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113: Gourmet Cannibal Films And Stuart Gordon's 'Taste'

March 25, 2017 9:16 p.m.

Episode 113: Gourmet Cannibal Films And Stuart Gordon's 'Taste'

Cannibal films — in which people mindlessly slaughter and eat others or where carnage soaks the screen — are a dime a dozen. But films in which great care is taken with both the filmmaking and the preparation of human flesh for consumption are more rare. Here's a look at gourmet cannibal films as well as a chat with Stuart Gordon about his cannibal play 'Taste.'

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Transcript:

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

Beth Accomando: Welcome back to another edition of listener supported KPBS Cinema junkie podcast. I’m Beth Accomando. For this podcast, I get to combine two things I love, horror and cooking. I was supposed to do a podcast with Daniel Claus about his new film Wilson but the interview fell through and I had to scramble to find a new topic. Then, I saw the ravishing new French film Raw and I thought yes. I want to talk about cannibal films and I want to talk about them with a chef and then I want to share my interview with Stuart Gordon about his play Taste that was inspired by a real-life incident of cannibalism and then, I wanted to include an interview with the curator of the Santiago museum of man’s cannibal exhibit. Fate had just served up an opportunity that I couldn’t resist.
Okay now before you roll your eyes and think cannibal films are not my cup of tea, let me explain what I want this discussion to be about. Cannibal films in which people mindlessly slaughter and eat others or where carnage soaks the screen are a dime a dozen but films in which great care is taken with both the film making and the preparation of human flesh for consumption are far more rare and far more interesting so that’s what I want to talk about, what I called gourmet cannibal films.
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Almost three years ago, I saw Stuart Gordon's play "Taste", it was inspired by the infamous Armin Meiwes case about a German man who placed an online ad seeking a willing victim to be killed and eaten that in turn inspired to create a list of gourmet cannibal films for Showbiz Junkies, a site I contribute "10 best lists" to. For that list, I used French foody terms to make the distinction between the films I wanted to talk about and the run of the mill cannibal film.
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The stereo typical cannibal film like "Cannibal Holocaust," or "Motel Hell," is something suited for a gourmand, a ravenous and greedy eater, prone to excess, but not too discriminating in what he eats. And there's nothing wrong with feeding that particular appetite with those kinds of gore-fests. But once that appetite for gore is satiated then there’s little left to do except seek out something more gruesome and shocking. Again, that kind of horror films has its place and its fans but I’m interested in a gourmet cannibal film, something prepared for a connoisseur, a person with a discerning palate and who prefers items that are elegantly crafted and of high quality.
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So, in order to get in to this notion of gourmet cannibal films, I decided I needed to begin by talking to a chef. Well, Zach Zelen feels that that title is a bit too lofty for him. He prefers just being called the cook. Hey Zach, how you doing?
Zach Zelen: Doing great, doing great. Excited to be here.
Beth Accomando: First of all, you are a cook, you do prepare food and you’ve brought appropriately enough a collection of your knives for prepping food. Just to kind of get us in the mood for food and for eating and for gourmet food preparation, now what have you got here that you’re going to be chopping up for us?
Zach Zelen: I just got some onions, some carrots, some bells and in my roll, I’ve got all the tools of the trade, the knives, that all us cooks obsessively sharpen after every shift and today, just going to go ahead and pull out one of my chef’s knives and get to chopping and talking about the gourmet cannibalism that is not nearly as ranked in film as it should.
Beth Accomando: Now, for a chef, you have this large collection of knives here and are they all for different kinds of things or are you of the mind that you can use different tools for different things?
Zach Zelen: They all do have slightly different purposes, some are heavier, better at breaking down a carcass, chopping through bone. Some are more lighter and more delicate, more use for vegetable work and very fine filigree also have some nice big scary knives like a Chinese cleaver, a good seven inch hunk of steel that will terrify anyone trying to mug you and then of course the more delicate knives, pairing knives, utility knives, blade for every occasion.
Beth Accomando: Very good and which knife have you pulled out first?
Zach Zelen: I’m going to be using my free trick dick 8-inch chef knife. A nice heavy German steel, something that would be very at home in the hands of somebody like Hannibal Lector.
Beth Accomando: Very good and German steel may come in later when I’ll be talking with Stuart Gordon about a play called Taste which is based on a story of a German cannibal so there we go, very appropriate. So, in prepping food, what would be the difference between prepping something that is a gourmet meal and something that might be served at a fast food restaurant?
Zach Zelen: A lot of it comes down to simply attention to detail and proper technique whereas at a fast food restaurant, you might not need all of your slices of onion to be exactly the same size but when you’re cooking gourmet, you want everything to be very precise so that everything comes out perfect. It’s much more about the end experience of a fantastic meal, a piece of art that is set down in front of you as opposed to just something to put in your stomach.
Beth Accomando: In talking about some of these films, there’s a notion for me that there’s a difference between the gourmet meal prepared by let’s say, Peter Grenoway for the cook, the thief, his wife and her lover and more of a fast food kind of cannibal holocaust film but on a certain level, the fast food film is less nutritious, it doesn’t give you anything to kind of mull over after you’ve eaten the meal. It kind of just goes away quickly whereas these kinds of gourmet cannibal films leave you with something to chew on after the fact so how does that compare to cooking?
Zach Zelen: And really any kind of gourmet setting, like I was saying, it’s much more about the art and the experience of the meal. Really great gourmet food challenges you or it takes you to a place where maybe you haven’t tasted those flavors before, maybe you haven’t seen a dish prepared exactly like this or maybe there’s an ingredient that you specifically don’t like but you kind of trust the chef to take you into his arms and guide you through this new and strange experience. And so just like any other kind of good art, it’s something that not only be consumed but considered after the fact. It takes a while to digest.
Beth Accomando: And also with a gourmet meal, it’s something that you kind of want to savor, like you want to hold it on your tongue for a little bit and take in the flavors.
Zach Zelen: Absolutely, absolutely, it’s – fast food is something that you just kind of inhale, again it’s something to feed you, get in your belly whereas gourmet food really is more about that catered experience. One thing I really like in modern food is the slow food movement. People are paying a lot more attention not just to what their food is but where it comes from and how it’s made and so that really just extends the experience of trying the new food, trying the new dish, having that plate of art set down in front of you and one of the remarkable things about it is that the art of food is afemoral in its very nature. It has no point if it’s not immediately destroyed and through the destruction and consumption of it, you’re not just eating the food in front of you but you’re eating the intent of the chef, the art of the preparation and the effort of the entire kitchen that went into making that plate.
