Drag Me to Hell

Drag Me To Hell features a brilliant scene with a slice of Harvest Cake that develops an eye ball and eventually is stabbed in it and bleeds everywhere.

drag

hell

Although it’s kinda gross I felt sorry for the cake in this film so I wanted to recreate this image with the fork approaching and the cake somehow looking scared.

I also not sure how tasty harvest cake looks so decided to replace it with chocolate fudge cake as this is quite a popular cake and I figured it would be more distressing for people to see a cake they really enjoy eating with an eye looking out of it.

I  ordered some fake eyes off of Amazon (they really do sell everything) and set about trying to install the eyeball in the cake realistically. This was far harder then I had imagined and took me nearly an hour of icing and cake tool trickery to get it looking anything like the screen version.

I added golden syrup at the corners of the eye to make it look more gloopy and wet and then set up the lighting.

After the shoot I was worried I might not have got things right so decided to keep the cake in the fridge for a few days incase I needed to do another shoot.

Fingers crossed no one else looks in the fridge 🙂

fridge

 

Eat Me: Fear & Food

Finally I decided to develop a series of images that would work as a homage to Food in the Horror genre, entitled Eat Me: Fear & Food.

The first image I wanted to reproduce was the box of noodles turned to worms in The Lost Boys.

lost

I wanted the images to have some fun with it as it was a homage and not an exact recreation and decided to make the images quite stylized, almost like movie posters.

The first trick was getting the correct type of take away food box, which proved trickier than i expected as these type of boxes are a lot more popular in the states than they are in the uk. After searching unsuccessfully online (well Amazon had some but way more than i needed and at the cost of £15.99) i put a shout out to my friends on Facebook.

It turns out the Chinese restaurant just 5 minutes from my house sells certain dishes in these boxes so i nipped round to see if i could buy a couple, explaining it was for a photography project and they happily let me have two for a just a pound.

noodles.jpg

I did a few test shots and messed around with the lighting and then investigated where i could get the stars of the show from. The worms! as it was nearly Halloween I considered toy ones and jelly worm sweets but decided i needed live worms for the best image. These were surprisingly easy to get as my local pet shop stocks them as live food. At least this way I could release them into the wild after their photo shoot and save them from being eating alive.

 

 

 

Hunger

Earlier I touched on the fact that food seems to connect into our primal fears because it is linked to our survival.

Many people go hungry in the UK every day, with many parents having to skip meals so they have enough food in for their children.

For me this was perfectly portrayed in the recent Ken Loach film, I, Daniel Blake (2016) when a young mother arrives at the local food bank and after having not eaten for days she opens a tin of baked beans and starts eating them with her hands because she is so hungry, but then realizing her ‘primitive’ behavior she is overcome with shame and collapses in tears.

This scene was very  effective but i  wanted to take my ideas of hunger in a different direction. Possibly even comedic. So I thought about other films that used Hunger in a more humorous way and Scrat from Ice Age immediately came to mind. With his beloved acorn always in view yet constantly out of reach.

I liked this idea and wondered about choreographing almost a dance, similar to the Morecambe and Wise scene I looked at earlier, of a hungry person spotting a plate of delicious food from one side of the room and then their interrupted route to it, with other people and things getting in the way and obstructing them as they got hungrier and hungrier.

Earlier this year I photographed an amazing group of dancers who specialised in improvised dance and wondered if they might be in interested in collaborating with me on this idea.

 

Food in Literature and Film

I love Stephen Kings’s use of food in his writing. It is often used as a way to connect with his characters and make them seem more real. It also works on our nostalgia with food and their tastes and smells, which seems to conjure up so many memories for us, both good and bad.

Yet we can neither taste or smell food through the page or a screen so why does food in  literature and film excite or repel us so effectively???

Possibly because of our dependency on food and the fact that our entire survival relies upon it.

Food is a common theme in language. Many terms of endearment for people reference food. And this isn’t just within the English language we also see it in many other languages. Honey/Hun in the U.K., Ma Petit Chou-fleur (my little cauliflower) in France, Dulceață (Jam) in Romania. Baby Cakes in America.

The idea of ‘Eating Yourself to Death’.

As part of my research I read through this article written by Laura Allan which explains exactly what happens to you if you eat yourself to death (yes, it is an actually recognized cause of death) but please be warned, it’s kind of gross so if you think it might be distressing to you, you are probably right to skip it?

https://www.ranker.com/list/eating-yourself-death/laura-allan

Throughout history there is a surprising number of people who have eaten themselves to death, including, Adolf Frederick, the King of Sweden who died from ‘eating vast amounts of lobster, caviar, sauerkraut, herring, champagne and an alleged 14 servings of hot milk in 1771’.

I wonder if with our modern, gluttonous, lifestyles, in a world of instant, fast food, maybe many of us are heading for the same fate. Although our cause of deaths will instead list diabetes, heart disease, liver failure…..?

‘The latest study based on a nationally representative sam-ple of U.S. adults estimates that about 112,000 deaths are associated with obesity each year in the United States.’

The concept of ‘Food to Die For’.

With a real world example of the ‘Japanese delicacy Fugu, or Blowfish.. so poisonous that the smallest mistake in its preparation could be fatal…Twenty-three people have died in Japan after eating fugu since 2000’ (BBC News) Yet people still happily pay $120 for the pleasure of eating the dangerous dish.

And examples of people who have starved themselves to death, for various reasons, including for the sake of others.

There is also a long history of food in the horror genre.

Sweeney Todd in the ‘String of Pearls: A romance’ Penny Dreadful back in 1846-1847, killing his victims and Mrs. Lovett baking them into meat pies to be sold in her Bell Yard shop to unsuspecting customers.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897) whose only way to survive is by dining on the blood of others

Food

When Food was introduced as our first topic, I was a little stumped for ideas.  I wondered how I could relate Food to my final project, and couldn’t seem to find a way, but I soon realised that i was just complicating matter and i needed to go back to basics. So I thought about some of my favorite film scenes that involved food.

They’re only Noodles, Michael from The Lost Boys.

Dinner in Prison, Goodfellas.

The Blueberry Barf-o-rama in Stand By Me.

School Lunch, Breakfast Club.

The Jello & Raptors scene in Jurassic Park.

Making Breakfast, Morecambe and Wise.

Exploding Mr. Creosote from Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life.