In the wild black comedy Killer Joe, Matthew McConaughey stars as a hit man hired to knock off the matriarch of a trailer-trash-tastic Texas clan (for a life-insurance payout, natch). It's a slickly sadistic yet disarming performance. But the thing that makes it unforgettable (and that likely sealed its fate as an NC-17-rated pic) is an indelible, deeply disturbing, fried-chicken scene. Indeed, it is arguably the most disturbing instance of food being used to inflict harm ever captured on celluloid—but it isn't the first. Here are 10 more.
(1) The Battle of the Century (1927)
If there's anything more American than apple pie, it's a pie in the face. Pieing (as it's known among connoisseurs) was first seen on film in the 1909 silent film Mr. Flip. But it was this Laurel and Hardy classic—in which a whopping 3,000 pies were deployed—that made the act a slapstick standby.
(2) The Public Enemy (1931)
The most politically incorrect entry on our list comes (dis)courtesy of William A. Wellman's classic crime film, in which James Cagney, playing gangster-on-the-make Tom Powers, uses his girlfriend's grapefruit against her.
(3) Duck Soup (1933)
In the final scene, which marks the end of the war between neighboring countries Freedonia and Sylvan, the Marx Brothers capture the Sylvan ambassador, Trentino, and pelt him with fruit.
(4) Bugsy Malone (1976)
All the violence in this truly bizarre, Prohibition-era gangster musical—the cast of which is completely made up of kids—comes in the form of cream pies and custard-shooting "splurge guns." (Scroll to around 2:45.)
(5) The Monster Squad (1987)
This preteen horror comedy ends with a member of the titular monster fan club burning Dracula's face with a garlic pizza.
(6) Serial Mom (1994)
John Waters' dark suburban comedy culminates with serial mom Beverly (Kathleen Turner) choosing a leg of lamb over a knife, then beating a woman who insulted her son at a store to death.
(7) Se7en (1995)
In the dark, twisted world of David Fincher's brilliant thriller, a glutton gets force-fed to death. Fortunately, the scene is a little less disturbing when you add a laugh track and music from Saved by the Bell:
(8) Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
"Watch this," Uncle Rico says before throwing a steak at Napoleon's face.
(9) Shoot 'Em Up (2007)
The (sole?) highlight of this thriller comes when Clive Owen shoves a carrot through the bad guy's throat in order to save a pregnant woman. His parting advice: "Eat your vegetables."
(10) Law-Abiding Citizen (2009)
Gerard Butler brutally stabs his cellmate with a T-bone in this crime thriller. Brace yourself. (Scroll to around 50:00.)