Beth Accomando: And let me ask where do you work?
Zach Zelen: I work over at Bar Kendrid in South Park. We are a death metal themed craft cocktail bar with a fully vegan kitchen.
Beth Accomando: Awesome and since we are on podcast which is audio only, you can’t see the beautiful slices that he’s making in this onion. My onions have never looked like that before, I can say that. So, in talking about some of these films, one film that we kind of motioned briefly before we started talking was a film called Delicatessen which is about cannibals but not your typical kind of gore fest and you were talking about kind of how that is a bit of a gourmet cannibal film.
Zach Zelen: Absolutely, it uses cannibalism in a way to be a lens to look back at society and the troubles of society and a post-apocalyptic context that is very relatable in today’s modern times. So, using cannibalism as a device as opposed to an end in and of itself.
Beth Accomando: And in this film, we’re setting this kind of post-apocalyptic world where food is scarce and they kind of, the device of the film is that it’s an apartment complex where I believe he keeps hiring a handyman who keeps getting served up to the tenants so there’s never – as far as I can remember, there’s never any really graphic scene of cannibalism or anything but there’s this whole kind of sizing up the guy when he comes in and sharpening of knives and things like that.
Zach Zelen: There’s definitely an ominous context that always comes with sharpening knives and my housemates can attest to this really profoundly. I find myself say, sitting on the couch watching TV and honing a knife for sending it down a strop and the other day, my housemate looked at me and said, you know that would be really creepy if you weren’t a professional cook. Actually wait, no that’s still really creepy, can you do that upstairs? And so, there’s a threat that is always present when a knife comes out or it’s being worked with and to use that as the device in the film to really build that tension as opposed to the imminent threat of mortal danger by physical threat, just the imposing presence of a sharp knife or a knife being sharpen.
Beth Accomando: Well and you’ve moved on now to carrots, so if you’re listening, you’re going to be hearing carrots being diced up beautifully again. And I think, if I remember right, the director had actually either lived somewhere or knew someone who used to have to listen to knives being sharp, I think he lived about a butcher shop and he would hear the knives being sharpened every morning and I think that was part of what drove him to make that film. So, I can see how the knife sharpening would get to you.
Zach Zelen: You either love it or you hate it. Personally, and I know this is the way that most cooks and chefs feel, a knife is a tool. It can be dangerous, it can be helpful but it’s not necessarily threatening in and of itself. A knife sitting on a magnetic strip or in a block is perfectly safe, it’s just sitting there. It’s the intent of the hand that wields it and once you become very comfortable with the knife then it’s no longer threatening, it’s comforting. When I have my knives in my hand, I feel capable and I don’t fear cutting myself because I know if I cut myself that’s my fault, it’s me losing focus for getting sloppy whereas somebody standing next to somebody with a knife is in a place of potentially imminent danger. And so, in the kitchen, knives take on a slightly different context but in a movie like Delicatessen the intent of the knives being sharpened in front of the unwitting victim is definitely a powerful image.
Beth Accomando: And this notion of cannibalism, the idea of eating human flesh is something that is still, pretty much has always been something very kind of taboo in our society.
Zach Zelen: Or and the taboo nature I think is really what strikes at the heart of gourmet cannibalism. As I was saying, uses that lens of cannibalism to discuss further issues and a great way to start talking about uncomfortable issues is to segway with an uncomfortable topic like cannibalism. It puts the audience in a state of unease and readiness for potentially terrible things to happen in sort of just assaulting them say with, the dinner scene from Hannibal. It slowly builds up to the moment when he reveals to the guest that they’re in fact eating the flutist that played a sour note and so without that build up, it’s simply blunt instrument but with the buildup, it hones the edge of that revelation into something that can really strike at the heart of the audience where you slowly realize that the sour note caused that flutist to be eaten and the real context of insanity that has to live inside of Hannibal Lector’s mind in order to justify something like that. If you’re just slapped across the face with it, it doesn’t carry nearly the same weight.
Beth Accomando: Well the other thing too is when you see some of these films that deal with, let’s say, a lot of the Italian cannibal films tended to deal with tribes that you would find out in the wild somewhere that were cannibal but when you come in to a more civilized society and people are doing these kind of things in a certain way, it almost becomes more disturbingly scary because you feel like it shouldn’t exist in the context of a suburban neighborhood like it does in Parents or in an elegant restaurant like it does in The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover. We feel a little more comfortable with it I think when it’s out in some wild jungle setting where we think, well, if we just avoid that then we’re safe.
Zach Zelen: I mean many ways cannibalism speaks to the primal nature of humanity that we are in fact biological creatures that must eat or be eaten and it’s a lot easier to look at that from a distance. Humans very much enjoy thinking that we’re highly evolved but we’ve barely got a big toe out of the jungle and in that context by bringing cannibalism in to your neighborhood and putting it next door to you as opposed to off in a distant jungle, it makes it much more real and reminds the audience that they are in fact just beasts.
Beth Accomando: Another cannibal film that you mentioned that you enjoyed was Ravenous.
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Beth Accomando: What was it about that, that appealed to you?
Zach Zelen: One, it’s just a very fun movie, it plays with itself, it doesn’t take itself too seriously for the most part and additionally, it kind of has two different levels of context where cannibalism goes from something that was a necessity for the characters to something that becomes a pleasure. They find great power in the act of eating others both literally and figuratively and as the main characters evolve through that movie, the idea of cannibalism goes from an eat to live to a live to eat context.
Beth Accomando: In that film if people aren’t familiar actually is kind of a western setting of sorts and directed by Antonio Bird which I’m always happy to see female filmmaker doing horror, a film that I would highly recommend checking out. Again, the smells now here, we’ve got some onion and some carrots. Now these carrots are beautifully chopped all the same size, I need to have you come to my house to do food prep because it’s beautiful. Are there any other cannibal films that have come your way that you like or and they can be of either nature?
