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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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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…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…


IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.


IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).


IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.


IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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