I'm a Humanitarian

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

"If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?"

Pete Seeger[1]

Wait, this trope is not about humanitarianism. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Cannibalism is considered one of the greatest taboos, so naturally, it's become a trope. One idea which stands out is that human flesh is superficially similar to swine flesh, hence the nickname "long pig" and the phrase "eating the long pork". A robot designed to taste wine corroborates this idea. Thus, it should be delicious, which is reflected both in Hannibal Lecter's gourmet taste and in the idea in Sweeney Todd that pies with this ingredient would sell like hotcakes.

You'll often have people eat something and not know what it is, and then discover the ghastly truth, such as in many an Inn of No Return.

A mostly Discredited Trope (see the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie for an exception) is a variation that portrays members of non-Western societies as cannibalistic, often attempting to cook visiting Europeans in a pot.

In Speculative Fiction, cannibalism is generally extended to include all sapient or humanoid creatures, even if they aren't technically human. Any species that includes humans (or other humanoids) in its diet is usually portrayed as villainous. Likewise, humans treating other sapient species as food are rarely treated sympathetically (unless What Measure Is a Non-Human? is in effect).

To various degrees, anthropophagy is usually expected of Zombie Mooks. In comedic versions, jamming an apple in the victim's mouth is almost an Obligatory Joke. Compare No Party Like a Donner Party.

Compare with Alien Invasion, Auto Cannibalism, Brain Food, Cannibal Clan, Cannibal Tribe, Cannibalism Superpower, Carnivore Confusion, Eat the Rich, Eats Babies, Human Resources, I Ate What?, Let's Meet the Meat, No Party Like a Donner Party, To Serve Man, and You Are Who You Eat.

Examples of I'm a Humanitarian include:

Anime and Manga

  • Mazinger Z: The Chip Kamoy in one of the manga versions (the version penned by Gosaku Ota, to be exact). They were a species of giant, fish-like, maneater humanoids from another dimension that raised herds of humans like cattle. However they had depleted their homeworld's natural resources and were running out of food, so they crossed over to our dimension to find more preys. It can be interesting mentioning one of them declared "humans taste better when they are skinned".
  • In obscure manga Because I'm The Goddess, one of the protagonist Aoi's sisters loves this trope. She ate several of her own personal maids - and her pet parrot - because she loved them so much. She's also in love with Aoi, and guess what that means...
  • In Witchblade during the first few bouts of transformation/takeover by the Witchblade Masane licks a strange substance that oozes out of damaged Excons and iWeapons. They are based on an imitation of the Witchblade's properties, including the transforming field, so this more or less resembles eating one's own cloned tissue. Considering how they were created, the subject is invoked twice. In 9th episode Masane controls herself and shows no desire to repeat this trick, nor is expected to do it, after The Reveal.
  • Zetsu from Naruto is a cannibal, but only does so with the corpses that Akatsuki doesn't want to have lying around, and has only done it about three times thus far. He might have done more given the opportunity, but Konoha was pretty good about guarding the corpses after the first two.
    • He has only done it twice, both times to the corpses of brainwashed Akatsuki mooks, both times more to hide details of Pain's technique than anything else. He's not a cannibal either- he isn't human. In recent chapters he's actually revealed seemingly to be the product of Madara's mad science. The White half, at least.
  • The Mariages from StrikerS Sound Stage X of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha were revealed to have some taste for human flesh when Jail Scaglietti mentioned that the associate of his that planned to use them on various worlds was devoured by the very soldiers he mass-produced.
    • Also, in the original series, Arf wanted to eat Nanoha to get her out of Fate's way.
  • The Lost Number Aptom, of the anime and manga series Guyver, has a unique approach to this. He literally fuses with his victims and assimilates their bio-mass. This allows him to supercharge his regeneration to Nigh Invulnerability levels, although as the series progresses developments taken by Chronos means that Good Thing You Can Heal starts getting more a look in. Despite this repulsive method of "feeding", and the fact his goals are explicitly selfish (vengeance against Chronos and proving himself the most powerful life form in the world), he's actually treated as some sort of hero.
    • Mainly because if he succeeds, it still works to the heroes' benefit to some degree.
  • Gluttony in Fullmetal Alchemist is an Extreme Omnivore whose only concern in life is eating people, all kinds of objects, and even chunks of ancient ruins. Fellow homunculus Pride ends up devouring him.
    • The Cyclops Army fits the Zombie Mooks variant of the trope.
      • After melting him down into philosopher's stone residue, Father drank Greed, his "son". Later on, Father gets another act of cannibalism going One-Winged Angel and then devouring his empty shell of a body.
        • In the first anime, all of the homunculi would fit this at some point, as they become whole and get their powers from eating the "red stones" which are made of human sacrifices. Envy remarks on enjoying the taste.
  • In RG Veda, Taishakuten ate King Ashura to absorb his powers.
  • One chapter of Franken Fran had the victim's body being sliced up and served as dinner. Fran, being a Mad Scientist, was immediately able to identify it as human meat. Of course Fran, being a Mad Scientist, didn't say anything at first since she thought that this was what the guests intended to eat in the first place.
    • In another chapter, one of Fran's patients (probably accidentally) eats her boyfriend while having sex with him, probably as a side effect of the insect DNA used to regenerate her body.
    • Another chapter has a serial killer who eats parts of her victims. It turns out she's self-medicating her autoimmune disorder with oral tolerance. And then there's Gavrill, who loves chowing down on her kills.
  • Super Megatron in Transformers Return of Convoy decides to show how evil he is by eating a bunch of humans.
  • Many of the Apostles of Berserk love eating people. Bonus points for the fact that all of them were once human themselves.
  • Perhaps because of a dept to Fullmetal Alchemist, the homunculi of Busou Renkin like to eat humans as well. Papillon is shown absorbing people cleanly, leaving empty clothes behind, but the sharp teeth on other hommunculi suggests they have a more gruesome method.
  • Tomie can regenerate From a Single Cell each time she dies, but eating human flesh speeds up this process significantly.
  • There are quite a few demons in Yu Yu Hakusho that have a taste for human flesh, and for some of them, it's the only thing that they can eat. Raizen, one of the Three Kings in the Demon World and one of those who could only digest human meat, tells his descendant Yusuke that he actually sees this kind of trait as a weakness and notes that his descendant losing the need to feed on humans is a rapid evolution to cope with the current situation. After all, the Spirit, Demon, and Human worlds are all just part of the same whole, and in the near future, there will be ordinary humans going to the Demon World just because they feel like taking a vacation. When that time comes, demons like him will only be in the way.
  • In what may be Popcultural Osmosis from Fullmetal Alchemist, Baccano! is yet another anime that ties alchemy to cannibalism. Immortals can "eat" other immortals (absorbing them cleanly like Papillon above), allowing them to gain their memories/power.
  • Invoked a few different times in Umineko no Naku Koro ni, most memorably during the banquet during the second arc's tea party.
  • Suehiro Maruo's manga A Defenseless City is set in WWII Tokyo. A midget befriends a destitute mother and her son (the father has gone to war), and hires her to work in his stall that sells roast chicken splits. One day the boy disappears, and the mother, after a long fruitless day of search, is consoled by the midget, who offers her a dish of "chicken" splits. She eats, not realizing that she is partaking the flesh of her son.
  • Using the expanded definition of "human" in Neon Genesis Evangelion, Unit 01 does this. To be fair, she needs to absorb the S2 Organ, a vaguely-described infinite energy generator, in order to save the human race, and it can only be found inside the bodies of Angels... But did she really have to get it out with her teeth?
    • It also has the normal air of cannibalism as both Evangelions and Angels are made form the same source- Adam.
      • Except that Unit-01 isn't: She is specifically mentioned as being the only Evangelion created from Lilith instead of Adam.
  • One Piece
    • Sanji's mentor "Red Leg" Zeff survived a long wait on a deserted island by eating his own leg. The Squick is mitigated by the fact that he only did so because he'd given every other scrap of food available to Sanji.
    • In a early side-story, Buggy the Clown had to deal with a Wacky Wayside Tribe that was going to eat his crew.
    • Here's a non-human subversion from One Piece. Hatchan, an octopus fishman who was a henchman in the early Arlong saga, resurfaced as a purveyor of takoyaki at Sabaody Archipelago. Keep in mind, takoyaki is made with octopus. He is aware of this, and says he makes his takoyaki with other tentacled creatures like squid.
    • Big Mom, the Big Bad of the Whole Cake Island Arc. A Villainous Glutton who gained her Devil Fruit power by consuming the previous owner - by accident, most assume. Since then, while she has not been seen to engage in actual cannibalism, she can (and has) consumed the life force of anyone (including henchmen, even her own children) who anger her.
      • Charolette Smoothie, however, Big Mom's number three henchman, is a different story. A cruel and sadistic woman, Smoothie has one of the most brutal Devil Fruit powers, as she can wring liquid out of anything she can pick up. Thus, if anyone gets on her bad side, she'll grab them and wring the fluid out of them as if the victim was a soaked cloth, and is not above drinking said fluid later. Note that this does not kill the victim (though it does leave them badly dehydrated, meaning Smoothie could easily kill them afterwards) and she has been known to wring them out and make them watch as she drinks it; easy to see why her mother's rule over Whole Cake Island is unquestioned.
  • Possibly the case with the Russian Sushi restaurant in Durarara!!, although it's likely/hopefully just an urban legend. Simon is oddly insistent that the sushi is made of fish, not people, but in a later episode threatens some thugs that if they don't stop beating someone, they will provide ingredients for the sushi.
  • Chapter 406 of Bleach reveals that Aizen intends to do this to Ichigo.
  • In one episode of Gregory Horror Show, the main character is offered a bowl of stew from Gregory. Wary enough due to the creepy atmosphere of the hotel, the guest refuses until Gregory mentions the last guest to refuse the cook's food disappeared, two weeks ago. Seeing the chef standing behind Gregory, the guest changes his mind and starts eating...and discovers a gold tooth-filling in one of the bites. Cue Gregory gleefully telling the main character that "[the stew] has been marinating for two weeks now."
  • In the Chibi Vampire Airmail book, a young boy is looking for his girlfriend. He is actually that missing girlfriend. The main character finds him cooking a pot of stew. Guess what's in the pot...
  • Rurouni Kenshin villain Shishio is The Social Darwinist, and often likes to repeat the line "the flesh of the weak is the food of the strong". During a fight with Kenshin, he decides to literalize that philosophy, and takes a bite out of Kenshin. He eats said bite in the anime, though in the manga he spits it out.
  • The Chimera Ants of Hunter X Hunter can eat any animal, but begin to dine exclusively on humans after their Queen gains sapience and intelligence after eating a couple of human children. Eating humans not only grants the new generation of Ants human intelligence, it also gives them the potential to develop Nen abilities.
    • There are also a number of other examples of human-on-human cannibalism in the series, including a minor character who is a serial killer and claims to prefer the flesh of 22 year old women, and Hisoka nibbling on his own dismembered arm during a fight.
  • In Uzumaki, all those lovely mushrooms were really the placenta from the babies born. To add to the horror, the placentas grew back every night, ready for lunch the next day.
  • Played For Laughs in The Mermaid Princess's Guilty Meal, who eats her friends after they are caught by fishermen.
  • In Dorohedoro, crime boss Mr. En has the power to turn people into mushrooms, which he not only eats himself but serves to guests. His excuse for this is he doesn't like waste. To emphasize this, should an enemy be killed by one of his henchmen, he uses the corpses to grow regular mushrooms.

