Considering that Thanksgiving originated from giving thanks and sacrifice for a good harvest, it’s surprising how few horror titles there are dedicated to the holiday.
But while the Thanksgiving-set horror offerings might be few, there’s no shortage of disturbing, gory, and gruesome scenes in horror set at the dinner table. Fitting, considering how the holiday has become synonymous with gluttonous feasting with the family.
In honor of Thanksgiving gluttony, we’re setting our sights on the grossest, most gruesome dinner moments in horror!
Se7en – Gluttony
The killer at the center of David Fincher’s crime thriller drew inspiration from the seven deadly sins when selecting and murdering his victims. All of which died in seriously twisted ways. For gluttony, Detectives Somerset and Mills investigate a filth and bug-infested crime scene; the obese victim face down in a bowl of spaghetti at the table. His hands and feet bound together with barbed wire, and a bucket below to catch any, uh, spillage. The victim was forced to eat until he passed out, then the killer kicked him in the stomach until it ruptured. It’s brutal.
Wrong Turn 2: Dead End – Force Feeding
The first film established the inbred cannibal family that slays those venturing into their back wooded territory. For this sequel, director Joe Lynch ramps up the gore with glee. When the group of erstwhile survivors have dwindled in numbers, final girl Nina is captured and forced to be the dinner guest. As in tied down to her chair with barbed wire, taunted in a scene reminiscent of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and force-fed human flesh.
Hostel: Part II – Italian Cannibal
It’s such a small but effective scene. Late in Eli Roth’s follow-up to Hostel, there’s a moment where the Elite Hunting Club are offering up a kill to their other members after one fails to uphold his end of the bargain. They knock on the door of a man simply credited as “Italian Cannibal,” played by none other than Cannibal Holocaust director Ruggero Deodato. The Cannibal declines the offer, because he’s busy hosting an elegant dinner party for one; he’s calmly and carefully carving away at Miroslav. And Miroslav is still very much alive and aware that he’s on the dinner menu.
Audition – Feeding Time
Not a traditional dinner table scene, but a disturbing supper nonetheless. You can count on Takashi Miike to bring the stomach-churning horror moments, and this is an all-timer. For most of Audition, Miike dupes you into thinking the film is a romantic drama devoid of horror. Slowly, subtle and not so subtle hints drop that something is seriously wrong with Asami. Her apartment is mostly unfurnished, save for a large burlap sack. One that moves on its own. Eventually, it’s revealed that she’s keeping a former lover, broken and mutilated in the bag. For his nightly feedings, she vomits into a dog bowl and serves.
I Saw the Devil – Human Meat
Kyung-chul is a depraved serial killer with a penchant for dismembering his victims. When he happens to kill the pregnant fiancée of special agent Kim Soo-hyun, it sparks a grisly cat and mouse game that continues to escalate the violence. After taking a few beatings, Kyung-chul turns to his friend Tae-joo for help. Tae-joo is a cannibal, and it’s his dinner time. He noisily feasts away, chewing in between declarations that nothing tastes as good as human meat. It’s a disturbing moment in one of the most disturbing films of all time.
Eraserhead – Cut it Like Chicken
Poor Henry Spencer. He’s just trying to survive his strange world and his angry girlfriend, Mary X. Neither one seems to love the other, which only adds to Henry’s horror when she invites him for dinner to meet her parents. His apprehension is proven correct when it turns out to be the most painfully awkward and bizarre dinner ever. Mary X’s dad asks Henry to carve the “man-made chickens,” and they soon pulsate and ooze thick blood. It’s as strange as it sounds, but the scene also serves up the core themes of the film. Meaning there’s an added heft to the imagery that makes this unsightly dinner all the more unsettling.
Slugs – Dinner Meltdown
In this 1988 horror film by Juan Piquer Simon (Pieces), a small town is inundated by toxic waste slugs that go on a homicidal rampage. Because this is a Simon flick, those deaths get pretty gnarly. The most memorable of which takes place at a restaurant, over a business dinner. One of the dinner guests isn’t feeling so well. Unbeknownst to him, he’d eaten slug contaminated lettuce previously, and it’s done a number on his insides. A painful meltdown, profuse bleeding, and slug larvae explosions ensue. All appetites at this restaurant are effectively destroyed.
A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child – Filet de Barbie
Greta is a reluctant aspiring model, thanks to her mother’s pressures and constant badgering. Throughout most of The Dream Child, Greta struggles with an eating disorder over her model pursuits. So, naturally, it’s something that Freddy Krueger exploits in the ickiest way possible. A dinner party nightmare grows to repulsive levels when Krueger straps her into a high chair, cuts open a “Filet de Barbie” and spoon-feeds its flesh to Greta. Really, though, he feeds Greta her own organs, stuffing her to death. Literally.
Dead Alive – Pass the Custard
Peter Jackson’s epic splatter film is a gore lovers dream. There’s no shortage of intestines, flesh, copious blood flow, and body fluids in this zombie rom-com. The worst gore moment guaranteed to test your gag reflex, though, is the scene that involves Lionel’s mum having colleagues over for a proper luncheon. Vera Cosgrove is already well underway in her zombie transformation thanks to a Sumatran Rat Monkey bite, but she pushes on as if everything is normal. Even when that means rotting away in front of her guests. Too bad they’re oblivious; Vera pusses and loses an ear in the custard she’s serving, and one of her guests happily devours it. Barf.
Calvaire – A Deliverance Christmas Dinner
Borrowing similar visual cues from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, this dinner scene also features its lead bound to a chair and forced to dine with the strange town inhabitants he’s unwittingly crossed paths with. Unlike Sally Hardesty, though, poor Marc has been subjected to his captors’ torture for much longer, building up to a Christmas dinner overrun by pure insanity. In a scene that feels like Deliverance meets The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, you’ll never look at pigs or Christmas dinner the same way again. It’s gruesome, bleak, and downright absurd.A