Zach Zelen: One thing that’s been crossing my mind a bit is sort of the other cannibal, the non-human cannibal, vampires that kind of thing, and one idea that I’ve been tumbling around since yesterday is the notion that vampires tend to be a very alluring character, an attractive character, a sexy character and they are cannibals, they must be cannibals to survive. It is almost not a choice at that point and I think that there’s two-fold for the likeability of a character like a vampire because at first, they’re not human so we can already distance ourselves from their motivations and from the character themselves but furthermore, it’s not a choice. It’s something that they must do and in vampire-lore, even when it is a choice, it’s often a character defining choice for that vampire that weakens them or diminishes their essence and so I’ve been trying to work out some kind of theory as to why monsters are more acceptably are more acceptable cannibals than humans especially when they become more relatable. The interview with the vampire watching Lestat refuse to eat anyone is an interesting character moment whereas the vampire Lestat later in the series or in the terrible subsequent movies becomes a brutal character, a character that the human or that the audience relates to it as his humanity sort of diminishes but at that point, it becomes much more acceptable to watch him eat.
Beth Accomando: Well, of course now this raises a subject which could merit an entire podcast all on its own and that would be zombies because technically, I never consider them as cannibals because on a certain level they are – oh you are dissecting that bell pepper in a beautiful way that I have never seen done I have to say that is…
Zach Zelen: Oh that is the best way to break down a bell.
Beth Accomando: Right.
Zach Zelen: Chop off the top and the bottom and then lay it on its side and you want to slice through the now tube of bell pepper you’ve got and just kind of roll the knife along the skin as you unravel the bell to take out all the pith and the seeds.
Beth Accomando: That was beautiful, that’s like disemboweling something in the most effective way. Now back to zombies, yeah, I’ve had arguments with people who called zombies cannibals but I feel like when you become transformed in to a zombie, you’re kind of a different species on a certain level but you are consuming human flesh which you previously were so that could be a whole debate in itself of whether that falls into the cannibal category or not.
Zach Zelen: And I think there’s another interesting question there about zombies eating flesh simply because in most zombie mythos, zombies only eat living or very recently dead flesh and I can’t think of too many cannibal movies, gourmet cannibal movies, plenty of splatter upon.
Beth Accomando: Yeah.
Zach Zelen: Where the cannibal consumes their victim live and I’m not sure exactly what that signifies and in a distinction between zombies and living cannibals but I think that’s an interesting distinction that may have more profound ramifications than I realized right now.
Beth Accomando: I would say it probably has something to do with the notion of civilization and intelligence which is one way that people try to separate themselves from some of the cannibal lore because we recently had here at the museum of man here in Santiago had an exhibit about cannibals and one of the things they pointed out was that the European aristocrats were involved in a lot of cannibalism but in stuff that is not usually discussed or referred to so there was a whole kind of medical cannibalism where you would eat ground skull or you would consume blood or things like that and it was, you could pick these things up in an apothecary and so this was for the aristocrats but they would never call themselves cannibals or consider themselves cannibals. That was something that you found in the West Indies or something and so there’s that hierarchy that you get and that kind of class system.
Zach Zelen: So then the question is that, is the cannibal the person who consumes or the person who catches, kills and butchers? If it’s so easy to separate the context from personal onus then, yeah, I think this actually ties in to an interesting point concerning food. Many people have no idea what goes in to food preparation or food production and author name Michael Polland in his book, Omnivores Dilemma brought up an interesting point. Most people know their banker, they know their doctor but they have no idea who their farmer is. Food is almost this alien substance that simply happens as opposed to a natural and organic thing for a lot of American through a lot of the world and we arguably have a much more personally and physically intimate relationship with our farmers. They create the things that sustain us that we put in to our bodies every day than we do with our banker or maybe even our doctor. And so, in that context, it’s possible that there’s aristocrat felt that they weren’t cannibals because they didn’t see it as human, they saw those as medical treatments or as medicines as opposed to oh, this was Jerry’s skull that I’m now sprinkling on my toast.
Beth Accomando: And they had something Mummies dust too I believe with something that they collect but again, they’re also removed from the actual collection or harvesting phase, they wouldn’t ever have been in the position of either killing someone or going and finding. I think part of what they did was actually they found skulls on battlefields was part of how they harvested some of this. So, we didn’t necessarily require them killing someone. So, there’s some very fascinating things in our human history that we don’t often get to discuss. Is there anything else that you would want to talk about in terms of a gourmet food preparation that maybe ties in to some of these films?
Zach Zelen: I think that a lot of it comes down to ritual not just both of the preparation but also of the consumption of food and in gourmet food, there’s, if you ask any kitchen hand who has worked in any kind of fine dining context, there’s a level of revelry and ritual that goes in to preparation whether it’s just setting up your Mis En Place at the beginning of the shift making sure everything is exactly the way you want it. There’s almost a meditative aspect to that calm before the storm and even on the other end of it, the diner has sort of a ritual of going to a fancy restaurant. They put on their Sunday best if you will and sit down or catered upon, this dish finally comes out and they sat down in front of them and there’s a level of respect that ideally the patron then has for the food but also a level of ritual and consuming the food, finishing the meal and in a lot of the more highbrow cannibalism films, the preparation of the food and the eating of the food is very ritualistic. There’s a context that goes far beyond as I was mentioning, just filling your belly and with that, I think there’s a really profound treatment of the way we think about food not just in the context of sustenance but food in the context of art. Food in the context of feeding the soul as opposed to the body or in addition to the body and that’s just complicated when you’re feeding the body with the body.
Beth Accomando: There are a few films that are very specifically focused on cannibals who do take a lot of care in prepping food that they served to a wider public that’s unsuspecting so we have Sweeney Todd where they make meat pies and the Untold Story which is an Asian film in which you get human pork buns which I see with your cleaver is very appropriate. So, let me ask you this, what might be the best way to prepare and serve human flesh?
Zach Zelen: Well, according to some reading that I’ve done, human flesh tastes a lot like pork. In fact there are several tribes that were formally cannibals that refer to humans as long pig for that very reason and so I’d say if you were to prepare human flesh, you’d probably want to probably brine it slightly, little bit of salt and water with a bit of citrus and I would recommend probably cooking it with a sweet flavor, maybe some pineapple or a pineapple-rum glaze, get a nice hock of human and just let that slow roast covered in pineapple and then enjoy like you would, really any delicious bit of pig.
Beth Accomando: I love that it’s someone who comes from a restaurant that has vegan food, you’ve actually looked in to some of this in some way, shape or form.
Zach Zelen: Well you know, while I work at a vegan kitchen, I will eat anything that doesn’t run fast enough. Plants are easy, they don’t run too fast so that’s nice.
Beth Accomando: All right and you are now finishing up with your large cleaver and some ginger which you’re cutting paper thin, it reminds me a little bit of Paul Sorvino in Good Fellows where he cuts the garlic with a razor blade.