Comic Books

  • In Tales from the Crypt, a Shrimp Grill owner and his wife resort to murder to protect their failing business from foreclosure. The body? They cook it as steaks and quickly become the city's most popular Steak House.
  • In a famous Venom miniseries from Marvel Comics, the symbiote develops a sort of vitamin deficiency, and starts compelling Eddie Brock to help it eat human brains. When Eddie is too repulsed to continue, the symbiote leaves him temporarily.
    • Conveniently, whatever chemical it is the symbiote gets from brains can also be received from chocolate, a way of turning what was supposed to be something dark and edgy into a Running Gag...
    • The new Venom (formerly the Scorpion) has even less scruples, and thus doesn't have a problem with the whole "eating people" thing.
    • The Noir and 2099 incarnations of the Vulture have also shown a taste for human flesh.
    • Interestingly, there actually is a chemical that chocolate and the human brain have in common: phenethylamine.
  • Ragamuffin from Lenore doesn't drink human blood. He massacres and eats people instead.
  • In the Ultimate universe, The Hulk has been known to eat whole people. Apparently he tries to break the habit, as this editor recalls an issue where he's trying to get breakfast at a restaurant instead ("HULK WANT PANCAKES!"). The manager tells Hulk to leave because Hulk doesn't have any pants on. Too Dumb to Live, maybe, but denying Hulk his pancakes must take balls of adamantium.
    • The Hulk's taste for human is explained by Banner being a vegetarian, the Hulk is just naturally breaking the restraints Banner set for himself. So in other words, Banner is the vegetarian, Hulk is the Humanitarian. It works out perfectly.
  • Transmetropolitan has a popular restaurant chain called Long Pig, which serves vat-grown human meat.
    • There are also implied to be communities of cannibals throughout the city who'll eat anyone who bothers them.

They say they like politicians but couldn't eat a whole one. Political canvassers apparently keep better and mature nicely under the floorboards.

  • The DCU's Vandal Savage. "Recent archaeological evidence suggests that he may actually have invented cannibalism."
    • Semi-kinda-not-really justified in that he'll eventually die if he doesn't eat parts of his descendants. In one case Savage lost his immortality and restored it by eating a clone of himself.
    • In one issue of the Secret Six mini, he punishes the immortal Solomon Grundy by serving slices of him at a dinner party. Dr. Psycho and Cheshire are in attendance. She throws up. He asks for more.
  • Among Herr Starr's many humiliations is losing a leg to a family of cannibals.
    • There's also the scene where a man's hand is being chewed straight off his arm by a crazed war vet, but he doesn't notice for the length of a full conversation because it's under local anesthesia and the person he's having it with tells him not to turn his head.
  • Marvel Comics' Skrull Kill Krew have the ability to detect the shape-shifting aliens called Skrulls no matter what form they take. They gained this ability by... eating Skrull meat. And offer Skrull-burgers to those who want to join them.
  • The Ultimate Marvel Blob turns out to be a cannibal in Ultimatum. How is this shown? He eats the Wasp.
    • He was implied to be a cannibal during the first couple of arcs penned by Mark Millar.
    • "Tastes like chicken."
    • And then Hank Pym bites the Blob's head off.
    • Ultimate is also implied to eat humans, seeing them as lesser animals than him.
  • In Universe X, Jamie Madrox is turned into a Wendigo after eating one of his own duplicates to survive in a frozen wasteland. (Disturbingly, in the previous issue Madrox is shown complaining about the lack of meat, despite the fact that all the animals in the area have been transformed into sentient beings.)
  • At one point, while possessed by an Eldritch Abomination, Giganta seduces the Atom, then when she gets the chance, swallows him whole in a rather Fetish Fuelled panel.
  • In Avengers: The Initiative, The Hood kills and apparently eats a lackey who has displeased him. He tells his horrified followers, "I know a lot of you have... appetites. So do I. But you will learn to control them. To be smart about how you indulge them. Or your appetites will feed my appetites."
    • It gets better - the guy he ate was Vampiro. He was mad at him for, ahem, snacking without cleaning up after himself.
  • It's strongly implied that Sabretooth sometimes eats his victims.
  • Kevin and Cardinal Roark in Sin City.
  • Willy Pete from Empowered. He doesn't need to eat, he just likes doing it. And since he's a man of living fire, he can only eat superheroes and supervillains, as anything else would turn to ashes before he can get it into his mouth.
    • Also, almost everyone at the Caped Justice Awards.
  • Batman foe Corelius Stirk, who operates under the delusion that he requires the nutrients and hormones from people's hearts in order to stay alive, and these are best prepared with norepinephrine by inducing fear in the victim prior to death.
    • The Batman villain Killer Croc started out as a gangster with a skin condition, but as time has gone by, his humanity and sanity have slipped away. He does currently eat people.
      • The Flamingo is a psychotic hitman. Despite his name, as well as his pink uniform and vehicles, he is a sociopathic, mindless, killing machine, nicknamed "the eater of faces", a title he has lived up to.
  • Rosa Sleen, the Cannibal Queen, from The Spider story "Burning Lead for the Walking Dead" in Titanic Tales. She leads a cannibal cult that operates out of an exclusive dining club in New York where they feed human flesh to an unsuspecting upper crust. The meals include a drug that instills its victims with an insatiable lust for human flesh.
  • The mountain trolls in Elf Quest are strongly implied to be elf-eaters (and, less strongly, troll-eaters). Their Go-Back elf enemies retaliated: In one scene after returning to her tribe, Kahvi took a troll hand off someone who had his mouth full and said "Troll meat!?! I thought we gave that up".
  • One scene from Wanted shows the Big Bad, Mister Rictus, sitting at a dinner table dining on the innards of a man who has been hogtied and placed on a large serving plate. This is how we know that he's the really bad one, as opposed to the protagonists, who are just mass murderers, rapists, and secret dictators.
  • During the Emperor Joker arc in the Superman books, the godlike Joker decides to have Chinese for lunch...all billion+ of them.
  • Spider-Man villain Vermin is a human rat who lives in Absurdly Spacious Sewer and eats unlucky by-passers. He can also command rats and often invites them to join in.
  • One issue of Heavy Metal had a story with a very weird take on it. A Buxom Wench (Is that a trope? Cause it totally should be) is crossing the medieval countryside when three rapists attack her. A large man drives them off, and the BW comes with him to the abandoned castle he lives in. He tells her that his strength comes at a terrible price; he's a werewolf. Tonight is a full moon, and as always, he locks himself in a dungeon cell, and tells her not to let him out. Unfortunately, once night falls the rapists come back for revenge, but in a twist, instead of letting the werewolf out, the BW kills them all herself. Then in an even more bizarre twist, when the sun rises and the werewolf is human again, the BW tells him that he broke out, killed the rapists and ate them. The narrator notices, however, that the remains show that they had been roasted over a fire. Werewolves don't cook their victims, do they?
  • "Casket Canyon" in Jonah Hex #66 features an isolated town forced into a No Party Like a Donner Party situation. However, some of the townsfolk seem to have become quite fond of the taste of human flesh and will cheerfully kill and eat any strangers who wander into town.
  • The Punisher villain Nicky Cavella earned his reputation in The Mafia as follows: during a sit-down in an Asian restaurant with a Triad boss, said boss is eating a dish and arrogantly telling Cavella they won't back down in the face of the local Mafia, claiming he has three strong sons backing him up. Cavella tells him, "Two strong sons," and informs him that he and his two henchmen had arrived early and replaced the kitchen staff, and that the boss' youngest son "never made it home from school." It's then revealed what happened to that son's body, as the boss stares at his food in horror.
  • A witch and her evil husband in a story by Wilhelm Busch. (Though she turns the boy into a pig before; does that count?)
  • An issue of the revamped CREEPY comics had a story about a homosexual couple, one of which was a cannibal, and the other who wanted to be his victim.
  • Cyberfrog introduced one character in these words:

…It means he's a humanitarian. He eats humans.

Fairy Tales

  • "Little Red Riding Hood" used to have more gruesome elements to it. In certain once-common tellings, the Big Bad Wolf didn't just eat Red Riding Hood's grandmother—he fed her the leftovers.
    • The Newgrounds flash animation Red Riding Hood features this. And a bad ending, too.
  • In some versions of "Snow White", the evil queen wants Snow White's heart returned to her by the woodsman to eat (and also possibly regain youth and beauty, like historical pseudo-vampire Elizabeth Bathory, who bathed in young girls' blood for this reason, following local folklore).
  • In "Sun, Moon, and Talia" (a forerunner of "Sleeping Beauty"), the King (not Prince) already has a wife who, in jealousy, has Talia's (Sleeping Beauty's) children sent to the palace chef to be killed. The chef takes pity on them and kills a couple of goat kids instead and passes them off as the children to the evil Queen, who then feeds them to the King. When the King finds out he kills his wife and marries Talia. Incidentally, the children are his... through rape/necrophilia.
    • In Perrault's "Sleeping Beauty", the only difference is the woman trying to eat them is her mother-in-law.
    • There's one variation that's arguably even worse, where Sleeping Beauty, realizing she's got two children by rape, eats them.
  • In "The Juniper Tree", a stepmother kills her stepson by chopping off his head with a chest lid. She then hides the body by cutting it up and using it to make a stew. And her husband spends the meal saying how tasty the meat is!
  • In "The Wonderful Birch" the girl's biological mother is turned into a sheep by a witch. The witch then takes the mother's form and convinces the girl's father to kill the sheep and have it for dinner. The mother-turned-sheep instructs her daughter not to eat the meat but instead bury the bones under a tree, so she can later help the girl.
  • According to many Russian fairy tales, the Baba Yaga is a cannibal.

