Plus, the amount of suspense is enough to give you a heart attack and that’s pretty terrifying in my opinion. I’m always fascinated by stories of people essentially murdering someone just to see if they can get away with it, and that felt like a huge element with Brandon and Phillip, considering their elaborate plan to casually have a dinner party while David’s dead body sits in an antique wooden chest. Proving their superiority by committing the “perfect murder” is an interesting take but, hey, power trips are real.
Beetlejuice (1988) / Tim Burton
Saving the best for last. Young Winona, Michael Keaton, Tim Burton, and a ridiculous premise? Yes again and again, yes. Everyone should probably own a copy of The Handbook for the Recently Deceased. I love everything about this movie, but it’s mentioned here for the epic and unforgettable Day-O dinner party scene. Delia throws a swanky soirée which ends in her and her guests being possessed and singing Harry Belafonte's Day-O. To top it all off, their dinner of shrimp transforms into monstrous fingers that help themselves to their face. It’s amazing.
Honorable mention: Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989) Stephen Hopkins
This is an honorable mention as opposed to being a star on the list because it’s the FIFTH Nightmare on Elm Street. Stop making them. I’m not a big fan of sequels. I can handle two, sometimes even three, but when you hit five leave me alone. But yes, of course I saw it, and the scene where he is force feeding her a feast is definitely disturbing. I think they ran out of ideas with this one because every character is so strange and the torture tactics are super weird it almost feels campy.