Zach Zelen: With ginger especially, it’s a very fibrous root so you want to make sure that you either break up those fibers enough that they were just kind of break down in whatever you’re cooking or leave chunks large enough that you can pull them out after.
Beth Accomando: Well, Zach, I really want to thank you for coming out and doing some sous chef work for me here, dicing and chopping some vegetables and talking about gourmet cannibal films.
Zach Zelen: Oh it’s my pleasure, thank you so much for having me and I can’t wait to hear the episode.
Beth Accomando: Zach and I spoke a little bit about some of the titles on my menu of gourmet cannibal films but I want to give you all a watch list. So, in addition to Delicatessen, Taste, and Ravenous, let’s start with the newest entry Raw from a woman director and women directing horror always makes me happy. Director Julia Ducournau gives us a film about a young vegetarian female student at a veterinary school who suddenly discovers a hunger for human flesh.
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Beth Accomando: The film doesn’t shy away from gore but what sets it apart is how it explores a familial relationship in terms of coping with that hunger. Ducournau cleverly explores the taboo of cannibalism within the context of what proves to be an almost equally terrifying but far more accepted ritual of school hazing. In addition, she mixes in some feminist commentary about female body image and eating disorders that just provide a little more to chew on once the movie is over.
Raw is the latest entry to my list but the film that epitomizes the gourmet cannibal film is Peter Greenaways Delectable 1989, Art House Favorite, The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover, these films serves up the supreme example of gourmet cannibalism on screen sumptuously shot, superbly crafted and stunningly acted, this film explores the extremes of human jealousy, cruelty and revenge. Albert is a brutal crime boss who also owns a swanky restaurant where he pretends to have manners and know about food.
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Beth Accomando: His restaurant boasts an artist and chef name Richard. Albert’s wife Regina played by the scrumptious Helen Maron grows bored with her brutish spouse and strikes up an affair with a gentle bookseller. The cook covers for the lovers who sometimes conduct their covert affair in various parts of the restaurant while Albert consumes the meal. Okay I have to reveal some spoilers here in order to get to the cannibalism because Albert eventually catches on and murders his wife’s lover. So, Georgina comes to Richard the chef and asked if he could cook the dead lover and so begins her revenge. Richard prepares the man’s corpse like a work of art and Georgina presents it to her husband.
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Beth Accomando: The cook, the thief, his wife, and her lover is a four-star gourmet cannibal film so make sure you put that on your shopping list. Taking a lighter American tone is Bob Ballaban’s parents also from 1989. Apparently, a vintage year for cannibal films. In the film, young Michael lives in a model 50 suburban neighborhood with his parents, a perfectly cast Randy Quaid and Mary Bethard. Everything seems perfectly Ozzie and Harriet on the surface but Michael is haunted by nightmares and an uneasy concern for where his cheerful parents get their meat.
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Beth Accomando: Imagine Ward Cleaver cooking flesh burgers on the grill and June cheerfully serving them to the neighbors and you’ll get an idea of the perversely funny incongruity of the film. Ballaban puts a glossy technical or surface on this disturbingly funny tale of suburban cannibals.
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Beth Accomando: Going for something much more serious and disturbing are a pair of Hannibal Lecter films, the Oscar winning Silence of the Lambs from 1991 and it’s 2001 sequel Hannibal.
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Beth Accomando: The horror gets amped up as well as the gourmet food preparation with Anthony Hopkins taking on the role of Hannibal the Cannibal Lector. In Silence of the Lambs, Hopkins has a memorable scene with Jodie Foster’s FBI agent.
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Beth Accomando: Then in the sequel, we get to see the serial killer gourmet cannibal prepare Ray Liotta’s brain for consumption.
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Beth Accomando: The nasty chef’s trick is that he slices off gray matter while the man is still alive and conscious. Hopkins makes these films a gourmet treat.
Next, we travel to Denmark for return to a lighter tone or the side of irony for the Green Butchers. The film stars Mads Mikkelsen who went on to play Hannibal on NBC TV series. He plays one half of the Green Butchers team. The two men of the title decide to open their own shop to get away from their obnoxious boss Holger. Of course, Holger comes back to mock them on their opening day when no customers show up but on a whim, their old boss orders some meat for a dinner party. One thing leads to another and an accidental murder leading the men to marinate the corpse and selling this meat in their butcher shop and suddenly, chicky wikis, the euphemism for human flesh marinated in the special sauce becomes all the rage in their town. This is another charming and tastefully delivered tale of cannibalism.
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Beth Accomando: As Zach mentioned, ritual can come in to play in both gourmet cooking and cannibal movies. So, in addition to Ravenous, there’s Jim Nichols, superb remake of the Mexican cannibal horror film We are what we are.
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Beth Accomando: Nichols then gives us a reclusive family headed by Patriarch Frank Parker. He runs his family with a fierce sense of conviction to his ancestral traditions. The film begins as his daughters are forced to assume some horrific family customs.
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Beth Accomando: The spin Nichols gives this modern tale of cannibalism is to endow it with a religious period in spin. He doesn’t shy away from the gore but unlike the typical cannibal film, he finds unexpected beauty in the brutality and there’s nothing like a classic to show just how stunningly cannibalism can be used in art. There’s really just one incident of cannibalism in July Teymore’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus but it’s so impressive that it makes the film worth including on this list.
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Beth Accomando: Titus is played by Anthony Hopkins who once again gets to serve human flesh and may only be a single scene but it’s so vivid and horrific, it elegantly executed that it merits inclusion here. Then there’s Hong Kong’s The Untold Story that takes its inspiration from real life and perhaps it’s just an urban legend that persists. It’s based on a true crime that supposedly took place in 1985 in Macau. Anthony Wong plays a man who kills a family and then takes over their restaurant. The restaurant specializes in pork bou or steamed pork buns and perhaps the films alternate title human pork buns will make clear where the cannibalism comes in to play. The film is gruesomely violent but the human flesh is prepared with care and served up to unsuspecting customers. And finally, I want to conclude my gourmet cannibal film list with an indie black comedy from Paul Bartel and Mary Warnoff Eating Raoul. Bartel and Warnoff play Paul and Mary Bland, a couple who want to open their own restaurant. They have put up on a scheme to raise money when Paul accidentally kills an Erin Swinger who’s forcing himself on Mary.
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Beth: The man’s loaded with cash so, the Bland’s decide to start luring other swingers to their pad and offing them with a fry pan.