Fan Works


  • Monster House has a subversion. Horace Nebbercracker was thought to have devoured his wife, Constance after fattening her up...but in reality, she looked like that when they had first met, and he never did.
  • Hannibal Lecter of Silence of the Lambs fame.
    • Especially Hannibal Lecter of Hannibal and Hannibal Rising fame. oh where, oh where, has my little sister gone....
  • In the movie anthology Three... Extremes, the segment Dumplings features a woman who regains her youthful appearance by eating dumplings made of aborted human fetuses.
    • The segment was later made into a feature length film of the same name.
  • In Soylent Green, when the world's food supply has run out and people are no longer satisfied with Soylent Red and Soylent Yellow, corporations create the eponymous food product Soylent Green, which is recycled human corpses. Ew.
  • In Dog Soldiers a group of British soldiers on a training exercise find an abandoned cabin, inside one of the soldiers finds a stew cooking on the stove. After eating a bowl he comments that he doesn't know what it is but it "Tastes like pork." Later they discover that the missing residents are anthropophagous werewolves. Whether the werewolves themselves are cannibals is debatable (half-cannibal?).
    • The same director's next movie The Descent also had technical cannibalism - a couple of characters were eaten by monsters who were evolved cavemen themselves.
    • And in the third, Doomsday, the guy who played one of the flesh-eating monsters in The Descent now gets to go the full hog - he prances about onstage singing a song by the Fine Young Cannibals, then tosses little plastic plates to his followers, cooks a guy, and starts handing out pieces of charred corpse.
      • In addition to the Crawlers and the cannibalistic savage, that actor was also one of the previously mentioned werewolves. Neil Marshall obviously loves both this trope and this actor.
  • In Eat The Rich, a disgruntled waiter violently takes over the restaurant that fired him with the help of his pseudo-anarchist accomplices, and start serving minced human flesh (with a side of chips).
  • In the Michael Palin-scripted TV movie Secrets, a brand of chocolate that accidentally becomes contaminated with the mashed-up bodies of a pair of unfortunate humans becomes wildly popular with the public, necessitating drastic action on the part of the factory managers to keep stocks up...
  • The island natives that show up near the beginning of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest kill and eat their chiefs, who they perceive as a god bound in human form.
    • Also, prior to that, Will encounters a Jamaican on his search for Jack, who mentions "delicious long pork".
  • In the black comedy Eating Raoul, conservative couple Paul and Mary Bland systematically lure and murder "swingers"—at first to sell their corpses to a pet food company, but at the end...
  • The French black comedy Delicatessen deals with cannibalism in a post-apocalyptic 1950's France.
  • Tim Burton's adaptation of the classic Stephen Sondheim musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street - which was itself an adaptation of the old magazine serial The String of Pearls, which was written by either J.M. Rymer or Thomas Prest - with Johnny Depp as the eponymous barber. Todd and Mrs. Lovett aren't cannibals themselves, as far as we know, but Mrs. Lovett does sell meat pies made from Sweeney's victims to her customers.
  • In the second The Lord of the Rings movie, one of the orcs is killed by an Uruk-hai leader for trying to eat Merry and Pippin against orders. The leader looks down and announces "Looks like meat's back on the menu, boys!"
    • This is in direct contrast to the book, where an accusation of Orc cannibalism is seen as a horrible slur. (Though this may not apply to Uruk-hai eating Morgul orcs.)
  • Dying Breed involves a bunch of young people stumbling upon a remote community in Tasmania where humans are on the menu, to emulate the behaviour of the convict who founded the place. The kicker is that the Tasmanian state government is trying to use the film to attract tourists.
  • Played straight and then subverted in Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, Master of Disguise Sam Smith infiltrates a group of the eponymous tomatoes and is enjoying a meal with them... until he realizes just what the tomatoes are eating. In a later scene, he's back to being casual about the matter (he is a master infiltrator, after all), until he forgets and asks someone to pass the ketchup.
  • Alive is entirely based around a rugby team being forced to eat their dead teammates and family members after their plane crashes high in the Andes and they learn no rescue will ever come.
  • Raw is a French indy horror movie where the protagonist is a vegan who starts craving human flesh after being force-fed meat in a sorority hazing ritual.
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show has Frank'N'Furter serving Eddie to their guests who are unaware of this.
  • Most zombie movies following Romero's seminal works Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead involve the animated dead eating the living.
  • American Psycho: "I ate some of their brains... and I tried to cook a little."
  • In Slither anyone infected with the alien parasite becomes obsessed with eating meat. Any meat. We are treated to a close shot of the Mayor becoming overcome with hunger, and knowing full well what he is doing and disgusted and terrified by it, taking a huge bite out of the arm of a (hopefully) dead human...
  • Bizarrely, the film version of My Favourite Martian had one of the good guys cheerfully eat someone. The sweet-natured love interest (played by Daryl Hannah) temporarily gets turned into an alien monster and swallows a luckless human Mook whole, before turning back in a beautiful blonde. She doesn't seem all that fazed by the experience.
  • In the second Cube movie, the heroine fights the villain and shuts him into an adjacent cube. The cube itself holds multiple timelines, tesseracts and other traps that will essentially Mind Rape you. You can essentially run into a copy of someone you saw shredded into ribbons in the next room you escape to that has just started exploring the cube. The heroine encounters the villain less than half an hour later looking grey and bedraggled covered in name tags and watches from two of the other trapped victims. Looking at how much older he looks, coupled with the amount of watches and name tags he has, it's very inferred he had quite a healthy appetite over the years.
  • Cannibal! The Musical, a musical about legendary Colorado cannibal Alfred Packer.
  • In Dune, human flesh is not eaten, but water is so precious, the dead are cremated and the water collected and distributed for drinking.
    • Similarly, in Tank Girl, the Big Bad has these bottle-thingies he sticks in people that suck the water out of their bodies. He then drinks it.
  • In The Matrix, the machines liquefy the dead to feed the living. Therefore if you live inside the Matrix, you're an (involuntary and unknowing) cannibal.
  • The Danish black comedy The Green Butchers (De Grønne Slagtere) is about a pair of young entrepreneurs who fall ass-backwards into this trope. They keep it up because they believe people love the taste of human. In the end, they switch back to chicken and people like that even more. It turns out it was the marinade people liked so much. Human meat has an unpleasant aftertaste, but chicken is just plain delicious.
  • In Parents, a young boy discovers that his folks have been serving human flesh as "leftovers" all along.
  • The Hills Have Eyes involves a clan of inbred mutants who are not above consuming those unfortunate enough to end up within their territory.
  • Auntie Lee's Meat Pies was all about this trope. Guess what the main ingredient is in those meat pies.
  • In Ravenous, eating human meat is revealed to give you an incredible surge of strength and awareness, drawing on the Native American Wendigo myth. The main villain is addicted to human flesh.
  • Fat Bastard from Austin Powers, "Listen up, sonny Jim, I ate a BABY!"
  • The Parody Disaster Movie The Big Bus contains the immortal line "Jeeze! You eat one foot and they call you a cannibal!"
  • In the film Cannibal Apocalypse, a group of Vietnam POW's contract a virus that gives them a taste for human flesh. After returning to the U.S., they spread the virus to anyone they bite.
  • The Hong Kong film The Untold Story is Very Loosely Based on a True Story in which an employee in a Macau restaurant kills the proprietor and his family, and cooks them as pork buns. Although, he isn't the one eating them.
  • The trolls goblins in Troll 2, who eat humans, but only after turning them into "half-human, half-plant" creatures, because they're vegetarians.
  • The final scene of Peter Greenaway's The Cook the Thief His Wife And Her Lover.
  • Both the original series and the remakes of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. After a small town becomes deserted, a family resorts to cannibalism, killing any unfortunate travelers who happen to come through town.
  • In the back-story of Wrong Turn films, all the animals have died due to industrial shenanigans and the villainous family of inbred hillbillies resort to hunt people for food.
  • Played for laughs in the little-known comedy Sorority Boys. The end credits begin with about a dozen Tri-Pis (ditzy blonde sorority girls) stranded in the middle of the ocean on a life raft. The Stinger for the film shows about four left, with one asking another, "Are you done with Ashley's leg?"
  • Toyed with in the film version of Logan's Run. "Box" is a robot which freezes animals and Runners--people—for use as food.
  • Many people see the Ewoks as cutesy toy-bait, but they were intending to chow down on Han and Luke before Luke bluffed them.
  • Jan Svankmajer's film Food involves a part called 'Dinner'. A man pours condiments all over an unseen food item and then proceeds to bang nails into his wooden left hand to hold in place a fork. Guess what is on the plate?
  • The title character of the movie Lisa, Lisa, also known as Axe, turns one of her tormentors into soup and feeds it to another tormentor.
  • Italian horror film Anthropophagus is about a group of people who end up stranded on an island with Nikos, a man who lost his mind after being forced to devour his wife and son to survive a shipwreck, and now eats anyone who comes to his island. At the end, the hunger for flesh has overtaken Nikos to the point that, on being disemboweled with a pickax, he attempts to eat his own intestines.
  • The titular feral woman in The Woman has no qualms with biting off Chris' finger or Belle's face. For that matter, the other feral woman Chris has locked up doesn't have a problem with eating Miss Raton alive.
  • In The Book of Eli cannibalism is wide-spread. One why to prove that you're trust worthy is to show your hands are steady; implying that many people are suffering from kuru disease.
  • Averted in Snow White: A Tale of Terror, though not for lack of trying. Claudia has (what she thinks) is Lilli's heart cut up to eat in a stew.


  • Interestingly, The Bible nowhere condemns cannibalism as a sin, though it does describe it as a punishment Israelites would suffer if they made God angry enough at them. As later events demonstrated, this was no idle threat.
    • It didn't need to condemn it specifically. Humans are omnivores, and thus not Kosher.
      • Does that mean that, since they don't eat meat, vegetarians are Kosher?
      • Humans do not chew their cud, nor do they have cloven hooves. They are not kosher. On the other hand, a case could be made that Minotaurs might be kosher.
  • Milliway's, in (and the) Douglas Adams' The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, serves talking cows bred to be absolutely delighted about their fate. Most characters accept a self-serving food source as ethically sound, but the less-traveled human protagonist can't partake. Without regards to the ethics of breeding or eating food that wants to be eaten, that the food can communicate and is thus intelligent could easily be considered cannibalism, especially in a story full of people who aren't human.
  • The title characters in Billy and Howard occasionally eat raw human flesh, but only when they're particularly hungry and nothing else is available.
  • Played straight by The Culture in Iain M Banks' State of the Art. Removing a few muscle cells doesn't hurt anyone, therefore why should eating the resulting vat-grown meat be bad? So, while a Contact ship visits Earth, one of the crew arranges a feast including the power figures of 1977:

Stewed Idi Amin or General Pinochet Con Carne ... General Stroessner Meat Balls and Richard Nixon Burgers ...Ferdinand Marcos Saute and Shah of Iran Kebabs ... Fricasseed Kim Il Sung, Boiled General Videla and Ian Smith in Black Beans Sauce...

