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DID YOU READ

Eight memorably disgusting cinematic meals.

Eight memorably disgusting cinematic meals. (photo)

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The most important event of last week was clearly the introduction of KFC’s Double Down, a sandwich that replaces the bread with chicken patties, to the mass public. I’m not going to try it, because I’m terrified that it could dehydrate me for the rest of the day (1380 mg of sodium!), but it’s certainly a food milestone of some kind.

In honor of the culinary Kraken being released upon the world, here are eight memorable cinematic meals, for better or worse.

Actually, just worse.

04192010_existenz.jpg“eXistenZ” (1999)

Everything in David Cronenberg’s world is potentially an orifice, and with food that goes double — think of Brundlefly explaining his diet or the diner where Viggo Mortensen works in “A History of Violence,” just waiting to serve up some cracked bones alongside the coffee. Enter the “gristle gun,” a hypnotically vile weapon made out of the ingredients of a not-quite-typical Chinatown lunch. To be honest, it seems like Jude Law’s whining about nothing, but there really is something fetus-y looking on the plate, which could undo anyone’s appetite.

04192010_ambrosia.jpg“Edward Scissorhands” (1990)

There’s a lot going on in “Edward Scissorhands” (aside from the leftover teenage self-loathing), but one of the nicer strands involves Tim Burton’s fascination with all things suburban. In the otherwise unilluminating DVD commentary track, he notes in passing his love of the kind of photos taken at Sears, with a smiling face posed against a formless blue background. Another aspect of suburbia that pops up is the “Ambrosia Salad” that Joyce (Kathy Baker) brings to the backyard barbeque, the weirdly pink fruit concoction she spoon-feeds hapless young Edward in hyper-sexualized style in front of all the neighbors. It looks nothing like what Wikipedia claims it should.

04192010_doom.jpg“Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” (1984)

The most problematic sequel of the ’80s arrived on a head of bad publicity, with levels of cartoonish gore and violence that led to the creation of the PG-13 rating (alongside the Spielberg-produced “Gremlins”; 1984 was a good year for Spielberg to destroy the fondness the parents of American felt for him after “E.T.”). Alongside complaints about the rampant stereotyping of India, some people were definitely not happy about Indy sitting down to enjoy a traditional Indian dinner of… monkey brains, live snakes and eyeball soup. Later, though, he has to drink blood (or at least the “Blood of Kali”), so clearly he was just getting started.

04192010_meat.jpg“Meat Love” (1989)

Jan Svankmajer’s career as a surrealist animator has often involved a fascination/revulsion with food — take 2000’s “Little Otik,” in which a child carved out of a log begins to display “Little Shop of Horrors” levels of hunger. You can speculate that it’s because Svankmajer, who grew up in Communist Czechoslovakia, was a member of a society where food was anything but disposable and thoughtless, but that still wouldn’t explain his queasy fascination with the tactility and weird feeling of meat against your fingers, as seen in the short below, in which two cutlets conduct a romance.

04192010_hannibal.jpg“Hannibal” (2001)

Before “Hannibal,” we were mostly asked to envision Hannibal Lecter’s cannibalistic escapades for ourselves. When Ridley Scott took on the franchise, though, he went all out, culminating in the infamous bit in which Lecter lobotomizes rude FBI agent Ray Liotta, cutting out a section of his brain, briefly pan-frying it, then feeding it back to him. It’s really only marginally more sophisticated than, say, “Cannibal Holocaust” — the veneer of culture Scott lays on is less than convincing — but it’s undeniably funny/gross.

04192010_oldboy.jpg“Oldboy” (2003)

After 15 years incarcerated by unknown people and forced to sit by helplessly while his wife is murdered and his daughter sent into foster care, Oh Dae-su (Choi Min-sik) is not in a good frame of mind. So he wanders into a restaurant, announces he wants to eat something alive, and chows down on a live octopus — something the actor, bravely, actually did. (Eating live octopus in Korea is not unheard of — that it’s whole rather than chopped up is Park Chan-wook’s special touch.) Later, Oh falls in love with a sushi chef, which seems strangely appropriate.

04192010_taxidermia.jpg“Taxidermia,” 2006

Surely, György Pálfi consciously set out to make the most disgusting film in history with “Taxidermia,” a vigorous all-purpose assault of every revolting image you could possibly dig up — you have admire its sense of purpose. Palfi’s broadly allegorical portrait of Hungarian life in the 20th century uses speed-eating and the fetishization of consumption for its own sake as the starting point of its middle segment, which has lots of vomiting, morbidly obese people and saliva-clogged mastication. This is not for the faint of heart.

04192010_hell.jpg“Drag Me To Hell” (2009)

“Drag Me To Hell” is more prototypically a “Sam Raimi movie” than “Spider-Man 3,” but it has some echoes of that underappreciated flick. In “Spider-Man 3,” everything stops for a few minutes so that Bruce Campbell can camp it up as a very ’30s-style “French waiter,” officious accent and all. in “Drag Me To Hell,” the dinner awkwardness ante is upped when Alison Lohman meets boyfriend Justin Long’s parents; a class-tension-ridden dinner (the parents don’t like her homely cake) becomes more problematic when Lohman coughs up a fly. Unfortunately, this isn’t the worst thing that’ll happen to her in the movie.

[Photos: “eXistenZ,” Dimension Films, 1999; “Edward Scissorhands,” 20th Century Fox, 1990; “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” Paramount, 1984; “Meat Love,” Image Entertainment, 1989; “Hannibal,” MGM, 2001; “Taxidermia,” E1 Entertainment, 2006; “Drag Me To Hell,” Universal, 2009]

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Final Countdown

The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…