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This works out pretty well until a sexy Latin Conman name Raoul starts to horn in on their business. The title implies multiple meanings but I think you can guess how this film with it’s want to be restaurant owners end up.

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What makes this film such a gourmet item is the deadpan performances of Bartell and Warnoff. Now that you have your viewing list complete here is something to whet your appetite for cannibalism on stage.

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Here is my archived interview with Stuart Gordon about his play Taste. Gordon directed Taste back in 2014 at Sacred Fools Theater he’s currently returning to Sacred Fools Theater for a new production of his adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut Sirens of Titan. I got to speak with Gordon about Taste back in 2014 just after the curtain fell on the opening night performance. I also spoke with playwright Benjamin Brand. I began my interview with Gordon who also directed my beloved re-animator movie and re-animator the musical by asking him what attracted him to Brand’s play.

Stuart Gordon: Well, it’s cooking show and I like to eat I think that’s always part of its appeal. But I also when I first read the script I got physically effected by Ray had to put it down a few times because it was so strong when, our script has that effect on me that’s always a good sign. I also I love the writing I love the characters I thought they were very rich and interesting and you care about them to me that’s always the most important thing about a piece is you really have to, you have to care about the people.

Beth Accomando: Now, there’s a lot of talk within the play about real and about real moments and you’re in this very small theatre where people are practically in the laps of your actors and you have to pull off some difficult scenes, how was that, what kind of a challenge?

Stuart Gordon: It’s a huge challenge because especially when there are speeches like that the audience is not going to accept anything that isn’t 100% real that feels authentic. [indiscernible] [00:43:32] even trickier than most plays but, I’m lucky that I’ve got such a wonderful actor Chris McKenna I’ve worked with several times before and Donald was the first time we worked together and he’s growing by leaps and bounds I’m really pleased with his work too.

Beth Accomando: Talk a little bit about the effects that you have you that mean you like the set is actually has a lot of practical elements to it there is a sink that really works there is a stove that really works you can smell the onions cooking in the beginning was that important to you?

Stuart Gordon: It was it was one of the things that actually drew me to this that the idea of our having a cooking show where we actually smell the cooking that’s what the thing the theater can do the movie really can’t do is really engaged with the senses in a movie are really just optical illusions but theater is alive and so, anything you can do to emphasis that has always a great plus I think.

Beth Accomando: You ever reputation for doing horror you did a very nice teaser for this kind of jokingly referencing the cooking and the human flesh element but the play seems to be about so much more than that. So, how do you kind of balance kind of audience expectations of you and what you’re actually getting?

Stuart Gordon: Well, I think you have I mean the thing about I love this play and I think that Ben Brand is an amazingly talented writer, and I want to be able to say that I was the one who first put him on stage. But I think going all the way back to Shakespeare knew that he had to have some things to keep the ground lane interested he had to be plucking out eyeballs he had to be chopping off hands, he had to be doing things, Julius Caesar’s assassination is very bloody as it is described in the script. But then he has absolutely amazing poetry and I feel that this play is similar in a way that it has lot to say but it also it has this moment that are sensational.

Beth Accomando: Now, you’re a filmmaker as well as a stage director. Do you think this works best as a play do you think it could work as a film or with?

Stuart Gordon: Well, I think that if this was a film it wouldn’t be as unique as it you see that’s the word the key word in this it’s there is something about doing it live on stage that really make its special.

Beth Accomando: Did you find any particular challenges of doing this in this venue because it is kind of small and I mean was it better for you do you think that the audience is this close?

Stuart Gordon: Yeah. I love having the audience close like this that’s the things about theatre that I really like it feel sometimes when you go to see these big productions you’re a million miles away and it’s like you don’t really get that sense of that’s alive and it’s really happening right before your eyes. And that’s what nice about a little theater like us.

Beth Accomando: Now, tonight was your first performance.

Stuart Gordon: Yes.

Beth Accomando: And you did have some talk back with the audience how helpful is that you to have those kind of preview performances within interaction with the audience?

Stuart Gordon: It’s essential for me it’s really great to be able to talk to them about what they like what they didn’t like what they got, what they didn’t get. There is always some key piece of information that you forget to put into the play that some one of the things that was always found and the audience on that reminds you.

Beth Accomando: And you have some pretty high caliber audience members here to you have Barbara Crampton you had your Dante.

Stuart Gordon: I know it’s quite as star studded audience Mick Garress was here I mean it was really it was fantastic and it’s very honored that they came and to see the first performance.

Beth Accomando: How would you compare putting on a small production like this with trying to make an independent film I mean this do you feel that one is more difficult than the other or they both equally challenging?

Stuart Gordon: Well they’re challenging for different reasons I always feel the theatre is what separates the men from the boys because you can’t stop at and do it over again whereas you can in the movie. My feeling has always been that both film and theater are about the actor and I’m very, very lucky to have such great actors in this.

Beth Accomando: Seeing this for the in its first preview performance with an audience. Where there any like surprises for you in terms of how the audience responded or?

Stuart Gordon: Yeah. It was constantly surprising to me things that were where they were laughing and things where I thought they would and they didn’t or it was kind of hard to gauge some of the things. So, seeing a couple more times with an audience is going to be really useful.

Beth Accomando: Now we have, have recently incidents of cannibalism where this is actually based on a real story from 10-years-ago I mean do you think there is some sort of inherent interest in that or do you and was any of the fact kind of announcement of it?

Stuart Gordon: Well I do say it is amazing to me that there are so much about Cannibalism in the papers these days when we first announced that we’re going to do this it got more the responses was bigger than any play or movie I’ve ever done it was just like it went through the roof and I was I sort of felt like we’re hitting a nerve here pardon the expression.

Beth Accomando: And I mean do think as I know that is a bit of a hook to get the audience as attention in that there is like a lot more to this and that it’s going to surprise people?

Stuart Gordon: I think that it’s the play is very touching it really is a love story and in a sense, it’s like the whole a relationship from beginning to end you’re boiled down to like an hour and half. But I think if you’re told them what they are coming to see that they would never a single ticket that’s the thing that’s great about that is that the it has a hook and it’s and it is based on a true story which I think is it’s remarkably close to the true story actually.

Beth Accomando: And is it going to be hard to promote it though because there is, it’s kind of like the audience that might initially come based on the story is going to be surprised by what they get but there is whole audience out there that I think would really appreciate this that might be kind of put off but it thinking that it’s just a horror.

Stuart Gordon: Well there are those who are never going to like horror no matter what you do and I just kind of think it isn’t for everyone that those who appreciate I think will come and those who do want to have anything to do it won’t.

Beth Accomando: Talk a little bit about horror in the sense that I think people think of it a lot of times in very limiting sort of definition of the genre and this really pushes?