  • "To Serve Man" by Damon Knight is a short story about a race of pig-like aliens called the Kanamit who offer Earth the benefits of their science in exchange for groups of earthlings to visit their planet. The title refers to that of a book which one of the characters managed to obtain. The book is revealed to be . . . a cookbook.
    • The above short story, by the way, has been adapted into an episode of The Twilight Zone.
    • Larry Niven's Draco Tavern story "Assimilating Our Culture, That's What They're Doing!" plays with this idea differently: Instead of eating the original people, the brilliant bioengineers that asked them to visit grow cloned tissue in tanks (up to a whole, headless body), and give a small percentage of the sale price to the Earth government to pay for marvelous new technologies. Some of the people thus cultivated take it better than others.
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs:
    • In the John Carter of Mars books, the White Martians subsist solely on the flesh of Red and Green Martians, considering themselves to be above dining on mere animals. The Black Martians, in turn, eat only White Martians.
    • In Thuvia, Maid of Mars, Komal eats men.
      • Yes, but... Komal is the Martian version of a lion, and doesn't have much choice in the matter; he's trapped and has to eat what the Lotharians (who believe him to be a god) send him to eat.
  • In one Science Fiction story by Arthur C. Clarke, people stopped killing animals for meat and instead grew tissue in vats. Then one company hit upon the idea of cloning and growing meat perfectly compatible with human needs, and...
  • The Roald Dahl short story "Pig" in the collection Kiss Kiss.
    • Also used in The Witches, in which it is mentioned that witches in America turned children into food like hot dogs so that they were eaten by their own parents.
  • A Gerald Durrell story involves a French restaurant disposing of a critic's body by serving it to the customers. This leads to great reviews and a mention in influential travel guides (the very reason why the critic was invited in the first place)
  • Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen has the Pannion Domin, a ghastly empire of cannibals. Their peasant horde, the Tenescowri, are part of the army and double as a food supply for the officers. In fact, humans are the only source of food the Pannions eat, so the Domin is completely dead in its core lands and only alive on the border, where there are other peoples to conquer and eat.
  • The Greek historian Herodotus writes about cannibalism a number of times. Perhaps most notably is the story a disgraced Persian officer being fed his son at a feast as punishment. Herodotus didn't think too well of Persian people, apparently.
  • Jonathan Swift's satirical pamphlet A Modest Proposal proposed solving the problem of the mass poverty and starvation in Ireland by selling the Irish children as a delicacy. He was really criticizing how little was currently being done for the Irish, but many readers thought he was seriously suggesting cannibalism. Some even agreed.
  • The children's book Baa! is the Soylent Green story WITH SHEEP!. No, seriously. Finding out that your lamb chop is made of sheep isn't quite so much of a big reveal, though.
  • The "popular restaurant with a secret" version predates TV: attend for instance the tale of The String of Pearls, about a barber who murdered his customers and sold the bodies to the pie shop next door, a classic pennydreadful of Victorian days. And yes, his name was Sweeney Todd.
    • A recent front-page article in the Sunday Sport, possibly inspired by the Sweeney Todd story, involved a man killing a tramp and making his body into döner kebabs to sell at his takeaway.
    • For those who don't know, döner kebabs are a Turkish dish made of meat on a pita (like a gyro); they're a popular fast food in some areas, especially Germany.
  • In Smoke and Mirrors, Neil Gaiman expands upon this variant of "Snow White" (see Fairy Tales) in a short story.
  • In the short story "Babycakes", Neil Gaiman (who eats meat and wears leather jackets - but assures us that he is "rather nice towards babies"), one day all the animals on earth disappeared mysteriously. From the title of the work, guess how humanity coped with this. Neil wrote this for PETA, but it's best not to think of it as a parable—it's far more enjoyable just as an exercise in creepiness.
    • Subverted in Neil's book American Gods, Mr Jacquel, a mortician and autopsist, eats small parts of the bodies he's working on, but "... somehow it seemed ... a good thing for him to do: respectful, not obscene." This is because Jacquel was the god Anubis, one of the Egyptian deities responsible for judgment after death.
  • Similarly to "Babycakes", Meat, a post-apocalyptic novel, lets us slowly realise that the 'cattle' are humans (apparently bred to be stupid and cow like). This is particularly gratuitous as the novel states that this only happened as the real farm animals almost died out and became too rare. Yet over the generations required to breed the human stock, farm animals with shorter generations and multiple births must have recovered their numbers.
    • Piers Anthony's novella The Barn was a similar concept, done marginally better: Most mammal species had become extinct.
    • Through Darkest America is an After the End novel with some similar themes to The Barn. In much of North America, animals other than humans are extinct. To allow meat production to a society mostly at about an 1800 technology level, they have "stock": They LOOK like humans, and are believed to be able to interbreed with humans (although there's a strong religious taboo against it), but they cannot speak so they must not have souls, so eating them isn't wrong. Then the hero finds out what happened to his little sister when she got to move to the government's claimed reconstructed area...
  • Robert Heinlein used cannibalism in Farnham's Freehold as a way of showing just how screwed up the dystopian future his characters found themselves in After the End was.
    • In Stranger in a Strange Land, we see one of the relatively rare subversions of the trope, with Valentine Michael Smith encouraging a literal interpretation of the biblical phrase "This is my body..." This is because Michael was raised by Martians, who routinely practice funereal cannibalism to "grok" the essence of the departed.
      • There's also the fact that Mars is a very dire place to live, and the Martians can't afford to allow such a large mass of good-quality organic matter to go to waste. Combine that with the fact that these Martians Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence at death.
      • Also subverted because Valentine Michael Smith is a Humanitarian in both senses; the ethical sense and the eating sense.
  • In The Bad Place by Dean Koontz the bad guy drinks the blood of his victims. His sisters dug up their dead mother and ate some of it and shared the rest with their mob of cats - so their mother 'would always be with them'.
  • In C. S. Lewis's The Silver Chair, the adventurers are visiting the Giants and happily eating venison when Puddleglum tells them to stop eating. The Giants' conversation has revealed that this was a talking deer, hence eating it is equivalent to cannibalism.
    • They later discover that the giants are planning to eat them as well, after finding recipes for human and marshwiggle in the kitchen.
  • H.P. Lovecraft's The Picture In The House. It's really creepy, though the ending in which the main character escapes the cannibal because lightning explodes the house and he wakes up somewhere else has a bit of Narm to it.
    • Unless you assume that by his ambiguous wording about that means that he was killed by the lightning bolt...
    • The Rats in the Walls dealt with this trope as well, in a truly horrifying way. Let's just say that subterranean stables full of degenerate humans bred for their meat are involved.
    • August Derleth added the Tcho-Tcho to the Cthulhu Mythos, a Burmese tribe of pygmies that worships ancient and malevolent gods. By their D20 Call of Cthulhu entry, the Tcho-Tcho have integrated in American society, and tend to operate popular restaurants serving dishes with delicious human ganglia paste "White Pork Sauce."
  • Sabina Murray's A Carnivore's Inquiry. The narrator turns out to have been eating her way across the country. (So to speak.)
  • In the Tim Powers novel The Anubis Gates, the head of a secret society of beggars turns down a dinner invitation at a rival society, saying that he doesn't care for the variety of pork they serve.
  • In Terry Pratchett's Nation, First Mate Cox becomes chief of a tribe of cannibals, though he insists he had the fish.
  • Upton Sinclair's book The Jungle described the manufacture of "Durham's Pure Leaf Lard;" workers who fell into the vat were processed along with the rest of the meat. This was the only one of Sinclair's claims about the meat packing industry that wasn't verified later by the FDA. Of course, that doesn't mean it wasn't happening - the factories knew they were going to be inspected.
  • As mentioned in the trope description, Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Not only a cannibal, but a gourmet cannibal.
    • In Hannibal Rising, Thomas Harris expands on Hannibal's history, including his childhood and orphaning in Lithuania. Nazi deserters take up residence in his home and force him to watch them kill and cannibalize his sister Mischa, sparking his obsession.
    • Hannibal also drugged and Hannibal Lectured nemesis and main villain Mason Verger into cutting off his own face and feeding it to his dogs, during which he eats his own nose. It is implied Mason had previously allowed industrial accidents to go overlooked in his meatpacking plant, exposing the market to trace amounts of his workers' flesh. Mason also took bites from his sister's buttocks while sexually abusing her throughout their childhood.
  • In the book Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe and film, an elderly woman kills a man in self defense. He had it coming. Knowing it would be impossible for her to get a fair trial, the protagonists get rid of the body by secretly cooking it and serving it as pork in the cafe. Doesn't sound that bad until you realize they served human flesh to their unknowing family and friends.
    • On the other hand Curtis Smoote, one of the officers who investigates the disappearance, had a daughter whose life was pretty much ruined by Frank. He unwittingly gets his revenge by eating several sandwiches while in Whistle Stop.
    • The set of the movie has since been turned into an actual restaurant called the Whistle Stop. What is particularly disturbing is that none of the patrons seem to be bothered by the connection to the pork sandwiches they were hungrily devouring. Didn't any of you watch the movie????
  • Subverted in the book Bodyguard of Lighting by Stan Nicholls, The medic in a group of Orcs (ironically the protagonists) who are incredibly short of supplies, serves a hearty meat stew to a warrior who has just had his leg amputated. The rest of the orcs complain until they realise where the meat came from...
  • In Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Liu Bei is travelling and must stop to rest at the house of a man in the forest. The man, having no meat to serve to him, panics - he kills his wife and serves her to Liu Bei. The next morning, Liu Bei discovers the remains of her body, and figures out what he'd eaten the night before. However, instead of being squicked, he weeps for the man's loss, telling him that he'd have been happy with a simple plate of rice. He later relates the story to Cao Cao, who also weeps, and orders that the man be compensated for his loss! A bit of Values Dissonance going on.
    • Also in the novel, Xiahou Dun, after being shot in the eye with an arrow, utters the infamous lines: "Essence of my father, blood of my mother, I cannot throw this away," right before eating his eye.
  • In Outlaws of the Marsh, Sun the Witch and Zhang the Vegetable Gardener own an inn wherein they capture unwary travelers and cook them into dumplings.
  • In Richard Coeur de Lion, a Middle English verse romance based loosely on the life of King Richard I, Richard falls ill while on crusade and claims he won't get better unless he tastes pork. As he is in the Muslim-held Holy Land at the time, there is no pork to be found...so Richard's men kill one of their prisoners and feed his flesh to the king. Richard goes on to serve roasted "Saracen" heads to a party of terrified Muslim messengers, who watch in horror as the king first happily tucks in, then announces that the Christians will not leave the Holy Land until they have eaten all the Muslims. The poet, by the way, is completely on Richard's side here.
  • In H. G. Wells' The Time Machine, the Time Traveller goes 800,000 years into the future, where he discovers two main humanoid species: the Eloi, a group of attractive, youthful people living in an Eden-like paradise without a care in the world, and the Morlocks, a subterranean race of animalistic, fur-covered monsters that do all the work to keep the Eloi contented. It's revealed to the reader and the Time Traveller that not only are the Morlocks actually raising the Eloi for food, but both evolved from our own species. So it turns out that it's a satire on the class system.
  • Alice Hong from S.M. Stirling's Island in The Sea of Time trilogy waxes lyrical about the delicious flavor of long pig (human flesh), which she claims is only rivaled by long veal steak.
    • In the related Emberverse series by the same author, after the Change, large groups of cannibals, called "Eaters", pop up in response to lack of food. They take the first book's place as the zombie horde in some parts.
  • In Ahab's Wife, Una is shipwrecked and fed the flesh of her captain by her shipmates.
  • Two Bottles Of Relish. Yum-Yummo is not very good on salads.
  • John Anthony West's short story "Gladys's Gregory" involves a society of sorts in which women encourage their husbands to put on huge amounts of weight, then slaughter and eat the fattest guy (prepared according to his last wishes, of course) after an annual weigh-in. And then Gregory squicks everyone by asking to be served raw.
  • The Pseudopod short story "Civilized Monsters" combines this with a bit of And I Must Scream.
  • The Specialty of the House by Stanley Ellin, another restaurant story, which was made into an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
  • Middle-earth examples:
    • In The Hobbit, Gollum intends to eat Bilbo if he wins the riddle contest (and tries to even after he loses); The Lord of the Rings reveals that Gollum was a hobbit before he was consumed by the One Ring.
      • Well, he was one of "the river folk," who do bear biological and cultural differences to hobbits, but yes. Close enough to count as cannibalism.
    • In The Return of the King, Saruman suggests that Gríma may have eaten Lotho Sackville-Baggins ("Buried him, I hope; though Worm has been very hungry lately.").
    • One notable aversion involves the orcs: Amusingly enough, the one thing they won't stoop to is eating other orcs (humans, though, are fair game). They changed this in the movie ("Looks like meat's back on the menu, boys!").
  • In the Vampire Chronicles, Maharet and Mekare's people routinely roast and eat their dead as a properly respectful funeral. It's eventually used as an excuse to destroy the tribe and kidnap the twins.
    • In the book, Queen of the Damned, Mekare eats Queen Akasha's heart and brain. This is not what happens in the movie.
  • The protagonist of Succulent Prey by Wrath James White struggles with and eventually gives in to overwhelming cannibalistic urges which are the result of a contagious infection he suspects he caught from the blood-drinking child rapist/murderer who kidnapped him as a child.
  • In Cormac McCarthy's The Road, almost all life has been destroyed in an unseen apocalypse. So you can guess what the bad guys eat—and what they eventually store, and raise, and hoard—for food. It will redefine your view of Dead Baby Comedy, that's for sure.
  • Charles Dickens wrote a little-known short story called "Captain Murderer" which was about a pirate who would not only have his wives cooked into meat pies, but actually force them to roll out the crusts themselves before chopping off their heads and cutting them to bits. Eventually one of his sisters-in-law finds out. She convinces him to marry her, and before he decapitates her and has her baked into pie, she secretly consumes a deadly poison. He dies immediately after devouring her remains.
  • Taken to the extreme in Stephen King's "Survivor Type", about a drug-smuggling surgeon who gets stranded on a tiny island with nothing to eat but himself, one amputation at a time.
    • "lady fingers they taste like lady fingers"
    • Cannibalism was also supposed to be the subject of The Survivors, a novel King was planning about the inhabitants of a high rise who get trapped inside due to a disaster and turn to one another for food. He felt he couldn't find a way to write it without seeming goofy, however, so it's been shelved since the Eighties.
  • The orcs from Grunts! will happily eat other orcs, even going so far as to refer to the wounded as "field rations". There is also a memorable passage when Ashnak is served up a haunch of roast halfling while imprisoned.
    • Will and Ned Brandiman, the morally flexible at best halfling thieves hired by the Nameless Necromancer, are more than prepared to eat human flesh in order to divert suspicion away from them when murdering.
  • Friday's people (and their enemies) in Robinson Crusoe are cannibalistic Carib Indians.
  • Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series includes a primitive tribe called the Mud People, which practices cannibalism. Our hero, Richard, is obliged to partake as part of a ritual to prepare for communicating with spirits (though it's his choice to do so—the Mud People don't force their practices on others). He is served this special dish three times during the books, each time it's enemies. Apparently, the Mud People mainly eat their fallen enemies, and sometimes gain mystical insights into them by doing so (Richard does once). Richard learns of this when he asks what kind of meat they're serving, and he's told it's "fire fighter" (apparently, he already suspected what it was). When he asks what that is, they explain it's the Big Bad's servant, demanding them to follow the law forbidding fire. They decided to prevent him from bringing any more enforcers.
  • Brazilian novel A Droga do Amor had an Evil Genius trying to escape a high-security prison by taking the place of a fellow elder prisoner which would be transferred. After studying the guy and creating a disguise, he killed the old man, cut him into pieces and bribed the prisoners in the kitchen to put said pieces in the ground meat. A detective then drops his sandwich and goes to the toilet - leading the prison warden to say in the bathroom door that the sandwiches didn't have such an ingredient...
  • Mark Twain once wrote a short story, "Cannibalism In The Cars", about a group of politicians whose train was snowed in. They decided whom among them would be dinner via normal political debate.
  • Subverted in one of the Danny Dunn children's Science Fiction books, when the heroes are stranded on a small Pacific island. One of them gets lost, and the others follow his trail, to find what looks like a cliche "boil the missionaries" scene in progress: the missing friend is sitting in a big black cauldron over a bonfire, surrounded by natives. Before they launch an attack to rescue their companion, Danny has a Fridge Logic moment, realizing that if the locals really wanted to eat somebody, they'd have killed and butchered their victim before cooking him. In truth, the missing friend had fallen into some extremely stinky mud before being rescued by friendly natives, and is taking a bath in the heated water of the cauldron.
  • The Fuller Memorandum by Charles Stross features a rather disturbing bit where the protagonist Bob is kidnapped by cultists who cut strips of flesh from his arm to eat, with truly demented gaiety.

