As a general rule, I’m not squeamish about gore and many kill scenes are forgotten as quickly as they occur! However, horror movie food scenes get kneaded deep into my brain and bake there for decades.

Maybe it’s because I’ve always had to be hypervigilant about food (I have a soybean allergy that’s sent me to the ER on more than one occasion), but most tomfoolery involving food really irks me. That scene in Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) where Robin Williams’ character “jokingly” attempts to murder Pierce Brosnan’s character by lacing his dinner with seasoning the latter is allergic to? Absolutely unforgivable. Go directly to jail, Sir!

Food is an essential part of life, and the act of eating is so excruciatingly vulnerable. There’s so much trust involved in the entire process. Is it any wonder that sharing a meal can go far beyond mere survival? Many of the most memorable horror movie food scenes involve eating with friends or co-workers, eating with family (or bringing someone special home to meet the folks), eating for comfort… And how that trust can be broken and the entire process can go incredibly wrong. True horror.

Okay. Enough stalling. Here are 13 of the most memorable horror movie food scenes…

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This probably goes without saying, since I know our readers have common sense, but there are some images in this post that are exceptionally gross (even I have to scroll by quickly in a few cases!). Also, from this point forward, this post contains affiliate links.

1. The Custard in Dead Alive (1992)

Watch Dead Alive (1992) on Amazon Prime.

Dead Alive also known as Braindead is a fantastically fun Peter Jackson horror film that follows meek Lional Cosgrove, a young-ish man living at home with his mother, Vera, in 1950’s New Zealand. Lional and Vera don’t have the best dynamic (his mother is very controlling and you get the vibe that ol’ Lional could easily go full “Norman Bates” under the right circumstances), and their strained relationship gets tested even further once Vera is turned into a zombie!

Now, Dead Alive is perhaps best known for the MASSIVE amounts of bloody gore effects throughout the film. One of the final scenes, in particular, drew attention for using just shy of 80 gallons of fake blood!

The blood in Dead Alive didn’t even make me blink. Completely unphased. By the time I watched Dead Alive for the fist time when I was 13, I’d already seen so much real blood that, if anything, it was extremely cathartic… And I certainly felt a lot tougher because my reactions to blood were nowhere near as over-the-top as the characters on screen! I felt super brave!

And then the custard scene happened.

I’ll be 40 in about half a year from now and I still haven’t been able to watch Dead Alive‘s custard scene from start to finish without turning away. Through multiple rewatches of the film, I’ve seen the entire scene — but I haven’t been able to watch it all in one sitting.

As a horror fan so enthused by the genre that I created an entire website dedicated to it, I sometimes get asked what scenes have been “too much” for me. Now you know what’s NUMBER ONE on my list! Pus squirting into custard is my absolute undoing. I can’t even write about this scene any more!! Moving on…!

2. The Shrimp Cocktail in Beetlejuice (1988)

Watch Beetlejuice (1988) on Amazon Prime.

Whew! Let’s do a fun one now! The shrimp cocktail/”Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)” scene in Beetlejuice (1988) is absolutely iconic.

In an incredible attempt to exorcise the living from their home, ghost couple Adam and Barbara take over an entire dinner party via musical possession. The acting, the 1956 Harry Belafonte single, the dancing… it’s all perfect.

And, of course, the scene ends with the entire party getting face-grabbed by their servings of shrimp cocktail!

In addition to this being on of the best food scenes in a horror comedy to date, I also find it memorable due to my personal connection with it. I remember the shrimp cocktail hands not only from the film, but from real life, back when my parents were painting them for the movie.

Rob Tharp painting Beetlejuice Shrimp

That’s my dad, Rob Tharp (above), and my mom, Cathy Tharp (below), at Bob Short’s FX shop in 1987, working on the shrimp cocktail hands that would be used in Beetlejuice (1988).

Cathy Tharp Beetlejuice shrimp cocktail arm

You can see a bunch more of our family photos from the behind-the-scenes/making of Beetlejuice from when I interviewed my dad about it back in 2020. For now, we have 11 more of the most memorable horror movie food scenes to get through! Scenes like…

3. The Crew’s Last Nice Meal in Alien


Watch Alien (1979) on Amazon Prime.