Stuart Gordon: Well, again going back to Shakespeare, you know Shakespeare used horror to keep the ground links interested to keep the play moving along King Lear, which is considered sometimes to be his greatest play, a guy’s eyes being gouged out on stage he uses gore effects in his plays a lot like Titus Andronicus it’s like wall to wall carnage really. But even in all of his tragedies he I think he is trying to if you’re to just present poetry we wouldn’t remember him today.
Beth Accomando: And just for a personal question what the status on never more of being made into film and re-animator ever coming back?
Stuart Gordon: Well, we’re working on both of those things everything takes forever but we haven’t given up.
Beth Accomando: That’s good to hear. Thank you very much. That was Stuart Gordon talking about the play Taste. I asked playwright Benjamin Brand how we discover the story of Armin Meiwes.
Benjamin Brand: A friend of mine actually sent me a link to the original news story or at least the original story when the man who was the man was convicted of having eaten or having killed and eaten another man. And I read it and I thought God what in the world motivates these two men both of them were kind of seem very unknowable and that was on that was interesting to me and I just kept thinking about them and I kept thinking how in the world would you try to tell this story and I couldn’t figure it out and went up having dinner it must have been right after I read about it about the conviction.
I had dinner with a friend and I said I think there is a movie in there initially is what I thought I said but I can’t figure out what happens in the story aside from the night that they meet and do this thing, and he said well, why don’t you write the movie just about that. And so, I wrote it, it was initially intended to be it was a screen play and but it was in a single location and it was hold in real time which obviously is the same with the play I just felt initially at least that obviously, there was this sort of proviant appeal of the story and this question how do these guys decide to do this thing. And when I started writing it I think what excited the me the most was the idea that on the surface they seem to be opposites, one of them is dominant one of them is submissive one of them is the perpetrator one of them is the victim but that over the course of me writing it discovering that in fact they were basically two sides of the same coin. And once I figure that out and I put that in quotes because I think anybody who looked at it would realize that once I figure that out it was very it was a very kind of athletic writing experience I wrote it very quickly and it was done.
Beth Accomando: Now did you do research into how these people word did you just make everything up?
Benjamin Brand: I did very little research I read the initial story of the conviction of the man who did the eating, and I started to write and at some point, in the middle of writing it I must have gotten stuck or something and I went online and started reading a longer article about what happened, and in the article, I read something that was so counter to the characters that I was creating that I stopped. I read that the Terry character the man I’m calling Terry, in the middle of it as this other guy was dying in the bathtub which already seemed wrong to me stopped to read a Star Trek novel or Star Wars novel. And already there was too much emotional intensity between these two guys for such a thing to happen and I just said I don’t want to read any more about the real case because I’m off in my own creative space with them and so, I stopped. I think that there are a few things in the play that are from the original story but what actually transpires between these two men is an act of a work of imagination it’s not really based on what actually happen as far as I know.
Beth Accomando: Now you wrote this intending it to be a film how do you feel seeing it as a play?
Benjamin Brand: It’s so much more intense as a play, and I was unprepared for that. I think somewhere in my mind as I was writing it initially as a screen play I knew that whoever was going to direct it was going to be able to cut was going to be able to edit. And so, things that you see quite boldly on the stage in the film the film that was in my head at least I thought oh, well they will cut around this so, the scene where Terry’s is masturbating Vick I thought well if you all just see a shot at his shoulder and you will see it moving up and down and then you will see a reaction shot of Vick and you will see his head tilt back and you will it will be implied what’s going on. But suddenly it’s on stage and you’re seeing what’s on the television and you’re seeing these two actors perform this activity and it’s very startling. And so, all the sexuality, all of the violence is so much more intense then I think the film that I was playing in my head as I wrote it. Once it became a stage play, the process of turning into a stage play was very simple, they were probably two or three things that were in the screenplay that were clearly visual a close up of something that was going to explain the story and I would have to add a line of dialogue to clarify he says, these are just magazine cut outs, he doesn’t in the film in the screenplay that was just a shot and you understood what it was. But basically, there were no real meaningful changes between the screen play and the stage play and I though well it will just be the same thing as far as I know it’s not the same thing at all it’s much more it’s much more visceral experience I think as a stage production at least compare to again the movie that’s in my head.
Beth Accomando: When do you think I was also intensified by the fact that such a small theater where the audience is practically in the laps of the actor literally in part of the.
Benjamin Brand: Yes, I mean look there the experience of smelling food, smelling food that’s being cooked it does make you feel that you’re in this apartment for these two guys and there is a feeling of my God I’m trapped in a cage with not just one lion but two lions, and I know that there is an exit at the theater but I didn’t see anybody going out and I think that it’s more it’s maybe more powerful and if you’re sitting especially in these front couple rows you’re on the same eye level as these two men and they’re sitting right next to you and the sweat on their brows is real and the sweat stains on their back are real and the smell of onions that’s coming through the into the audience is real and obviously the whole thing is performance and I know it’s fiction I know it’s fake and I know I wrote it but I’m having an experience that seems counter to what I know in my head is really going on. I’m moved by things that I wrote myself seeing these guys perform them and I’ll think I know the story this guy is telling here is a lie and yet, I’m being moved along with him, and maybe that has to do with the smallness of the space I don’t know and maybe this is also because I wrote it so long ago that I’m watching it I don’t feel exactly like I’m watching it as the person who wrote it. I feel like I’m watching it as an audience member and that’s pretty exciting.
Beth Accomando: Is this the first play you written is it you work been screenplays?
Benjamin Brand: I’ve only yeah, this is the first play that I’ve ever written I’ve written screenplays and I’ve written television and in effect this obviously was written as a screenplay but it became a stage play and Stuart was really I think the person who figured out that it could be a stage play. I think turning it into a stage play for me felt like oh, this is so easy I will just change these few lines that seems to film it or this close up here I will add this line of dialogue and it was Stuart who sort of Stuart had to do the work. Stuart had to really make this thing happen in a theater space under this little proscenium here. I don’t know I feel like it’s obviously my script and the actors are doing exactly what I have written and yet at the time I feel like it’s Stuart’s play and it’s also this is why I feel like I can watch it a little bit as an outsider.
Beth Accomando: Stuart had done like a little teaser for a video teaser where it was very clear that there was going be some sort of eating of human flesh in the play. It’s a play that on one level can be called horror and yet it really expands kind of what I think most people’s definition of horror is. So, how do you think you’re, how different is going to be to find the right audience for this because it’s seems to be multiple things?