Julian:"Anyone for sashimi?"
Jonquil:"Nom nom nom! Chewy!"

  • The Gone series. In book one, the trapped kids worry about what will happen when the food runs out. In book two, the food does run out, and some kids are seen wondering what human flesh would taste like. In book three, the Perdido Beach kids have (sort of) solved their hunger problems by learning to live off the land, but the Coates kids are literally starving to death. When one kid commits suicide, the others are forced to eat his body to keep from starving. Caine struggles with the temptation to eat before eventually giving in, and Diana later expresses disgust and regret at what they did, but Bug seems perfectly okay with the idea and it's indicated that the others are too desperate to care.
  • In Robert E. Howard's The Hour of the Dragon, Conan the Barbarian scorns the rumor that the worshipers of Asura eat human flesh and eats their meat. He's right, as Asura is one of the few Hyborian gods who isn't a demon or worse, and is merely maligned by rival priesthoods.
  • Partially subverted in the Codex Alera series, the Marat race eat their enemies to "partake of their strength", but unlike the usual examples they aren't portrayed as being evil, except in part of the first book, before we get to see them in some detail, and in fact, The Hero ends up married to one in the end.
  • The villains of the aptly named novel Dexter is Delicious kill, cook and eat their victims. Not necessarily in that order.
  • Tadeusz Borowski's short story "The Supper" focuses on concentration camp inmates who've just spent a whole day at hard labor with no food. Twenty inmates are accused of conspiracy, so the camp commandant has them all shot in the head, and leaves their bodies lying around as a warning to the others. As further punishment, he denies the entire camp dinner—but the moment he's out of sight, every inmate rushes for the still-warm meat on the ground. (The author assures us that raw brains go down surprisingly easily.)
  • Robin Jarvis's Intrigues of the Reflected Realm, which has of this writing only volume, features a world where there are no living animals, only clockwork devices. Some of them "eat" plants, which produces a mulch that grows with a fungus inside them to produce a meat substitute. One particularly nasty character makes reference to a place where apparently the residents decided to see how this compared to the real thing.
  • In the short story collection A Banquet for Hungry Ghosts, an innkeeper during the time the Great Wall was being built made dumplings out of human flesh. Even while everyone was wondering how he kept making such delicious, meaty dumplings when even the richest people in the village were starving, no one thought to connect it with the fact the men working on the wall were sporadically disappearing. Later, after the innkeeper is eaten by rats and turned into a hungry ghost, he does this to the arrogant new owner of the inn after the new owner puts out weed-paste dumplings for the ghost instead of meat. The villagers like to say that since he didn't like the taste of the dumplings given him, he made his own.
  • Donald Kingsbury's classic SF novel Courtship Rite features a Lost Colony where desperation in the face of poor harvests has made cannibalism socially acceptable over the course of many centuries. The degree to which it's accepted varies between nations and clans.
  • Several characters in A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • The Rat King is a mythological figure who murdered a man's sons and fed them to him in a pie. He was transformed into a rat by the gods in punishment - not for the act itself, but because he violated Sacred Hospitality while killing them when they were his guests.
    • Lord Manderly emulates this with three Freys, and takes two slices of each for himself, but is careful to do it once they're no longer his guests. That would be hypocritical after all, as he hates the Freys because they murdered his king and son while they were their guests.
    • Subverted when Arya realizes while eating that she doesn't know what what they do with the bodies at the temple and stares at her fork in horror, but is assured that it's just pork. As it turns out, what they do with the bodies is cut off their faces and store them so they can magically use them as disguises for assassination. Which isn't much better really.
    • The unspeaking animalistic man just called Biter eats people, and has filed his teeth to help with this. He's known to do it during fights too.
    • The Isle of Skagos is believed to be filled with Cannibal Clans, though how true this is hasn't been seen yet.
    • The Undying warlocks attempt to devour Danaerys, and are only preventing by her dragon igniting the enormous disembodied rotten beating heart keeping them alive.
    • Gregor Clegane inflicts this on Vargo Hoat by cutting off the man's limbs and feeding them to him.
    • Similarly, the Tattered Prince once cut off the foot of a man who deserted from Tatters' mercenary company on the ground that the food was bad, roasted it, and forced the deserter to eat it. Then he made the man the company cook.
    • Subverted with the giants, who according to legend feast on human flesh, but turn out to be vegetarian. Not that this makes them less dangerous.
    • There's also the "bowls of brown" served in the poorer quarters of King's Landing. In A Storm of Swords, Tyrion talks Bronn into making a troublesome bard disappear, and Bronn says he'll likely end up as stew.
    • In A Dance With Dragons, Coldhands provides Bran and co, who are starving with some nice roasted pork. Pork from pigs Coldhands somehow managed to find in the middle of a barren, snowy forest, and which coincidentally turned up shortly after Coldhands killed some Night Watch deserters.
  • In the Congo novel, the team has to constantly avoid a cannibalistic tribe of natives who are at war with the Mobutu government. Partly because they were cannibals, but mostly because Mobutu was a vicious dictator running a People's Republic of Tyranny and he didn't like that said tribe was ignoring him.
  • Used to help establish the nature of Lolth in Queen Of The Demonweb Pits:

Lolth: I feel just like a little girl! Have the cook send one up!

  • In the Time Scout books, this is why Jack the Ripper cuts out some of his victims' organs.
  • In John Ringo's Legacy of the Aldenata series, the main baddies, The Posleen, fill this role very well. Not only do they have one word for species other than themselves or the Aldenata (whom they call the Aldenat and worshiped as gods), but that one word is the same for food, thresh. They had to create a new name for humans, threshkreen, which basically translates out to "food with a stinger". These Posleen can and do eat pretty much anything, such as: natural flora and fauna, any other sentient race, humans, each other, their young...
    • You'll see this in pretty much any book in the Legacy of the Aldenata series, to varying degrees, and with varying details.
    • Extra fridge horror will stem from realizing that this is a normal part of their culture.
  • This comes up in the second book of the Council Wars series. Humans have the ability to Change themselves into any form they wish including mythical creatures and sentient animals. The Heroes are organizing a fighting retreat along with Mer-people, Dolphionos (humans Changed into Dolphins) and Dragons (who are not changed humans). Due to short supplies they end up eating their opponents (humans who are Changed into either Orcas or a sort of Manta-Ray like creature). Interestingly they don't seem particularly bothered by this other than a single exchange noting that while it is technically cannibalism the Orcas were eating the Mer-people first so they started it.
  • The only official rule of The Hunger Games is "wait a minute before entering the arena". An implied one is "don't eat your adversaries", as shown by the story of Titus.
  • The big secret of the Boneys in the Xeelee Sequence sidestory "Raft".
  • Discussed by the protagonists in Mack Reynolds' "I'm a Stranger Here Myself."

Live-Action TV

  • General psychopath Young Young McGurn in Rab C. Nesbitt, who apparently eats anyone who crosses him, as well as his own Rottweiler.
  • Double the Fist included a scene where the Local Council is invading the Fist Team's new HQ (the Council in question seems to be made up of zombies). Mephisto finds some Community Welfare Officers ripping through their washing, and attacks. We come back a few scenes later to find him chewing on their faces.
  • In The X-Files episode "Our Town", Mulder and Scully investigate a cannibal cult that has developed the disease Kuru from eating human brains. Other cannibals included the mutant Eugene Victor Tooms from "Squeeze" and "Tooms"; the diet-obsessed crazy in "Hungry" (though unlike the other examples, he didn't choose to be a cannibal, it's a side effect of being a mutant), and the eponymous "Jersey Devil" (although the last three may not count, as they're not quite human).
  • The Torchwood episode "Countrycide" is The Hills Have Eyes WITH FAT WELSHMEN!.
    • Made even creepier near the end when the team, and the viewer, realize that, unlike normal Torchwood episodes, there is nothing science-fictiony going on at all. They're just perfectly normal humans. ...for a given value of "perfectly normal", in any case.
  • Discussed, but averted in The Stand. Lloyd considers eating the dead guy in the next cell and drags his leg close enough to do so, but then Flagg breaks him out.
  • Debunked with Sylar, from Heroes. He gains the superpowers of others by doing something with their brains but it's never shown how he does this and since he tended to use culinary references, it lead to lots of jokes by fans about him eating the brains. Word of God says that this was the original plan, but they realized how ludicrous it would sound, so they just said that he had an ability to "see how things work" and left the actual procedure unspecified.
    • This was given a Shout-Out in a first-season episode where he refers to finding the list of Differently-Powered Individuals' names and locations as "...something I can sink my teeth into!"
    • And was finally Lampshaded and debunked in season three, when it's shown what he really does with the brain. "Eat your brain? Claire, that's disgusting."
  • The Baby-Eating Bishop of Bath and Wells in Blackadder II.
  • The Reavers of Firefly, along with raping their victims to death, have a thing for eating them and sewing the skin into their clothing. If the victim is very, very lucky, they'll do it in that order.
  • Subverted in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Doublemeat Palace". Because of the high staff turnover and repeated mentions of a "secret ingredient", Buffy thinks the fast food restaurant she's working at is using human meat in its products. It turns out that the disappearances are because of a demon that likes the taste of people who've eaten lots of Doublemeat foods, and the "meat" is actually a vegetable product, with a secret ingredient of... beef flavoring. Comes complete with a Shout-Out to Soylent Green, where Buffy runs through the restaurant screaming "It's people!"
    • Another episode uses cannibalism as a joke: Oz, while in werewolf form, eats a zombie and wonders why he feels so full the next day.
    • How can anyone forget episode 6 of season 1 where a group of kids possessed by a hyena eat the principal! And then Xander almost tries to eat a kid!
  • In the third season of Bones, a recurring story arc is the hunt for a cannibalistic serial killer called the Gormogon, who in addition to eating his victims, will make a skeleton out of their bones using a ironic bone from each victim (knees of a bishop, jaw of a lobbyist, finger of a musician, etc.). Oh yeah, one of the members of the team is his apprentice.
    • In another episode, Bones and the team come across a man ritualistically killing people and eating them, to gain power from a Native American ritual. Interestingly, the man gets sick because he's eating raw human flesh, and they use his sickness to identify him as the killer.
  • In the first episode of Red Dwarf series VII ("Tikka To Ride"), Lister and The Cat eat "barbecued person", assuming it to be chicken, after Kryten's guilt chip is removed.
  • An episode of Smallville had a Kryptonite-mutated "fat vampire" who had to devour the adipose tissues of living beings to survive (in a farming town full of livestock, she chose to go after her classmates. Hmm.)
    • You think that's strange, she was played by a pre-fame Amy Adams, and it's hard not to think about Enchanted while watching the episode.
    • In Season 6, Phantom Zone escapee Aldar hunts and devours victims down by the docks. When Clark demands to know why he's doing it, he replies "We all gotta eat!" While he's technically an alien he looks completely human and unlike other escapees isn't simply bodyjacking someone.
  • In I, Claudius, Caligula impregnates his sister Drusilla, cuts her open, and eats the fetus. [[Sarcasm Mode|Don't you just love Masterpiece Theatre?]]
  • The unsub in the Criminal Minds episode "Lucky" turns out to be a psychotic Satanist cannibal. Like many of the serial killers on the show, he injected himself into the investigation. Unlike the others, he brought lunch.

