February 9th is National Pizza Day and to celebrate, let’s get delivery and a rental. Little compares to the combination of pizza and a horror movie. Whether a Friday night-in or a Saturday sleepover, every weekend begs the addition of ‘za and a fright flick. A throwback to unsupervised youth on a Blockbuster night, staying up too late, and consuming junk food. The resulting nightmares would traumatize adolescents and influence horror media forever. Reminding the audience that nothing is sacred in scary movies, not even your slice.
Sometimes You Eat the Pizza, Sometimes the Pizza Eats You
Rivalries of regional styles rage on to this day. But whether you favor Chicago or New York, even bad pizza is still pizza. The worst pizza in the universe is Pizza The Hutt. Intergalactic mobster that drives the entire plot of Space Balls. Disgusting and delicious, he directly inspired the animated villain Pizza Face from the 2012 TMNT series. Hypnotizing the hungry into his parlor to eat as calzones. Simultaneously unveiling the vulnerability of the voracious. The original Ninja Turtle animated series gave us Pizza Monsters from Dimension X. Almost gremlin-like, they hatch from meatball shaped eggs when heated up. Just add water to grow into yellow Xenomorphs that rearrange positions in the food chain. The cannibal slasher, Offerings, has an escaped psycho courting a teen with body parts. Beginning with a stack of “sausage” pizzas on her doorstep, nobody notices the missing family dog. Freddy Krueger has an appetite for soul food in Nightmare on Elm Street 4. On a dream date in a diner, the meatball toppings resemble victims screaming for mercy. Every time Freddy eats a soul, he gains another slimy mole. The moment in the franchise when fans notice how much Krueger’s skin resembles pizza. You are what you eat in House IV, where Kane Hodder makes an uncredited cameo as The Human Pizza. Singing delivery has everyone humming until they open the box to a grinning pie. Ruining dinner by spewing gory marinara and attacking with cheese tentacles. But if the food doesn’t kill ya, the service will.
Little Pizza Shop of Horrors
Urban legends of haunted red sauce joints exist all over. Possibly as continuations of the old trope of fronts for the mob. In the Killer Pizza horror novel series by Greg Taylor, the titular business is a front for a monster hunting organization. It’s like the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense was slinging slices on the side. Not necessarily needing a cover to bring the paranormal into your personal pan, some restaurants simply make unfortunate decisions regarding location. The pizza horror comedy Slice is centered around Perfect Pizza Place, an eatery built on top of a portal to Hell. Inciting more than bad Yelp reviews, a coven of witches wreak havoc to gain access. But a fate much worse than bad service is having an in-house monstrosity dining on you. Namely, the horrific animatronics of pizza chain restaurants. Any nostalgic attendee of family fun in its heyday were captivated and terrorized by the robots. Popular horror game series Five Nights at Freddy’s brought these childhood fears to life with machines moving freely at night. Possessed by vengeful spirits that punish all trespassers. In the same vein, 2018’s Huluween film festival featured the pizza horror short, The Hug. Pandory the Panda is a lone robot in his restaurant and needs to feed between performances. Also being a demon, Pandory prefers children. This short would give way to the 2021 Nicholas Cage pizza horror film, Willy’s Wonderland. A serial killer cult inhabits the animatronic characters and demands human sacrifice. This redefines the notion of businesses struggling to keep customers. However, ordering to-go isn’t always the safer bet, especially if you’re making the deliveries.
Pizza is Gonna Send Out For You
Slinging pizza is a respectable hustle but with considerable risk involved. These liminal laborers walk between worlds and enter unknown situations repeatedly in a single night. Adventurous drivers might take a chance outside of their delivery zone like in Satanic Panic. A pizza horror film featuring a delivery girl served up as a sacrifice to Baphomet at the hands of Satanist glitterati. In Slumber Party Massacre, the delivery boy is dead on arrival at a slashing in progress. Awaiting help, the teens help themselves to the cold pizza lying next to his corpse. The perfect comfort food to stress eat when stalked by a homicidal maniac. In the Indian horror movie, Pizza, the supernatural orders out for the pizza guy, Michael. Trapped in a haunted bungalow looping its trauma, this pie is extra bloody with ketchup and murder. The pizza profession requires grit as behind each door lies a potential occupational hazard. A single order could be a family of zombies craving deep dish brains, like in Dance of The Dead. Jimmy makes his last delivery of the night and realizes he’s on the menu.
Pizza Horror as a Subtrope
What makes pizza horror truly terrifying is that it’s too real. Whether you’re an employee or a customer, pizza is a bullseye for the weird. We lower our defenses when taking in sustenance. Fueling that long run from the chainsaw man wanting to eat you. Consider how you invite chaos into your life every time you grab a slice.
And always remember to tip.
Tales From The Crust: An Anthology of Pizza Horror by Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing