There have been some pretty outrageous villains in media for ages, based on everything from kites to condiments. Talented creators from all walks of life seem to possess the same vital skill: the ability to elevate the most mundane household items into the scariest menaces imaginable. Perfectly harmless things from Legos to dolls have scared kids and adults alike out of their wits for ages. A scary toy almost seems like child’s play as far as frightening playthings go in the history of film these days. But what if the innocuous household item with its heart set on destruction isn’t just something you have lying around, but something you might actually have been planning to eat?
While food might most often be a weapon instead of the perpetrator, there are plenty of examples of apples that are not only poisonous, but poisoning themselves to wreak havoc on unsuspecting victims. For decades, twisted treats have been a staple of comics, movies, and video games. From creatures made of food to actual food gone wild, here are 15 examples of devastating delights in media that will have you thinking twice about what you put on your plate, or in your belly.
15 EYE-SCREAM, X-MEN
The X-Men feature mutants with any number of odd powers that may or may not have actually been useful in everyday life, from the bird-like Beak to the long-necked … Longneck. Perhaps no mutant had powers as unusual as the first rogue on the list: Eye-Scream, an X-Men who used his incredible powers to infiltrate Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters as a tasty puddle of ice cream to try and destroy them..
That’s right: Eye-Scream could turn into literally any flavor of ice cream, from vanilla to banana split. He was salty over the two scoops of fantastic skills dished out to the incredible X-Men and used his gifts to melt into a puddle and slip through the school’s defenses. Ultimately, Xavier froze him into a block of ice cream and Eye-Scream made Moose Tracks out of the pages of X-Men, seemingly forever.
14 PIZZA THE HUTT, SPACEBALLS
From the sweet to the surreal, here comes the notorious space crime lord Pizza the Hutt. The Spaceballs villian attempted to extort the rogueish Lone Starr for a whopping million spacebucks. This Jabba parody, named for a popular American pizza chain (fun fact: he was Pizza Margherita in the Italian dub), was a cheesy monstrosity with unsettling human eyes peeking out from beneath piles of melty mozzarella.
Pizza is a nasty slice of work who makes his way into Lone Starr and Barf’s life on an oil slick of bad intentions. It’s hard to imagine any character being more unpleasant to look at than Jabba, or honestly, pizza ever being unappetizing. Pizza reigns supreme on both counts, though. Pizza the Hutt is an unappealing pile of pancake batter and pepperoni that almost anyone would pass up, but in the end, he wound up trapped and ate himself to death.
13 THE TOMATOES, ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOMATOES
This one’s practically an heirloom! Attack of the Killer Tomatoes featured a fine batch of fiesty fruits that rose up from the ground (or the garbage disposal) to turn the tables on their human overlords. A spoof of B horror movies of the ‘80s, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes became an instant cult classic for its bizarre and laughable antagonists..
Tomatoes of varying sizes take a hard line against humans from the get go. One corners a woman in her kitchen and leaves her in a puddle of ketchup, and one even manages to take down a poor man from the confines of a can of tomato juice. These ravenous little beasties wreak havoc on America and almost nearly succeed in destroying civilization itself til the dulcet tones of a smash hit song called “Puberty Love” put an end to their schemes.
12 EARL OF LEMONGRAB, ADVENTURE TIME
One million years dungeon if you don’t recognize this sourpuss. The Earl of Lemongrab is an extremely meme-able antagonist from the smash hit Cartoon Network series Adventure Time. Originally created by Princess Bubblegum, he’s a scheming little jellybean who attempts to depose her and turns Lemongrab (the place, not the person) into a dictatorship that his former companion Lemongrab 2 fails to overthrow.
The Earl of Lemongrab is one of the few entrants on this list whose edible nature is enshrined in canon. Princess Bubblegum initially created Lemongrab 2 to keep the original Lemongrab company, but when OG Lemongrab took a dark turn, he developed some similarly dark appetites -- by the time Lemonhope arrives to try to end his regime, Fat Lemongrab has devoured many of his subjects and half of Lemongrab 2. What’s worse, being eaten or being trapped alive in a tyrant’s belly til someone makes him explode?