The last nice meal the crew of the Nostromo shares together before all heck (chest)busts loose!

Prior to this, the crew had been worried for their good buddy Kane (John Hurt) because he’d had a run-in with a facehugger and was knocked out in Med Bay for a while. But Kane woke up and, other than a lil memory loss, seemed just fine.

Everything’s totally hunky-dory and it’s time to have a nice, casual meal with plenty o’ jokes and…

…oh. Nevermind.

4. The Burger in The Howling (1981)

Watch The Howling (1981) on Amazon Prime.

43-year-old spoilers for the very end of the movie: Just as The Howling is wrapping up and you’re still catching your breath from Dee Wallace giving her absolute all to warn the public about werewolves on National television, and you think that the horrors have finally come to an end, the camera pans across a bar full of dudes. The guy on the end orders a pepper steak. And then he offers to buy a woman a hamburger.

The woman is Marsha:

And when they ask Marsha how she’d like her hamburger, she gives the answer that’s the leading cause of food poisoning: “Rare.”

And THAT is how The Howling ends! On werewolf Marsha’s RARE burger patty!! WHAT?!?

5. The Pizza in A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)

Watch A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988) on Amazon Prime.

Speaking of films staring a Horror Hottie, Lisa Wilcox as Alice Johnson shares a very memorable pizza with Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master.

There’s something about seeing the main character’s loved ones turned into meatballs on a pizza that sticks with you! But this wasn’t the only food horror in the NOES franchise…!

6. The Dinner Party in A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)

Watch A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989) on Amazon Prime.

As if the “everyone’s looking at YOU” aesthetic of the dinner scene in A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child isn’t uncomfortable enough, it transitions seamlessly into an actual nightmare for poor Greta (Erika Anderson).

She ends up in a high chair, force fed by Freddy, to the point she starts choking.

And Freddy isn’t the one you call to “burp” your baby! But Greta had a glimmer of hope when she was able to mentally connect with Alice Johnson and they shared this vision of one of horror’s most memorable refrigerators:

It’s a whole lotta food-based horror crammed into one scene!

7. The Steak in Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Watch Rosemary’s Baby (1968) on Amazon Prime.

There’s a scene in Rosemary’s Baby where Rosemary puts a raw steak in a pan, gives it a quick “tss tss” on each side (barely flipping it), and plates it to be consumed. And, when I originally saw that, I thought, “Oh man, that looks so good…”

And you might be thinking, “Well, Lauren, that’s not SO weird. By the time Rosemary gets the steak to the table, it’s fully cooked. It’s not even remotely rare!” And you make a great point, Fam; and I compliment you on catching that film goof, as well! Good eye.

However, later on, when Rosemary is genuinely chowing down on raw meat (and freaks out when she catches her reflection in her toaster), I still thought it looked pretty tasty! And that’s when my loved ones thought there might be something very wrong with me. They were right: I had severe iron deficiency/anemia caused by my extremely heavy menstruations.

So, if the meaty meals in Rosemary’s Baby are some of your most memorable horror movie food scenes for all the wrong reasons, it’s quite likely you need a doctor and a trip to the vitamin aisle more than you need demon removal services.

7.5 The Steak in Poltergeist (1982)

Watch Poltergeist (1982) on Amazon Prime.

As I was writing about the steak scene in Rosemary’s Baby, my dad walked by and asked if I was also going to include the steak from Poltergeist (1982). I was not. This is my list of memorable horror movie food scenes and I didn’t remember that scene until he mentioned it!

Okay, so, Dr. Marty Casey (Martin Casella) is in the haunted house’s kitchen at night and he’s comically holding a chicken drumstick between his teeth when he sees a raw steak crawl across the kitchen countertop.

For me, seeing the film well into adulthood, all I could think of was the music video for “The Decoupage” by Taranchula (a fake Death Metal band within the Homestar Runner/Strong Bad universe) in which stop-motion meat makes it way around pieces of rusty metal.

Plus, the second half of that scene — the face-peeling-in-the-mirror half! — is so much MORE memorable than the food part that it just didn’t occur to me to list it. But Dad insisted that it certainly was a memorable horror movie food scene, so I’m including it as number 7.5 on the list.