Benjamin Brand: When I first met with Stuart he started to refer to it as horror and I said oh, I don’t think this is horror and Stuart said oh, you’re not one of those people are you and I fear that I might be I don’t see it as a horror, I don’t see it in the horror genre I see it as a dramatic piece that has these sort of transgressive or violent elements but to me it’s a drama I think just Stuart it is in the horror genre and because I’m not the director of the play I accept Stuart’s vision and I’m enthusiastic about Stuart’s vision and he believe me he is the one doing all of this work. I don’t know who the audience I’m telling you it’s very candidly, I don’t know who the audience is for this play if it turns out it’s going to be horror fans terrific if it turns out it’s going to be theatre going fans who want to see something that’s a little transgressive great I wrote the thing that somehow sometimes people say like why did you write this and I think as I think of most things that I’ve written that aren’t work or higher I think I wrote it because I was able to reach the ending. I reach the ending of this play and I said okay, now we’ll see what happens in the world with it
And if Stuart says it’s a horror play then that’s what it is and he will know who’s going to come to it if it’s not a horror play then somebody else will come to it or I don’t know the answer to your question I feel like I was speaking in paragraphs there I’m not sure, I don’t know.
Beth Accomando: Great, thank you.
Benjamin Brand: Who’s going to come to this play you tell me.
Beth Accomando: That’s was Taste playwright Benjamin Brand and to conclude this podcast let’s look to a little cannibal history with Dr. Emily Anderson. She was the director of Exhibit development at the San Diego museum of man when the cannibal exhibit was installed almost a year ago to the day. I took a walk through the exhibit with her to discuss cannibalism through history and to compare myth with reality.
Emily Anderson: Okay. So, we’re in the apothecary shops so this has sort of our recreation of a mid-1700s Apothecary shop and we use this section to talk about the practice in Europe the very prevalent and mantry medical practice a prescribing medicine made from human body parts. So, at the same that European’s are going out around the world meeting people they didn’t understand and using cannibalism as one of the ways to really reinforced that difference and say these people are not like us because they eat other people back in Europe medicine was made from human body parts and prescribed regularly to people for a number of different ailments.
So, of course medicine is basically the practice of prescribing or ingesting medicine that’s made from human bodies. So, I would say the probably because at the time the word cannibalism was used to describe behavior of other people who seem to unfamiliar rather than calling it cannibal medicine people would call it corpse medicine because it really distanced that from the idea of sort of an abnormal behavior of consuming someone else’s flesh and corpse sounds much more clinical, but really how is this different from cannibalism.
Beth Accomando: So, what’s this little interactive section you have here?
Emily Anderson: This is our diagnostic machine for human based medicine. So, basically you will go through and select the different things that apply to you. So, 31 to 45 for age let’s say I’ve been in a bar fight and I’m prone to violence and I also get nose bleeds and at work maybe I use sharp objects and we add this up so we got 6, 8, 11, 13 and over here when I look at my prescription guide 13 gives me mummy dust and these are the most common forms of human based medicine that we have available and mummy dust in this drawer here is my prescription and it tell the each sheet which is something a visitor can take home with them tells you what things are made from and also what it would be prescribed for. So, mummy dust is basically made actually from mummy and it could be taken orally to reduce bruising or to improve overall health.
Beth Accomando: So, we just went through that prescription of mummy dust there is kind of a small amount of mummy’s in the world to pull from. So, where were they creating this kind of stuff?
Emily Anderson: So, some were actually imported from Egypt and also there were mummy’s that called Arabian mummy’s these are people who are dead and buried in the desert, who are then brought into Europe but when they when the supply ran low they actually started creating sort of artificially rapidly mummified bodies in Europe and their actual recipes that we can find in books from those period that explain how you mummify a corpse, and then they would use those for the medicine made from mummy’s.
Beth Accomando: Another interesting thing on your list here because on the wall here, we’ve got a list of remedies, but skull moss?
Emily Anderson: So, skull moss refers to kind of fungus that grows on the back of skulls that have been exposed to the air and the main supplier of these skulls were basically the battle fields of Europe this is a period when there were wars happening all the time I left for conquest or for religious reasons and especially in the case of Germany apparently in Germany the skulls that came from the battlefields in Ireland who are especially popular. So, there is a whole business of exporting skulls form the Irish battlefields to the continent to continental Europe executions often happened much more easily probably then they do now and so, there was this is kind of a collation to say but there was a supply of bodies for the demand in medicine made from human body parts.
Beth Accomando: And again remind me of what the timeframe is for this?
Emily Anderson: So, we’re really talking about the 16, 1700s here but there are accounts into the 1800s, 1830s of people talking medicine made from human body parts in Europe.
Beth Accomando: So, when we’re talking about people using this medicine are we talking about people like in the aristocracies using it and then the bodies coming mostly from the poor?
Emily Anderson: Yeah. So, I mean that’s a great question because that I think part of us wants to think of this sort of a fringe or may be folk type of medicine but this is very main stream advocated by the leading people of science and absolutely one of the most famous users of this kind of medicine was King Charles II of England and in fact he had his own laboratory and there was a kind of ground up skulls that they called King’s Drops after him. There was a Pope who was treated using the blood of two young men who were still living and then subsequently died for an ailment again a lot of the bodies were what came through executions. So, it was there is a class dynamic of course that work here where the poor more likely to be executed and those bodies would some would be used for other kinds of scientific research but some would get sort of shifted into the market for medicine.
Beth Accomando: And something that probably is less surprising to people is being part of this Apothecary is blood?
Emily Anderson: So, what’s really interesting is that during this time fresh blood is probably at least from the what I have look into the research that scholars have done who study this the taking of blood was most one of the most public ways that human based medicine was ingested because it was often used for restoring how the pronominal life but one very specific use of it was an attempts to cure epilepsy and those people actually would take would gather the blood at the site of executions. And so, literally when someone was beheaded there are all sorts of eye witness accounts of people standing with a cup waiting for this blood to come out of the executed person drinking it on the spot and then running as quickly as they could because part of the actual prescription was to get it circulate into your bodies quickly as you could by sort of what would call vigorous running or vigorous exercise and you had to run until you sort of collapsed from exhaustion. And so, this was done in public, people knew what was happening and so, it’s a very specific use but also this idea that from the blood especially for a healthy young man who died a quick violent death that the life force would be contained in that blood and that could be transferred to another individual which is where this idea that it could restore health or prolong life came from.
Beth Accomando: So, you’re talking about this is kind of being a sort of science [indiscernible] [01:07:05] is there any science to backup whether or not any of this stuff did any good or could have they done harm?
Emily Anderson: It’s a good question since I’m not in medical doctor I’m not entirely sure but I think there are things that are practiced now that seem to parallel or similar to some of the practices that were probably a few hundred years ago and I mean one example with may sound sort of gross but human fat was used topically on areas to ease aches and pain and you know that lanolin, I mean that’s basically sheep fat so, is there a difference in once you get away from sort of the morality question that we might impose on to the human fat then maybe I mean was it better than other kinds of fat maybe not but I think that certainly there is something about these of animal fat for certain kinds of things that we see happen outside of this context. So, beyond that it’s a good question I’m curious myself.