11 BELLY BUSTER, KIRBY: RIGHT BACK AT YA!
It’s no surprise that a ravenous cutie pie like Kirby would have any number of food-themed villains in his rogue’s gallery, but Belly Buster is unusual in that he’s both the snack and the snacker. King Dedede orders the Belly Buster, who originally appears as a custard pie, to bury Cappy Town in pie. While the Belly Buster looks like a sweet treat with vanilla custard and golden brown crust, his pie weapons are foul and make him the target of numerous insults from the indignant residents of Cappy Town.
After one too many mean remarks, Belly Buster transforms into one upset stomach. He makes a quick meal of King Dedede, Kirby, and Escargon before turning back to his destructive rampage. In the end, Bomb Kirby makes short work of this shortcake, freeing the three of them from Belly Buster’s snare and putting an end to him once and for all.
10 FLAMIN’ YAWN, EARTHWORM JIM 2
This Earthworm Jim villain is a rare treat! The top grade Level Ate boss of Earthworm Jim 2, Flamin’ Yawn is a giant t-bone steak that spits fire and surveys his impressive pizza box kingdom from atop a levitating plate. Backed up by a legion of deadly salt shakers, Flamin’ Yawn has it out for Jim from the get-go. Eventually Jim finds himself trapped in Yawn’s pepperoni palace, but even this prime cut can’t take Earthworm Jim down.
Flamin’ Yawn seems to be a well-seasoned world leader, though. Level Ate may be one big food pun, but Flamin’ Yawn is the only scrumptious supervillain on the block. Jim’s other foes are fiendish flexible straws and treacherous toothpicks, though he’s forced to traverse the terrain with a few cracked eggs. He’s tough, but not tough enough -- a skilled player can cut through this level with medium difficulty.
9 BROCCOLOIDS, POWERPUFF GIRLS
This list has been awfully heavy so far -- time for a light mid-list snack. The Broccoloids are nasty little aliens who invaded Townsville in the “Beat Your Greens” episode of the Powerpuff Girls. Intent on world domination, these grievous greens plant mind control devices in broccoli, maybe not understanding how distasteful such a healthy, fiber-filled food is to most kids.
The rebellious tots of Townsville refuse to chow down and as a result, Professor Utonium and the other adults around town are left in the Broccoloids’ thrall. The Powerpuff Girls work out that they’ll have to literally take a bite out of crime to put down this threat and rally the troops, coaxing the other kids to join them in their quest to overcome the alien Broccoloid threat through the power of teamwork and very strong stomachs.
8 TOGETHER BREAKFAST, STEVEN UNIVERSE
Steven Universe is known for some very unsettling "monsters of the week" (cat fingers, anyone?) but Together Breakfast from the first season episode of the same name manages to be tragic and terrifying all at once. Steven goes out of his way to make a towering waffle breakfast full of tasty toppings like whipped cream and popcorn to share with the Gems, only to find himself blown off when they have pressing Gem matters to which to attend.
Together Breakfast in hand, Steven heads down to the depths of the Crystal Temple, where an unfortunate accident with a scroll Garnet is trying to burn turns the Together Breakfast from a casual meal for the family into a massive monster whose defeat turns into a family affair. This one has a happy ending, though: the possessed Together Breakfast meets a sticky end, and Steven and the Gems decide to make a fresh one … only to wind up with an appetite for pizza instead.
7 LORD LICORICE, CANDY LAND
Candy Land is a light-hearted children’s game set in a land of sweets, populated by darling characters like the Duke of Swirl (Mr. Mint, for Candy Land veterans), Queen Frostine, and the licorice-bearded, shiny maroon-carapaced menace Lord Licorice. For a game that prides itself on being extremely kid-friendly, Lord Licorice stands out as a sneering, brooding presence soiling the light-hearted landscape of Candy Land.
Lord Licorice toiled to ruin Candy Land (always by non-violent means, mind you) because his bitterness about being the least popular candy turned his heart as hard as one of your grandmother’s favorite strawberry treats. It’s easy to see why he was in such sour spirits, too. How hard must that licorice goatee have been to maintain? No matter the reason, a bitter black licorice heart made him one tough cookie for plenty of Candy Land heroes back in the day.
6 SUMMERWEEN TRICKSTER, GRAVITY FALLS
The Summerween Trickster could be a kindred spirit to poor Lord Licorice. The vengeful spirit of Gravity Falls’ Summerween holiday, the Trickster first appears as a spindly-limbed scarecrow who chastises Dipper, Mabel, and Soos for not being sufficiently respectful of the true spirit of Summerween. (In Dipper’s defense, if someone looking like the Trickster turned up at our door on Halloween we'd assume they were too old for trick-or-treating too.)