8. The Fried Rice in The Lost Boys (1987)

Watch The Lost Boys (1987) on Amazon Prime.

The screenshot above, of Kiefer Sutherland as David in The Lost Boys, is one of those images you can HEAR. Tell me you didn’t hear, “You don’t like rice? Tell me, Michael: How could a billion Chinese people be wrong? C’moooonnnnn…”

Followed by:

“How’re those maggots? … Maggots, Michael. You’re eating maggots. How do they taste?”

Food pranks. Truly, the most heinous of all vampire shenanigans!

9. The Walking Chicken in The Frighteners (1996)

Watch The Frighteners (1996) on Amazon Prime.

The Frighteners starts out with Dee Wallace being chased around by a very scary, clearly murderous ghost. It’s an extremely intense opening that shows the ghosts in this world mean business!!

Or do they? 

A few minutes after meeting a few more of the film’s living characters, we’re treated to ghostly antics that include a floating Elvis statue, a levitating bed, and this uncooked chicken walking goofily down a hallway.

It’s this food-related scene that alerted 11-year-old me that there was more than one type of ghost in The Frighteners! I was already on board for a scary ghost movie, but now I was getting to watch a scary ghost movie that also had ~silly~ ghosts? I was delighted and, to this day, The Frighteners remains one of my Top 5 Favorite Movies. And this moment with the walking chicken — when “the penny dropped” in my young mind that this wasn’t just a horror movie, but a horror comedy — is a horror film food scene that I’ve always liked. (Though I’d never try to replicate it. Salmonella risks).

10. The Cornish Hens in Eraserhead (1977)

Watch Eraserhead (1977) on Amazon Prime.

One of the most awkward dinner scenes in any genre comes from David Lynch’s Eraserhead. In it, Henry Spencer goes to his girlfriend Mary’s parents’ house for dinner. Upon arriving at the family’s home, he’s interrogated by his girlfriend’s mother while Mary is visibly trying to keep herself from having a meltdown. Then, Mary’s father bursts into the room, oblivious but very friendly, and proclaims:

“I thought I heard a stranger… We’ve got chicken tonight! Strangest damn things — they’re man-made! Little damn things, smaller than my fist! They’re new!!”

And he’s not wrong. They appear to be cooking Cornish game hens for dinner, a variety of “single serving” chicken that was achieved in the late 1950s by purposely cross-breeding poultry until the desired size and whatnot was reached (making them, in a sense, man-made; and “new” to the general public). But these particular chickens, much like the dinner itself, aren’t quite right:

Eraserhead little manmade thing no bigger than your fist

Fun Fact: My parents saw Eraserhead on their first date. They’re celebrating 41 years of marriage this year!

11. The Brain Meal in Hannibal (2001)

Watch Hannibal (2001) on Amazon Prime.

Hannibal (2001) is the sequel to The Silence of the Lambs (1991) and continues the story of FBI agent Clarice Starling and charismatic cannibal Hannibal Lector.

Things haven’t been going super well for Clarice at the FBI and her job security is looking pretty shaky. That’s when Mason Verger – an absolute ick “victim” of Hannibal Lector who deserved everything that was done to him yet somehow survived – calls up and performs a number of manipulations to get Clarice re-involved with the Lector case in order to draw Hannibal out of hiding.

It works. But Clarice wants to do a good/legal job of apprehending Hannibal and that interferes with Mason’s plans. So, Mason Verger bribes Ray Liotta (Operation Dumbo Drop), a Justice Department official, to suspend Clarice from duty. Basically, Ray’s playing a super frustrating character that’s getting in the way of the heroine and mucking things up while being rude and generally unscrupulous — all character traits Hannibal is known to loathe.

So, when Ray Liotta’s character, Paul, is suddenly being unexpectedly pleasant during an impromptu dinner party, you know something’s very wrong. But what could it possibly be? And then you notice the blood trickling down from underneath his hat.

Hannibal Lector is using Justice Department Paul’s brain as the main course for dinner! Paul even eats a piece of his OWN brain before the scene is over!! And Hannibal even packs up some of Paul’s brain in a very fancy to-go box – garnished with beluga caviar, figs, and the like – to enjoy again later on in the film. Wild!

