Hunger is everywhere in horror

December 12, 2019

Horror is a genre of excess, of abundance — and food is the perfect metaphor in its narratives because it holds so many meanings at once. Food, from the grotesque to the delicious, populates the screen: the raw steak crawling across the kitchen counter in Poltergeist (1982); a distracted Drew Barrymore burning her popcorn in the opening scene of Scream (1999); the chocolate bars Charlie routinely snaps with her teeth in Hereditary (2018). Hunger is everywhere in horror: from werewolves to zombies to cannibals, the protagonists we find on screen are either devouring or being devoured. But what I’m interested in is not the readings of food as metaphors for capitalist consumption, the disintegration of the American family unit, or sexual taboos — but simply in the act of eating itself.

Laura Maw
There’s Nothing Scarier Than a Hungry Woman

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