Father Marks: God is in all of us.
Floyd Feylinn Ferell: So is Tracy Lambert.

    • The earlier episode "Blood Hungry" had another cannibal villain, one who took and ate body parts with special significance in different religions.
    • The killer in "The Performer" is essentially a breathing vampire, who would drink the victims' blood, and the one in "Exit Wounds" ate an organ from at least one victim so as to keep the victim with him (he had severe abandonment issues).
  • A literal Cannibal Clan abduct Virgil and Gabrielle in an episode of Xena: Warrior Princess.
  • In an episode of CSI, Sara Sidle and Greg Sanders are trying to remove a corpse that has rotted to the point of liquification from the trunk of a car.'

Greg: Oh my God, I think I got some in my mouth!
Sara: You know, Greg... technically that makes you a cannibal.

    • And there was another one with a dietitian with a rare blood disorder who kept herself young and beautiful by drinking protein shakes made of ground up human livers. She offered one to Grissom at the end of the episode...
    • In another episode, a cheerleader doped up on PCP murders and partially eats someone.
    • Let's just say that the episode "Appendicites" is a Shout-Out to Fried Green Tomatoes.
  • An odd variant in the CSI New York episode "Point of No Return". Marty, a former employee of the ME's office, hits upon the idea of removing organs from the corpses of drug addicts and processing out the unmetabolized drugs. When he gets fired (not for that), he resorts to obtaining his own supply of dead druggies.
  • Giggerota the Wicked from Lexx, whose dress is made of the skin of her victims.
  • In one second-season episode of The IT Crowd, Moss reads a classified ad stating, quite simply, "I want to cook with you." Thinking it's for a cooking course, he goes to visit the man who placed the ad. Unfortunately, it turns out that the man was a German immigrant with a less-than-perfect grasp of English, and wanted to cook with the reader...as an ingredient.
  • The Ben Stiller Show had a sketch called "The Legend of T.J O'Pootertoot", about a theme restaurant based on a member of the Donner party. They advertise that their meat has a flavor that is "curiously familiar."
  • In one episode of True Blood, Maryann, the evil goddess in disguise, cuts up a human heart, makes it into souffle, which she then gives to Tara and Eggs. They proclaim it to be unbelievably delicious.
  • Subverted in the It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode "Manhunters", where Frank claims that the steaks Charlie and Dee had just stolen and eaten were made of human meat. Charlie and Dee become overwhelmed with hunger and search for more human meat. Ultimately Frank reveals that the steaks were really raccoon meat, which was lousy with tapeworms.
  • In Dollhouse, "The Attic," Echo and Dominic go into The Attic, a literal land of Nightmare Fuel that includes a Japanese man forced to eat his own legs. As sushi. And the only way for Echo and Dominic to escape is for them to "enjoy ourselves." Squick.
  • Supernatural:
    • In "My Bloody Valentine", a man and woman on a date really, really want each other, so much so they go from kissing to literally devouring each other alive. The woman's roommate says that when she found them, the man, while dying, was "still chewing." It turns out that they are driven to this by the presence of Famine, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
    • Wendigos were humans who became monsters by succumbing to cannibalism.
  • Babylon 5 featured an alien race called the Pak'Ma'Ra who are carrion eaters.
  • Farscape featured a cannibalistic villain by the name of Kaarvok who duplicates his prey and eats "the clone". This happens from the Moya crew to at least Chiana, D'Argo and Crichton. Chiana, after witnessing her double being eaten, tries to convince herself it was just a clone and she couldn't do anything about it. It is later revealed, as Kaarvok says it himself, and as the two Crichtons survive, that they are not "cloned", but doubled, with no differences, no decay on any of them. Ever.
    • Kaarvok also has his twisted clone "family" routinely hacking off the arms of Rovhu's Pilot so they can be eaten, knowing that they'll grow back in a week or two. Or, as the Pilot put it, "They're EATING MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!"
    • Happens again in an episode were a creature's only diet is that of bones. She's left stranded on a planet with no animals left and is starving. When Moya's crew turns up investigating a distress call predictable events occur.
  • Hyde in Jekyll keeps referring to cannibalistic urges, but is never seen acting on them, even though he occasionally uses his teeth as weapon. It's unclear if he actually likes the taste of human flesh, or if he's just messing with Jackman and others.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus has in the same episode (the one which they considered Queen Elizabeth would watch...) two sketches about cannibalism, Lifeboat and Undertakers (the latter, as John Cleese reminded in his eulogy for Graham Chapman, includes the line "Look, we'll eat your mum. Then, if you feel a bit guilty about it afterwards, we can dig a grave and you can throw up into it.").
  • Invoked in an episode of Scare Tactics. The victim and her friend were sent dinner invitations, and arrived in a fancy mansion with over a dozen other, beautiful, girls. Their male host greeted them, introduced a nude woman to the group and informed them dinner would be ready shortly. Several minutes later, said nude woman is wheeled out, appearing to have had her stomach slit and her organs arranged on dinner plates—which the other woman eat. But of course, this being Scare Tactics, it's all an elaborate prank, the woman was only pretending to be dead, and the organs aren't really human organs at all...
  • One episode of Law and Order: Criminal Intent was about a man who killed a woman and ate her calf muscle out of a desire for intimacy. Horrible, but at least he didn't use his job as a chocolatier to feed her to other people.
  • Occurs off-screen in the Maddigan's Quest episode 'Greentown', where it's heavily implied that the butler and cook have been drugging, fattening, killing and finally eating the town's guests. This might be the first children's show to have featured both cannibalism and mind-altering drugs in the same episode...
  • In one Kids in The Hall skit, a man is on trial for cannibalism, Alive style. It turns out that he is the only survivor of a 30-minute delay, having taken a bite out of each passenger. "Your honor, I am not an experienced cannibal. I simply took a bite out of each one hoping that the next one tasted better. I'm sure your honor has done the same thing with a box of chocolates."
  • The Futurekind in the Doctor Who episode "Utopia" have fallen into cannibalism.
    • Later in the show, The Master comes back wrong and suffers extreme hunger. He eats several people, but is also shown scarfing down burgers and entire turkeys in seconds, and doesn't show any particular preference for human meat.
    • In Paradise Towers, some of the eldery Rezzies (residents) of the eponymous towers have resorted to cannibalism and attempt to eat the Doctor's companion Mel.
    • Madame Vastra, a Silurian living in 1880s London, introduced herself this way in "A Good Man Goes To War":

Vastra: Jack the Ripper has killed his last victim.
Maid: How did you find him?
Vastra: Stringy, but tasty all the same. I won't be needing dinner.

      • The most disturbing aspect of the exchange is that it appears Jenny (the maid) may have asked the question in the sense it was answered in.
  • In Mr. Brain, Gackt's ham-tastic character Takegami Teijirou is a cannibalistic serial killer who considers eating human flesh to be the equivalent of eating beef or pork.
  • In the Tales from the Crypt episode "What's Cookin'?" the owners of a failing steakhouse encounter a stranger who promises he can turn their business around. He does this by (unknown to them) serving up human meat on the menu. They fail to keep the local police chief from finding out, but since he and they have now developed a taste for human flesh, they simply kill and eat the drifter.
  • In an episode of Eureka, a chemical causes all the women in town to become extremely attracted to Sheriff Carter, even to the point where they try to eat him. It's no wonder the episode was called "Maneater".
  • In the last minute of the House episode "Fall From Grace", it turns out that the patient that the team has successfully treated from his illness has suddenly fled, and his hospital room is swamped with law enforcement officers. The guy was actually a cannibalistic serial killer, and they've unwittingly helped him remain at large.
  • Masters of Horror, "Cigarette Burns": When the Artifact of Death film-within-a-film La Fin Absolue du Monde is presented in a private theater at the end, Annie, Kirby's dead girlfriend, emerges out of the theater screen. Her father comforts her, but she's "hungry", and takes a bite out of his neck. It's a hallucination.
  • The Walking Dead has the Terminus survivors, who will even eat their own if they meet their makers. They won't eat walkers, of course, as they're basically rotten meat. The depressing part about them was that they weren't always evil...one particular group of survivors decided to take advantage of their hospitality in the worst way possible.


Guess what daddy's bringing home for supper?
Nigga nuts and guts and slabs of human meat, muthaf*cka, now eat.

  • "Cannibal" by Ke$ha.
  • Of course, just about any version of the song "King of the Cannibal Islands" addresses this trope.
  • C.W. McCall, otherwise best known for trucking songs like "Convoy", did a song about the legendary cannibal killer Al Packer, titled "Comin' Back For More (Al's Cafe)".
  • The German punk band Die Ärzte has a slow power ballad titled "Baby", which starts out as a plea to stop killing animals for food and directly proceeds to suggest eating people as an alternative for several verses. Quite likely a spoof of PETA-like activism.
  • Voltaire's song "Cannibal Buffet" consists of a Hurricane of Puns on the subject:

I'm in the middle of the Cannibal Buffet
I'm feeling well -- they like me that way!
So if you really wanna know what's eatin' me
It's the man-eaters on the coast of Barbary

  • "Cannibal's Hymn" by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds.
  • "Mein Teil" by Rammstein, about that famous German Cannibal a few years back. "You are what you eat, and you know what it is."
    • Taken one step further in the Volkerball tour, where Till Lindemann dresses up as an Evil Chef and proceeds to cook Flake Lorenz.
    • "Du Riechst So Gut" has cannibalistic references as well.
  • Walpurgisnacht, Neuruppin and of course Ich esse Reiche ("I eat rich people") by the German band KIZ. They're famous for posing with meat...
  • "To Serve Man" by Creature Feature.
  • "The Chainsaw Buffet" by Lordi.
  • "Cannibal" by Static-X.
  • The 1970s hit "Timothy" by the Buoys, in which three men are trapped in a mine. And then there were two.

Timothy, Timothy, where on earth did you go?
Timothy, Timothy, God why don't I know?

