Still hungry? Good...
...Last week, I released part one of a two part list discussing some of the best dinner scenes in horror, and this week, I'm back with a second helping!
Below, you'll find five more of some of the most memorable, nauseating, tense dinner scenes in the genre! Of course, there are only ten films on this list but quite a few great dinner scenes in horror, so if you don't see one of your favorites mentioned, post it in the comments below!
Hannibal - Open Your Mind to New Flavors
As Hannibal Lecter, played by the always brilliant Anthony Hopkins in Ridley Scott’s 2001 film, Hannibal, would say, “it’s important to try new things.”
Those are the words he gleefully utters to Clarice (Julianne Moore) as he scoops out a fresh piece of brain Jell-O from Ray Liotta’s skull. In some cultures, animal brains are a delicacy, and for Lecter, human brain is one of the finest dishes there is. A scene as amusing as it is disgusting, in which we watch Ray eat (and enjoy the hell out of) his own head pudding, it’s one of the most unforgettable moments in the Hannibal Lecter franchise and stomach churning dinner scenes in general. This is also the second time Ridley appears on this list (previously with Alien), so what does that say about the man that he’s so intent on destroying our appetites?
Ah well, pour the Chianti and open up the hatch, because here comes a plane full of Ray Liotta brain!
IT (1990) - Fortune Cookie Surprise
Who doesn’t love fortune cookies? A light, crispy dessert. Inside, a random fortune making statements as obvious as the fact that the sky is blue or that watching Halloween III will improve your day.
I’ll tell you who doesn’t like fortune cookies…Me! And it’s all thanks to a Pennywise surprise in Stephen King’s IT 1990 mini-series.
When the Losers Club finally gathers for the first time as adults, they meet at a Chinese restaurant, and it’s one of the warmest moments of the film. The music is upbeat. The laughs are rolling. And it feels like a scene that can’t possibly be interrupted, come Hell or high water …until the Losers open up their fortune cookies, only to find them filled with eyeballs, blood, and other ghoulish fillings! The spider legs are shudder-inducing enough, but then you throw in the squeaking baby bird, and this grotesque moment was almost too much to handle for my terrified kid brain.
Excuse me sir, would you like your fortune cookie? No thank you, I’ll take my chances without it, good fortune be damned!
You're Next - Animal Dinner Guests
Back in 2013, one horror film caught audiences completely by surprise and introduced them to the talented duo of director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett (the team behind The Guest and Blair Witch 2016). It also brought star Barbara Crampton back to the horror genre after a long hiatus.
That film is You’re Next, and it has one of the most shocking dinner scenes in horror.
In the film, a family divided by tension has come together for dinner, and at first, it’s like any family gathering. That is, until one guest takes a peek out the window and gets an arrow through the eye! What follows is a pulse-pounding, terrifying invasion of animal-mask wearing killers armed to the teeth. It’s a moment that, like many on the list, remind us how soon mom’s turkey can suddenly be squashed by a murderer, and how we’re never truly safe, no matter how those around us make us feel. So, careful where you eat dinner, because you might be next.
The Lost Boys - Maggot Fried Rice
As Seth Brundle from The Fly might attest too, flies are the worst, and their maggot spawn are some of the most disgusting creatures to live on earth. No one looks at a pile of maggots and thinks yeah, that’s fine. These squirmy, white little scum-suckers are enough to make an iron stomach cave. So of course, horror filmmakers toss them into the scene whenever they can, and the fact that they look like rice is something director Joel Schumacher took full advantage of in The Lost Boys.
When Michael (Jason Patric) follows Kiefer Sutherland and fanged friends in the hopes of making a wish with a Star (Jami Gertz), Kiefer offers him some Chinese food. Sure, why not, seems like good stuff at first, until Kiefer mutters “you’re eating maggots” and Michael suddenly has wriggly bits falling from his mouth. Yack! Not only is it a cruel (but clever use of Vampiric Jedi mind tricks), but it’s a waste of mediocre Chinese food!
This is the second time Chinese food has been the brunt of a horror gross out on this list. What’s with that?
Drag Me to Hell - Seeing Eye Cake
Director Sam Raimi (The Evil Dead, 1981) has always trafficked in gross-out humor. Evil Dead 2 has an eyeball to the throat. Ash vs The Evil Dead season 2 has full on corpse-fisting. And Raimi’s terribly under-appreciated Drag Me to Hell has Harvest Cake.
Yes, Harvest Cake.
Nasty enough on its own (by law, cake should never resemble anything the least bit healthy), but the Harvest Cake in Drag Me to Hell is special, because it’s the kind of cake that likes to watch you eat it! In the film, Christine (Alison Lohman) has been cursed by a gypsy and has only a few days to save her soul from a demon that is destroying her life one piece at a time. Meeting boyfriend Justin Long’s parents for the first time, Christine finally experiences some relief, thinking herself rid of the demon, before it sets its eye on her as an eyeball in her cake! The cake was already gross, so no loss there, but it’s a torturous moment for Christine, as it signals the destruction of the last good thing she has. Blending Christine’s abject terror with Raimi’s sense of humor makes for a fun, shocking gross-out scene that out-worsts any meet the parents story by a mile.
By Matt Konopka