The Celluloid Pantry: Frightful Food

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This being a cooking site, we usually try to keep things tasteful at The Celluloid Pantry. But this week, in honor of Halloween, we’re venturing back into the dark corners of the cinematic cupboard to see what ghoulish delights we can cook up for you.

Last year, we honored the occasion with the devilishly dark chocolate “mouse” in Rosemary’s Baby (1968) (and a recipe from Vincent Price, no less), and in the past we’ve touched on sinister treats like exploding caviar and poisoned port in Kind Hearts and Coronets (UK, 1949). But what about the truly gruesome? Here are three movie meals that are definitely not for the squeamish:

The Lost Boys (1987).
It’s all in his head. Or is it?
New kid on the boardwalk Michael Emerson (Jason Patric) tries to play it cool while dining in the subterranean hideout of some California Goths with decidedly nocturnal habits. But he does a double take when offered Chinese takeout by leader of the pack David (Kiefer Sutherland, above). What looks like rice and noodles one minute won’t keep still the next. And that dark red liquid in the decanter—that’s red wine, right?

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Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984).
"So do you have anything simple—like soup?"
While dining at the palace of a pint-sized maharaja, Indy (Harrison Ford) favors talk over food, choosing instead to question his hosts about the legend behind a mystical stone. His traveling companion Willie (Kate Capshaw, right) wastes no time, though—she's starving. But hunger soon turns to horror as she's served up a banquet of roasted boar, baby snakes, eyeballs, and beetles. And the pièce de résistance ? Chilled monkey brains for dessert.

The Silence of the Lambs (1991).
"Lamb chops, extra rare."
That's what the brilliantly psychotic psychiatrist-turned-killer Dr. Hannibal “the Cannibal” Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) orders up in prison after hearing of FBI cadet Clarice Starling's (Jodie Foster) childhood compassion for lambs sent to slaughter. An avid reader of Bon Appétit, Lecter shows a little erudition in the kitchen, preferring to serve up choice bits of his victims "with some fava beans and a nice chianti."

What’s your favorite scary meal?

- Nora

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Nora Maynard is a freelance writer based in New York City. Her recent work has appeared in Salon, Drunken Boat, and The Millions. She recently completed her ninth marathon and her first novel, Burnt Hill Road. Nora wrote for The Kitchn from 2006 to 2011.