    • When Dave Barry held a survey for what his readers considered the worst songs ever made, this was one of the top finishers, despite being nowhere near as big a hit as the others. Barry noted that it made up for a lack of success with its extremely memorable subject matter.
  • Flanders and Swann did a song called "The Reluctant Cannibal". Being from 1956, it has a political edge to it, satirizing the Cold War.

Going around saying "don't eat people", that's the way to make people hate you!
We always have eaten people, always will eat people -- You Can't Change Human Nature.

    • You might as well say don't fight people!
  • The Celtic song Jesuitmont. While the lord of the castle is out hunting with his knights, his wife and the cook kill his daughter and bake her into a pie for no adequately explained reason. They probably should have thought the whole thing through more, as the first thing the lord asks when he gets home is where his daughter is, inevitably uncovering the horrible truth—and ensuring a slow and painful death for the murderers.
  • Propagandhi's Human(e) Meat (The Flensing of Sandor Katz) is a satirical vegan response to some of the writings of the culinary author Sandor Katz. It's about eating him.
  • There's a very well-known, very cheerful French nursery rhyme about a little boat. Most children only know the first verse and the chorus of it, and then discover years later that the song actually goes on to say the crew got short on food and

They had to draw lots, they had to draw lots
To choose who, who, who would get eaten
To choose who, who, who would get eaten

Oheeey oheeey ! Ohey, ohey, ohey little sailor
Little sailor, sail on the waves

Fate designated the youngest, fate designated the youngest
Though he wasn't, wasn't, wasn't very thick
Though he wasn't, wasn't, wasn't very thick

    • All that very cheerfully. To be fair, in some versions of the song the boy is saved by something like thousands of fish magically dropping on the deck from the sky.
  • "Cannibal" by Reel Big Fish.
  • "Where I End and You Begin" by Radiohead concludes with this as a Madness Mantra:

I will eat you all alive and I will eat you all alive and I will eat you all alive and I will eat you all alive...

    • Another Radiohead example: "Knives Out" appears to be about getting lost in the wild and being forced to eat other members of your traveling group to stay alive.
  • A lot of Death Metal bands write songs about this, with special mention going to Cannibal Corpse for reasons that should be obvious.
  • Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London"

I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand
Walkin' through the streets of Soho in the rain.
He was lookin for the place called Lee Ho Fook's
Gonna get a big dish of beef chow mein

    • This becomes really creepy when you find out that there really is a restaurant called Lee Ho Fook's in Soho... but beef chow mein isn't on the menu.
      • But did it have that as a menu item before the song came out?
  • Angelspit love this trope, and it shows up in a lot of their songs. 100%, Juicy, Devilicious, Meat...
  • Get Set Go has a very cheery little tune called "Cannibalism is the Cure", which suggests that eating others will solve all of society's problems.
  • Hot Hot Heat's "Island of the Honest Man" seems like it is going to be this at first, until it subverts it, completely changing the tone from edgy to cheery with the opening line of the chorus.

But right then the clouds parted in the sky
The horizon took us all a little by surprise
Watch the sky
And as the howling winds subsided, the locals ran out, all waving their hands and singing
Welcome to the island of the honest man

  • The video for "Feathers" by Coheed & Cambria features a suburban family set roughly in the 1950's where the mother abducts and grinds local milkmen, mailmen, etc into meat for her family (the eaten are played by the band). Despite the description, the song and video's tone are very cheerful.
  • How did we get this far with no mention of Aerosmith's "Eat the Rich"?
    • Because it's hard to tell if the cannibalism is literal or figurative?
  • Played for Laughs in Ellen Hikuki's "I Ate The Who."
  • Goober and the Peas "Cordially Invited"

I'm sure you're all wondering why I invited you all here tonight, and more importantly, what was that meat? Well, I've chosen a particularly flavorful poison, and now you're all marinating for next year's SHISH-KABOB!

Hey now, buddy, don't you give me no lip
Sorry, I was using your head for dip
There's a guy in the hot tub, I don't know who
Wait a minute, it looks like Stu

New Media

  • In Conquering the Horizon Evelyn killed and ate what she didn't know was a person. And was absolutely horrified about what she did when she found out. Later on Evelyn tried to save some people, her effort failed, and then she deliberately ate one of the corpses to fuel her Cannibalism Superpower.

Oral Tradition, Folklore, Myths and Legends

  • Older Than Feudalism: Classical Mythology has several examples:
    • Tantalus tricked the goddess Demeter (who at the time was dejected over the kidnapping of her daughter, Persephone) into eating the shoulder of his dead, roasted son. While dear little Pelops was brought back to life, his shoulder replaced by an ivory one by Demeter, he then went on to spawn the cursed House of Atreides. Tantalus was punished in such a way as to give us the word "tantalizing."
    • Pelops had twin sons: Atreus and Thyestes. Thyestes was having an affair with Atreus's wife, so as revenge Atreus killed and cooked Thyestes's toddlers and fed them to their own father before stealing the throne of Mycenae (back) and kicking Thyestes out. For more Squick, Thyestes has one more son, Aegisthus, with Thyestes's own daughter, Pelopia. So then Aegisthus kills Atreus and rules Mycenae with his dad until Atreus's sons come back for their own revenge. These sons are Agamemnon (later killed by Aegisthus and Agamemnon's wife, Clytemnestra) and Menelaus.
    • There's also Philomela, who was raped and had her tongue cut off by her brother-in-law, King Thereus. In revenge, Philomela's sister Queen Procne killed her baby son Ithys and roasted the body, serving it to her rapist asshole of a husband. The three were, according to the myths, turned into birds; Procne became a nightingale (forever calling "Ithys, Ithys"), Thereus became a hawk or owl (calling "Where? Where?"), and Philomela was made into a songless swallow.
    • And Lycaon, who fed his son to the god Zeus and was turned into a wolf as punishment. This is the origin of the word lycanthropy.
      • One version of this myth has it so that it's not own his son, but that of his cook. Zeus, visting Lycaon in disguise, boasts that he can identify any meat regardless of how it is prepared. Not knowing his guest's true identity, Lycaon decides to really mess with him, and, rather than go with the typical goat, or lamb, or even horse, forces his cook to kill and roast his own son as a meal for Lycaon's boastful guest. For tricking him into eating human flesh, Zeus turns Lycaon into a wolf. Nothing is said of how Zeus treated the cook for his (unwilling) role in the deception, however.
    • In some versions of Athena's birth, Zeus eats her mother to avoid having Hera find out he knocked someone else up. (The lengths which he'll go to to disguise his affairs is just ludicrous sometimes.) He apparently didn't learn the lesson from his father. And in Zeus' case, Athena is born by bursting out of her father's skull. Something that could have been avoided by not eating her mom in the first pace.
  • In the Norse Lay of Atli, Attila the Hun invites his brother-in-laws, one of who is the king of the Burgundians. Attila's wife, their sister, warns them that its a trap to gain their immense wealth, but they come anyway. After an impressive amount of badass from the Burgundian heroes they're killed. In revenge Attila's wife kills her own children the sons of Attila and has him unknowingly use their heads as drinking vessels and eat their hearts. Then depending on what version you read, she either kills him and sets free his dogs and burns down his house, or attempts suicide herself (and fails).
  • Cannibalism was one of the biggest taboos to the First Nation peoples. According to their mythology, if you eat a person, you will turn into a Wendigo.
  • Kumiho, the Exclusively Evil Korean counterpart of the Kitsune, were infamous for this, and sometimes they'd trick the humans they encountered into eating one of their own too. There's at least one story where a Kumiho claims she'll become human herself if she eats enough human livers, though this doesn't seem to be the motivation for most of them.