Beth Accomando: All right, so talk about this [indiscernible] [01:08:09]
Emily Anderson: Sure. So, this basically a reproduction of a book that existed that would have been annual for apothecaries in the mid-1700s and the original was in Latin. So, it would have been so this is the English translation of something that would have circulate more widely and in this book, is an entire section on medicine made from people. So, we have everything from hair, nail, saliva, ear wax, menstrual blood, the placenta is in here as well which is something that is again placenta is something that is still consider is consider powerful again urine, human dung, to read one of the most just to give an idea of some of the language around this and it says the semen or sperm is whimsically used by some for dissolving the malefic influences spells causing impotence. Human stones in the human bladder we have an entire section on mummy again something that was popular, skin fat, bones marrow the cranium and the heart. So, as you can see again this is something that’s very main stream that would appear in a typical I mean this would probably be like a pharmacist manual to explain what kind of medicines exist how to prepare them and what to prescribe them for and that is here in our apothecaries shop just like it probably it would have been back in the 1700s.
Beth Accomando: So, tell me how did this decision or how did this cannibal exhibit come about?
Emily Anderson: So, here at the San Diego museum of man we’re really interested in looking that might make some people a little uncomfortable but actually if you explore them sort of with sensitivity and thought you discover that there’s more that unites people then divide us. And cannibalism is certainly one of those topics where it’s a great Taboo and it’s often considered something that’s separate people that’s how you can’t imagine emphasizing with or relating to a cannibal.
Emily Anderson: But actually it’s much more common has happened across the world in human history and when you actually examine the real stories of cannibalism there’s a lot more in those that brings us together then it does separate us. So, I think it’s just a very compelling and provocative topic and we wanted to take the risk of looking in this.
Beth Accomando: Now, behind you are quite a few images from pop culture. So, talk about what this entry way is supposed to for [overlapping conversation] [01:10:25]
Emily Anderson: Sure. So, what we really wanted to do at this first section was to have more visitors some of the reference points that probably leap into their minds the second they hear the word. Now, cannibal is something that most people sit around and think about but when they hear the words certainly there are association they make immediately whether that’s character in movies or T.V. shows or we include literary references artistic references but we wanted to begin establishing a common ground. So, having in the beginning all the ways that the negative associations with cannibals is reinforcing our minds the contemporary to historic popular culture and that where we began in this exhibit.
Beth Accomando: One of the sections that the exhibit deals with a very exceptive kind of cannibalism which happen during shipwrecks. So, talk about that portion of history?
Emily Anderson: Absolutely, so you listed something that I find really ironic and surprising is that especially in the 1800s. So, this is a time when Europeans are exploring even more around the world and are using the label of cannibalism to really look down and lot of people that other people from other cultures at the same time when these ships happen to shipwreck usually in the Atlantic because there is so much traffic there if there is a group of people who would survived and ran out of food it was acceptable socially acceptable for them to kill somebody in that group in order for the rest to survive. It was considered sort of unpleasant but necessary practice it was called the custom of the sea and there were even rules about it basically you drew straws and the person who drew the shortest straw was the one who is eaten and the second shortest would have to do the act of killing. There are accounts as early of the 1600s but really hits a peak in the 1800s. These are things that are talk about in the news songs are written about them some of the survivors write stories they’re not hidden they’re not secret and it’s not until 1884 when a group of men who had killed the cabin boy to survive in a shipwreck were actually charged with murder in the British courts. So, in the 1800s this happened not all the time but frequently enough that people would have been familiar with it.
Beth Accomando: And the exhibit also tackles a question that kind of –with the athletes who plane crashed into the Andes it’s a similar it’s a parallel kind of situation and that you’re have not shipwreck but plane wrecked. So, talk about how you set that in this exhibit.
Emily Anderson: So, one the things I really want us to do in this exhibit is to ask our visitors to step into the shoes of people who are faced with really difficult decisions and for them to think about giving the same circumstances would I make the same choices can I empathize with this person, do I understand what this part what happened and in the case of that you’re going rugby team who was plane crash in the Andes in 1972 they we feature a clips from a documentary done by them where they talk about the decisions that they made and how they arrived at the decision to eat the dead who are mostly their friends people that they knew and for them they really, they talk about one how they couldn’t face their family without knowing they had tried everything to survive. If that had been the difference between life and death and their mother discovered that they didn’t eat a person that’s why they died, but how could they live like that doing everything necessary seems like the right choice, but also for them was a very spiritual experience that it felt like this difference that made this incredible sacrifice by their bodies being consumed and that they would really treasure and honor that sacrifice and they talk about their experiences and incredibly profound and moving ways.
Beth Accomando: So, would you say that the main goal of the exhibit is to kind of challenge stereo types?
Emily Anderson: Absolutely, at the end of the exhibit we want our visitors to ask themselves can I understand cannibals or people who have been labeled cannibals people that I feel like I have more in common with whether or not they really were cannibals but can I relate to them better could I be a cannibal and is that something that is there isn’t a right or wrong answer here but we do want to challenge stereotypes and challenge visitors to really push the boundaries a little bit and think about where they stand with this topic.
Beth Accomando: Or it’s like where we are that this is the end of this exhibit.
Emily Anderson: Yeah. So, this is the end of the exhibit and what we really wanted to have happen here is for visitors who we push them a little bit we probably make them instead of kind of come out of their comfort zone we’ve talk about different ways that cannibalism might be a lot more familiar to them then they would think maybe it help change their mind about something or at least change the definition and now we what we want them to do think about what are the things that they might do that their funds are people that they knew might do or that their friends might consider cannibalism and specifically here we have this magnet wall were we can put up different human based things like blood and would you consider the ingestion of blood cannibalism what about boogers yours or somebody else’s, what about cremated remains if you snort somebody’s remains is that cannibalism or not and this is really just a fun way to end this exhibit where you think about like what line of things that are familiar to you that you’ve never consider cannibalism that might be might have fall under the category of cannibalism.
Beth Accomando: That was Dr. Emily Anderson. Thanks for listing to what I hope was a tasty addition of listener supported KBPS Cinema Junkie Podcast. If you’re enjoying the show please leave a review on iTunes or like the Cinema Junkie Facebook page I will have a new interview with Stuart Gordon coming up about the 40th Anniversary Revival of his adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut Sirens of Titian as well as the show celebrating Casablanca’s 75th Anniversary. So, till our next film I’m Beth Accomando your resident Cinema Junkie.
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