12. Sam’s Lollipop in Trick ‘r Treat (2007)

Watch Trick ‘r Treat (2007) on Amazon Prime.

Sam is a mysterious child who appears in each of the stories presented in the horror anthology movie, Trick ‘r Treat. You’ve probably seen him, even if you haven’t watched the movie yet (to which I say: it’s been 17 years! go watch it already; it’s really good!!). He’s the one wearing orange pajamas with a burlap sack mask with lil button eyes. Super cute.

Anyway, before the opening credits have even rolled, a man tells his wife to respect Halloween and its traditions and don’t blow out the candles in the Jack-o-lanterns prematurely. Well, as a horror fan, you know exactly what she does.

Next up: A brutal death courtesy of Sam, wielding the festive lollipop he was licking as a weapon.

Again, not too much of a spoiler since all this happens within the first few minutes of the film, but boy is it one of the most memorable horror movie food scenes of the 2000s! In fact,’s Christi Bandy has Sam’s lollipop as a tattoo on her forearm, she loved it so much — making it a food scene from a horror movie that’s not only burned into her mind but inkily stabbed into her skin! How many horror foods can say that, right??

13. The Family Dinner in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

Watch The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) on Amazon Prime.

Given my obvious expertise and the fact that own & operate a horror website, this may come as a surprise to you, but I hadn’t watched The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) until last month. I know, I know. Shameful. I just didn’t get around to it. And then, when The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs started up, I assumed that they’d probably play it eventually and I’d watch it that way. But we’re six seasons into the show now and that still hasn’t happened, so my husband Frank and I had to have a Texas Chainsaw date night.

I could see why the “family dinner” scene stands out to folks! Seeing photos or hearing about it doesn’t quite do it justice. It’s really something else.

The smokehouse sausages “meal” shared by Sally and the Sawyer Family in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre have been on fans’ lists of the best horror movie food scenes for 50 years now. And now it’s on mine as well!

What Memorable Horror Movie Food Scenes Have Stuck with YOU?

Did you think I forgot the corn cob death scene in Sleepwalkers? I didn’t. I just don’t consider corn cobs edible/food, so I didn’t count it in my list of memorable horror movie food scenes. 😉

And PIES are so plentiful in the horror genre (Killer Klowns from Outer Space, Sweeney Todd, Thinner, etc.) that they could fill their own separate post!

But I’m sure there are some really crazy food scenes in horror films that I did forget about — or haven’t seen yet — and I’ve love to hear about the ones burned into YOUR brain! Let me know about ’em in the comments’ section.

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Images in this post are screenshots from owned films or were purchased for review purposes via MovieStillsDB, Shotdeck, and Filmgrab.

About the Author

Lauren Spear (née Tharp) is the owner of, a formerly super-respectable multiple award-winning website for freelance writers that's now just a wacky place where she tries to cheer people up any way she can. Lauren's also's primary founder/owner! Lauren grew up in the horror industry (her parents did practical special FX work for many of the horror movies you love from the '80s and '90s) and she basically created this site so she could freely gas on about creepy stuff and stop having to pretend to be normal. o_O

  1. Fun lil behind-the-scenes story for this post:

    This piece on memorable horror movie food scenes had been in my writing drafts since 2020, but I held back on publishing it for a couple reasons, the biggest being that I didn't have access to the images I wanted to include with it. The second was that I wanted to watch The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) so that I could include it if it was, indeed, worthy of inclusion (it was!).

    I was so happy to finally have this post ready to go after four years that I didn't stop and think "I didn't update my list in all that time." lol. As a result, two hours after I hit Publish, I ended up facepalming really hard and waking up my husband at 2am saying, "I forgot to add the cheeseburger scene from The Menu!!!"

    He responded, "I think that's okay. That ENTIRE movie was a food scene!" Which is absolutely true (and made me feel better). But we both enjoyed The Menu (2022) and if anyone's reading this comment, you should check it out. It's a fun one.

    PS: If you’re interested, I also wrote a bit more about this post over on my personal/life blog, which also went into more details on why my number one “cover my eyes” horror movie scene involved tainted custard rather than a gruesome kill –

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