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Posted 12th April 2009 at 01:49 PM by Sam@Cult Labs

I'm a big believer in cinema as a taboo buster.

Certain topics are guaranteed to rankle a viewer and put them on edge from the off, regardless of the special effects, frightening monsters or atmospheric locale. Religion, children, animal cruelty and anything to do with race or nazism were always sure fire ways for a tatty little exploiter to draw attention to itself and the same applies to art-shock flicks, those movies that needle an audience with outrageous imagery but then claim a creative high ground by shouting "Art" very loudly in Sight & Sound magazine.

Bodily functions are another example of a subject seemingly hand crafted to upset a big proportion of an audience. So, welcome to Gastro-horror, a loose gathering of films that use food, normally immense amounts of food, to stun the viewer into submission...


Feed is a cheap, Premiere-on-DVD, title which essentially takes the movie Se7en and force feeds it human body fat until it's morbidly obese.

As a movie it's a grab bag of post Silence of the Lambs psycho-thriller cliches, with a troubled cop who specializes in internet vice stumbling upon a new kind of porn site, one in which massively fat woman are force fed until they ballon into immobile slabs of flesh. Some people like that kind of thing, particularly the lunatic behind this offensive web business.

He's taking bets on how much culinary punishment the unfortunate women can take. By targeting insecure overweight women and telling them how beautiful their size is to him, he manages to trap them in a cycle of extreme feeding. Now, they are the subjects of a dark sweepstake, with the winners cashing in when they guess the day of their deaths.

Despite the general cheapness of the production and the by-the-numbers plot twists, not to mention the cookie cutter characters, the film is still tremendous fun as a slice of repulsion that will have queasy viewers sitting with their hands over their eyes (...and mouths). Most of the budget seems to have gone on the fat suit for the principle woman, who lies prone throughout, stuffing her food splattered maw with ever increasing amounts of slop.

La Grande Bouffe

This brilliant 70s French film is a disgustingly dark farce that really pushes things in terms of revulsion. Four bored Bourgeois men, all successful in their fields, gather in a tumbledown mansion house in order to commit slow suicide through gluttony.

As the four friends challenge each other to great heights of edible excess, one of them brings out what I took to be an enormous trifle. It turns out to be a three foot high Liver Pate and from that point on it was hard to watch without concentrating on not vomiting. When the movie spirals to it's depraved conclusion, the toilet explodes, covering much of the house it's fetid excrement and one man literally shits himself to death. At time hilarious, at others sombre, La Grande Bouffe comments on societal decadence by showering it sick and effluent.


Surreal Eastern European art horror, Taxidermia deals in incest, sexual perversion and eating competitions. With unforgettable images of men shooting flames from the penises and more onscreen vomiting them seems possible in a theatrically released movie, it's another tough but worthwhile exercise in screen excess.

The Worm Eaters

From the heady world of artfully rendered food horror to an exploitation movie that has one selling point: You will see lots of people chomping on big slimy worms. The Worm Eaters is a typical entry in hack producer Ted V. Mikels' canon of movie evil, in that it has absolutely no redeeming features and exists purely as an endurance test, both in terms of it's woeful technical achievements and it's gleeful portrayal of desperate jobbing actors and enthusiastic amateurs trying to maintain while filling up on leeches. A lame plot about a man who can control worms and sends out mutant worms to enslave the townsfolk will raise a few smiles.

Please add your own entries in this fine imaginary genre...
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  1. Old Comment
    Almar@Cult Labs's Avatar
    That reminds me that we had some Feed placemats once made up that I used to keep tripping over. I have a feeling they may have got thrown out but if someone reminds me to look 'em out next week (if they still exist) we'll do a comp with them. Feed has a great soundtrack - well worth seeking out.
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 12th April 2009 at 01:55 PM by Almar@Cult Labs Almar@Cult Labs is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Sam@Cult Labs's Avatar
    I'll take a set...
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 12th April 2009 at 02:00 PM by Sam@Cult Labs Sam@Cult Labs is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Pete's Avatar
    I saw the trailer for The Worm Eaters on the Grindhouse Trailers 2 dvd and it was one of the most revolting things i have ever seen.
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 14th April 2009 at 09:50 AM by Pete Pete is offline
  4. Old Comment
    Sam@Cult Labs's Avatar
    I know, utterly repellent and it that respect a near perfect example of exploitation marketing. It doesn't sell on plot, performance or any of the usual things, just a total rollercoaster ride of vomit.
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 14th April 2009 at 04:00 PM by Sam@Cult Labs Sam@Cult Labs is offline
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