If you’re like me, you like to sit down with a movie at home, put your lunch or dinner in front of you, and go to town while the movie plays. It’s multi-tasking… or something. However, there are some unfortunate instances where this strategy can backfire. As a grizzled dual consumer of movies and food, allow me to enlighten you about what I’ve learned while eating and watching horror movies.
Meals rich in tomato-based sauces should be avoided.
It almost goes without saying. Think of something like lasagna or meatloaf. Each involves ground animal flesh bathed in a blood-colored tomato substance. Do you really want to consume that at the same time chunks of bloody human flesh fly across your screen? Of course you don’t. It’s not really the kind of thing that’ll turn your stomach but it’s sure to lessen your enjoyment, temporarily, of tomato-based sauces.
Depending on your squeamishness, most horror films before 1975 will have no effect.
That’s no knock on the films. It’s just that the technology wasn’t good enough to make the blood, gore, and guts realistic enough to have an impact on the perceived deliciousness of your meal. Bright red paint and severed plastic prosthetics have no effect on your appetite. I only chose 1975 because it’s when Jaws was made, and it could affect less-seasoned horror viewers.
Do not eat under any circumstances while watching Asian horror films.
This is by far the most important rule. There is no other genre or country of origin as wildly unpredictable as Asian horror films. You might occasionally get away with eating and watching an Asian horror film, but all it takes is the one time excrement, urine, or gouged eyeballs are involved and you have a grape or chocolate pudding in your mouth. Your meal will be done. And you might not eat again for a week.
Simple and bland food is usually acceptable, regardless of what you’re watching.
Potato chips don’t really resemble anything unappetizing in a horror film. Cold cereal remains edible in just about every single situation. Veggies won’t lead you astray. Oatmeal is good most of the time, with one caveat.
Don’t eat oatmeal while watching a zombie movie.
Oatmeal is completely harmless in every other situation. However, in a zombie movie, you’re sure to see lumpy bits of gray matter (BRAAAINS!!!) on the screen. Making matters worse, the zombies will be eating the lumpy gray matter, just like you with your oatmeal. While there are worse food-horror scenarios, this one is best avoided.
Fruit is not ideal for ghost movies.
That sounds really odd until you stop and think about the countless times that ghosts have turned food, in the eye of the beholder, into a wormy, maggot-infested, crawling mess. Obviously, a movie ghost can impact any food in this way- in Poltergeist, it was actually meat. But fruit is actually exposed to worms when it grows. There’s a tiny touch of realism to it that isn’t there with, say, ice cream turning into a pile of maggoty goo.
Avoid eating during cannibal movies.
Here’s another rule that’s really obvious, yet I’ve been dumb enough to violate it a few times. Do I really need to explain this?
Do not eat while watching Peter Jackson’s Braindead/Dead Alive (1992).
The only time I can recall literally gagging because of a movie was during Jackson’s Sumatran rat-monkey smear campaign. In fairness, I was laughing and gagging at the same time. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had experiencing a vomit reflex, which is saying something when you’ve drank as much as I have. But I digress- in at least one scene and probably several others, you will not want food in your mouth.
David Cronenberg is not to be trusted.
The overwhelming majority of Cronenberg’s films feature something that will make your eating experience unpleasant, whether it’s the video game portal/asshole in eXistenZ (1999), the psychoplasmic womb in The Brood (1979), the phallic slug in Rabid (1977), or any other number of things.
Sweets are almost always acceptable.
I say “almost always” because they’re not invulnerable to Asian films and Cronenberg (see The Fly). Other than those two very specific things, there’s not much in a horror film that resembles cake, pie, candy, and candy bars. And even in the odd case that a horror film does have something resembling those things, the taste is good enough that it won’t matter.