Eventually, the Trickster reveals himself to be a frightening mass of the discarded candy of the world. Licorice, peppermints, those weird little beige toffees in their cellophane wrappers -- the Summerween Trickster is a roiling mass of tossed-away treats. In the end he does find himself in a better position than Lord Licorice when Soos happily chows down on him to save his friends. Defeat can be sweet, too.
5 PIZZA FACE, TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (2012)
It’s no surprise that legendary pizza aficionados like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would eventually find themselves facing off against their favorite meal. The heroes in a halfshell found themselves fighting a devious dough in the “Pizza Face” episode of the 2012 Nickelodeon cartoon after a famous pizza chef named Antonio tasted a bit of Mutagen.
He thought it might be a tasty new pizza topping, but what he got was an ooey, gooey makeover that transformed him into a living pile of pepperoni and mushroom pizza. Using bits of dough from his own body, the transformed Antonio attempted to brainwash pizza fans across the city with mutated pizzas. Thankfully Michelangelo busted into the shop and single-handedly defeated Pizza Face in the knick of time, saving April from meeting a grizzly end as Antonio’s late night snack.
4 BARONESS VON BON BON, CUPHEAD
One of many debtors to the Devil in the retro-style game Cuphead, Baroness von Bon Bon is also the sweetest of the bunch -- literally. The Baroness would be right at home in a gritty reboot of Candy Land. She sits out early rounds of the battle and instead sends candy-coated lackeys like Jawbraker and Candy Corn out to do her bidding instead while she sits pretty in a beautiful frosted castle.
Much like the Summerween Trickster, the Baroness makes a tasty treat into a deadly weapon. Her army of bon bons prove to be deadly foes in any mode of Cuphead, and even her castle turns into a creepy-crawly nightmare in the final stage of the fight. Skilled players can stop this sugar rush in its tracks, though, and leave Baroness von Bon Bon a crying mess at the end of this battle.
3 THE MEMBERBERRIES, SOUTH PARK
The devious ‘Memberberries play on the fine line between nostalgia and obsession for the past. These superfruits seem harmless enough at first, giving anyone who eat them a feeling of fondness for pop culture icons from the ‘80s and ‘90s. While the denizens of South Park have a blast reminiscing over pop culture franchises from days gone by, the ‘Memberberries infect them with something more insidious. “The good old days” might have been fun, but they weren’t great for everybody, and soon enough their racist, homophobic tendancies come to the fore.
The ‘Memberberries are villains of much of the early twentieth season of South Park and have yet to meet a definitive end. They’re seemingly indestructible to everything but actually getting eaten -- even their juices can talk. They’re a nasty bunch, putting the rest of the villainous vittles here to shame with their bad attitudes.
2 GINGERDEAD MAN, THE GINGERDEAD MAN
A gingerbread killer voiced by Gary Busey? He’s about as cute as you’d expect. The feature character of the surprisingly long-lived horror film franchise The Gingerdead Man, the Gingerdead Man is one tough cookie created from a cursed blend of gingerbread spices, the ashes of a murderer, and a little bit of blood; an irresistible culinary blend for the ages, to be sure.
A freak electrical accident brings him to life like a fresh-baked Frankenstein, and a wild-eyed cookie that bears a suspiciously strong resemblance to the man who voices him rises to begin a murderous rampage. The Gingerdead Man wound up with a surprisingly long shelf life -- three solo movies, a crossover with the cult classic Evil Bong, and even a comic book.
1 STAY PUFT MARSHMALLOW MAN, GHOSTBUSTERS
The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man of Ghostbusters fame is a figure so recognizable you don’t even have to have seen the movie to know who he is. A harmless logo made into a city menacing beast by Gozer, Stay Puft just goes to show that anything can be scary in the right circumstances.
The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is more than a hundred feet of light, puffy sugar that terrorizes Manhattan with a little assist from a god hellbent on global domination. Ultimately the Ghostbusters get the bright idea to defeat Gozer by destroying the portal he’s entered the world through -- namely, the massive mound of marshmallows destroying the city -- and their combined power wins the day. Their destruction of Stay Puft even leaves behind a mess of sticky toasted marshmallow behind to help lift the city’s spirits after such a terrifying ordeal. S’mores, anyone?