Tabletop Games

  • Played for laughs in Warhammer 40,000‍'‍s typically darkly humorous way. A common source of food rations for the Imperial Guard and many Imperial citizens on some drearier worlds is "Soylens Viridians", which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Also present in the universe is the infamous Corpse Starch, and the even more heavily processed Block (also used as a clandestine delivery method for a variety of suppressive narcotics). It's unclear exactly how close to cannibalism these rations actually are, though; among the fandom, theories range from "Soylens Viridians is people," to "Soylens Viridians is recycled human protein," to "Soylens Viridians is a soy product cultivated on recycled human protein."
    • Of course, this is parodied in Ciaphas Cain by relating Soylens Viridians to promethium (gasoline).
    • Odds are like everything else in the Imperium it depends on what world you're from, (with most worlds modern-day Earth-like) Hives' version will of course be just like the movie.
    • The Kroot, a species of avian humanoids that typically work as mercenaries, cannibalize both members of other species and their own fallen. As Kroot can absorb genetic material from their food, this allows different kindreds to quickly evolve various adaptations. While their Tau allies find it barbaric, the pragmatic Kroot see it as just another form of progress, as well as a safeguard from the loss of sentience that may result from eating solely prey animals. Funnily enough, this means that the Kroot are the least xenophobic and hate-filled race in the game.
      • The Tau that work with Kroot long enough seem to understand why the Kroot do this and, while still finding it disgusting, make no attempts to prevent it, as shown in the first Cain book the Tau on the planet learn of the Genestealer Cult, thanks to the Kroot being able to tell the dead has been infected and use them to find nest in the undercity
      • The Kroot choose their prey specifically to acquire some useful traits - as such they understand it works both ways and have enough of good sense to not eat anything they can identify as Warp tainted or related to Tyranids (for fear of being subsumed by Hive Mind).
    • One of the many unpleasant jobs Gretchin in the service of the Orks is "Emergency Food Source".
    • The Dark Eldar feed their slaves with processed corpses of dead slaves. It's also strongly implied the Dark Eldar themselves also feed on the flesh and blood of sentient beings, in addition to deriving sustenance from them in an more abstract matter by feeding on their suffering. Practically everything in Commorragh is made by slaves or from slaves, including the food.
    • In the mildly less GRIMDARK treatments of the material, Imperial Guard quartermasters in a warzone are ...sanctioned... for serving people steaks without any more treatment than straight butchering. In the online introductory adventure to Dark Heresy, when the characters encounter the "protein vats" in the Alms House, and the full realization of what was in those vats hits them, the rules suggest having the Player Characters make a Fear test, suggesting that on that world at least cannibalism is considered abhorrent.
  • Warhammer Fantasy Battle
    • Goblins don't have it much better here. In fact, they will often readily kill and eat each other. The Orcs will often occasionally eat Gobbos and other humanoids. One of their more infamous battles is the Blood River Massacre and Barbecue. Orcs and Goblins alike keep the minuscule Snotlings on hand as combination cheap labor/cute widdle pets/light snacks.
    • The Skaven readily eat the bodies of the dead after a battle, friend and foe alike, and consider graveyards a waste of good food. The Skaven even call their own dead 'burrow pork'.
      • One of the Konrad books features a truly bizarre spin on this: it turns out that in the case of a Skaven grey seer, if you eat his organs, he possesses your body.
    • The culture of the Ogres revolves around cannibalism. They worship a deity called the Great Maw who encourages them to devour everything in sight, from slaves to rocks. After a battle, the Ogres gorge themselves on corpses, captives, and fallen allies alike. The most common way for an Ogre to become Tyrant of his tribe is to kill and eat his predecessor. Ogre "Butchers" (warrior-priests) channel the magic of their god by devouring certain ritual objects (examples given in the army book consist of severed limbs, bedrock, troll entrails, bones, bull Rhinox hearts and brains)--they call it "Gut Magic". The only reason they keep Gnoblars (Hill Goblins) as slaves instead of snacks is because they're too bony to make a good meal.
      • They still eat them alright, if they need to, just eating a Gnoblar another Ogre has taken a liking to is a major no-no.
      • Ogres do, however, like the taste of gnoblar noses and ears. Just coincidentally, status in gnoblar culture is measured by the size of your nose and ears.
  • Cannibal fast food is a running gag in Mayfair's Underground game.
  • An obvious element of the Cannibal Sectors in SLA Industries.
  • In both Vampire: The Masquerade and Vampire: The Requiem, it is possible for vampires to commit diablerie, which involves eating another vampire's soul. It is referred to in the same terms as cannibalism and automatically reduces the Karma Meter. Interestingly, although cannibalism is at the top of the hierarchy of sins for all races, werewolves rank eating humans (and wolves) one step below eating other werewolves.
    • In the Old World of Darkness, demons who were banished from their physical bodies were at risk of being eaten by other demons, who would absorb their powers. Oddly enough, this wasn't ranked as a sin.
    • In the New World of Darkness:
      • There're the Noctuku, a Nosferatu bloodline whose members regularly need to consume flesh (any flesh, but they prefer human meat to animal, and vampire most of all), lest they risk going into a hunger frenzy. They don´t gain any nourishment from it and have to regurgitate it soon after, but they don't seem to mind this.
      • Similarly, there's the Macellarius, a Ventrue bloodline of rotund gourmands that gains the ability to digest human flesh the same way they gain nourishment from blood, or later to snack on vampire flesh to grow in physical strength and ability or even to have access to the powers their meal possessed.
      • Mage: The Awakening has its own cannibals in the Devourers of the Flesh, a Left-Handed Path emerging from the Adamantine Arrows whose members follow the age old maxim that if you eat your enemy, you gain his strength.
      • There's also the Cult of the Red Word, a New England-based cult that worships an alternate timeline given sentience by the Abyss. They believe that consuming their victims symbolically erases their presence from reality, piece by piece—and it literally does so if they prepare and consume the victim in their sacred temple.
      • Werewolf: The Forsaken allows the Uratha to regain Essence by consuming the flesh of humans or wolves; as noted above, this is a humongous sin against the game's Karma Meter. There's even an entire Lodge of Bale Hounds, the Lodge of the Feast, devoted to sampling strange flesh... and getting others hooked on it.
      • In a less (directly) villainous example, there's the Lodge of Wendigo, a subset of the Blood Talons. Given their totem and a Rite that allows them to gain knowledge from consumption of flesh, they tend this way... though it's noted that many of them are trying really, really hard to kick the habit.
      • One of the sample "cults" in the Hunter: The Vigil corebook is a gourmand society whose best-regarded dish is an absolutely heavenly liver pate... which is actually human liver pate, harvested from children kept imprisoned on a farm in boxes and force-fed, in a process reminiscent of that used to produce real pate de foie gras.
  • In Deadlands, engaging in the act of "humanitarianism" is universally regarded as a sin against, at the very least, one's own humanity. It's one of the quickest ways to have one's Player Character turned into an NPC, and only very extreme extenuating circumstances allow it. But even then... you can still get turned into a Wendigo if you eat human flesh in winter, regardless of circumstances. Spring, summer, and autumn do not carry this problem- but even then, you still only get to chow down on fellow humies when the circumstances are really desperate.
  • Among the many colorful faces you will meet in the Feng Shui supplement Blowing Up Hong Kong is Ng Pui, an insane sorcerer and Serial Killer who runs a pushcart that sells steamed dumplings and pork buns. The pork buns in question are made from the people that he kills once a week with his meat cleaver.
    • Many supernatural creatures and abominations in Feng Shui are fond of human flesh. The most notorious in this regard is Desdemona Deathangel, who especially prefers babies.
  • The Denver Zonemind in GURPS Reign of Steel sometimes renders its dead human slaves into a "high protein soup" to feed the others. (In the slaves' defense, though, the robots don't tell them where it comes from!)
  • Dungeons & Dragons has too many "really omnivore" sentient creatures to list, but even there are some outstanding examples.
    • Sahuagin ("sea devils") have a peculiar worldview of their own, key point of which is phrased as "Meat is meat": whatever it was, once it ceased to move, it's food, that's all. Their name for themselves is "we who eat." Normally they won't kill their own to eat, but will eagerly kill for lots of other reasons (like challenge), then eat and share with their kin. The original write-up for bullywugs claims sahuagin would raid their villages for sport and eat them alive, and one source says they eat their own hatchlings when such are born "weak" or deformed.
    • Flind are a subspecies of gnoll (hyaena-like humanoids) which are just as mean, but smarter, haughty, better organized and use a weapon called a flindbar (sort of a cross between a nunchaku and flail) to disarm opponents. Every Gnoll tribe has its traditional favoured prey and, well… "Flind" is said to mean "cannibal" ("gnoll-eater") in Gnollish.[2]
    • Co-narrator of some Planescape accessories Xanxost the slaad intersperses his planar chant with offhanded mentions of eating sentient beings: mephits (he digresses to mention this favourite food at any opportunity), humans, fiends... and turns it into comedy gold.

Xanxaost: They are hateful. Vicious. Bad-tasting.

  • The halflings of the Dark Sun setting will eat any sentient race with the exception of their own kind, leading to them being called "cannibals."
  • Dragonlance features a race of giant goblins called cave lords. They actually heal themselves by eating the flesh of other creatures—and eating other goblins heals them up to three times as many hit points than other creatures.
  • Cannibalism isn't as prominent in Ravenloft as other, more classically-Gothic evils, but it's a thematic feature of domains like Vorostokov and (in Fanon) Ghastria. If werebeasts qualify as human, then they're major offenders in this area also.
  • Dead cannibals sometimes spontaneously raise as Ghouls, corpse-eating Undead.
  • The chime of hunger is one of the most notorious cursed objects from the original Advanced Dungeons and Dragons setting. It at first appears to be a more benevolent chime of opening (and might act as one a few times before it's curses unleashed) but when its malevolent power activates, anyone who hears it becomes struck by maddening hunger causing them to eat any food they have, and once that is depleted, fight anyone within sight for any food they might have, or even attack their own companions with the intent on devouring them. The early versions of the game actually had a lot of stuff like this.
  • Some tribes of Lizardfolk prey on humans and other sapient beings, but lizard kings are far worse, being an evil corruption of normal Lizardfolk. Not only do they demand human blood tithes, they will substitute their own minions if this demand is not met.
  • Humans and metahumans in Shadowrun infected with the Human-Metahuman Vampiric Virus turn into Vampires, Ghouls, and other things (depending on what they started out as), all of which require either blood, raw meat or internal organs of other humans/metahumans to survive.
    • The Germany sourcebook contains a shadowtalk-post about a cannibal-cuisine restaurant in the lawless enclave of Berlin, although another shadowtalker's post immediately afterwards claims it's a load of hooey.
  • The Orks of Ork World practice necrophagy, eating their dead to absorb their spirits (and keep an Eldritch Abomination from snacking on said spirits in the afterworld).
  • The aptly (if unimaginatively) named Cannibal from the Dark Champions sourcebook Murderer's Row.


  • In Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, the murder victims are baked in meat pies, which become very popular among the unsuspecting populace.
  • Even Shakespeare uses this one. In Titus Andronicus, Titus' daughter Lavinia is raped by Chiron and Demetrius, with their mother's help. To get revenge, Titus kills the two brothers, bakes them into a pie, and feeds them to their unwitting mother. This is based on the Thyestes and Philomela myths mentioned above.
    • In the 1999 film adaptation, Titus was played by Anthony Hopkins, which makes it even better.
    • When they visit Titus, Tamora introduces herself as "Revenge" and her two sons as "Rape" and "Murder". Literary critic John Sutherland observed that therefore, when Tamora eats the pie, Revenge has consumed Rape and Murder.
    • Caliban's name is (allowing for Elizabethan spelling) an anagram of Cannibal and he is a savage on a remote island. Allegedly he was portrayed as a stereotypical African savage in the days of slavery.
  • Tennessee Williams' Suddenly, Last Summer climaxes with its main character recounting her cousin's murder and cannibalization at the hands of a gang of young boys.

Video Games

  • We're still debating on how Kirby fits into this.
    • There aren't many examples of Kirby eating his own kind in his original series, but in Super Smash Bros. you can eat Meta Knight and shit him out as pure energy if you wish.
  • The Book of Lore from Adventure Quest Worlds can eat other books like the big book from The Doomwood Saga
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga. Your characters, who have been granted the power to transform into demons, get stronger by "devouring" other people with the same power. (Which is everyone.) If someone with this power refuses to eat others, they eventually go insane and start attacking their friends and allies, presumably on the basis that their friends would be much tastier than their enemies. It can be disturbing (especially the factory in the second game), and many of the characters are themselves greatly disturbed by this.
    • Though, amusingly, some of the characters who aren't bothered by it are among the protagonists, and only one recurring character doesn't get used to it fairly quickly.
  • First Encounter Assault Recon's Dragon, Paxton Fettel, eats the flesh of his victims. It is indicated All There in the Manual that he gains memories and information directly from their corpses.
  • Something that may or may not count as an example: In the game The Lord of the Rings: The Battle For Middle Earth, some trolls have the ability to pick up and eat a nearby orc (from their own side) to heal their own wounds.
  • In the background lore of The Elder Scrolls series, the Wood Elves are cannibals, eating both their own dead and the bodies of those they've killed in battle. They try to avoid war unless they've had a suitable fasting period beforehand.
  • In World of Warcraft, the Forsaken (Undead) race can eat the corpses of humanoids to restore their health.
    • The revamped Darkmoon Faire has a Forsaken who sells cuts of meat that almost certainly originate from each of the playable races.
    • In addition to that ability, there is a recent quest in which you gather meat from shapechanged worgen (former humans.) Note that unlike the above example, any race of the horde can do this and gain the quest reward, which is the meat prepared. It should also be noted that you keep this item if you do a race/faction change over to worgen.
    • Even more disturbingly, there are several recipes that include ingredients culled from murlocs. Murlocs are sapient beings, who use tools, make weapons, build shelters, and wield magic. Though they're oh-so-annoying, many players probably think they deserve it.
      • Westfall Stew, anyone?
    • Except for the playable Darkspear trolls, most trolls in the setting practice cannibalism. Even the Darkspear Tribe did until after joining the Horde, and although it's officially no longer one of their practices, some still do it anyway.
      • Their cannibalistic tendencies were played for laughs in a set of daily quests in Wrath of the Lich King. A troll chef in need of Horde assistance sent them to acquire ordinary ingredients while lamenting how nobody appreciated his gnome-based recipes. The recipients of the food all required reassurance the food was gnome-free.
        • Which is odd in and of itself, since gnomes are often considered Acceptable Targets, even by other alliance.
          • What's odd about it? Dwarves, humans, and elves aren't cannibals and so don't want to eat gnomes.
    • In the Bug Family encounter in Ahn'Qiraj, the remaining bugs eat their fallen family members as the battle progresses, gaining their powers.
  • The most recent update of Dwarf Fortress has the Elves consuming the bodies of their fallen comrades and / or foes. While this is justified in the lore by their unique view of nature, the other races are naturally horrified by this, which generally results in a Vicious Cycle of wars (particularly with the humans). They will refuse to kill and eat sentients in any other context though.
  • In Roadwar 2000, cannibal gangs are a surprisingly common threat in most urban/road areas. Adhering to the taboo of this trope, even the instruction manual goes out of its way to describe them as the near-mindless scum of the earth. (Of course, your own gang can still score Food from defeating the cannibals, which makes the situation all the more ghastly.)
  • In Twisted Metal: Black, Mr. Grimm's backstory is that he is a Vietnam war veteran who was forced by a sadistic enemy commander to eat his dying friend to survive. This causes him to develop a craving for human flesh. If he wins the contest, Calypso delivers the commander to him and Mr. Grimm has "dinner for one."
  • The chocolate bars in Deus Ex 'Chocolent! It's chocolate! It's people! It's both!' ... a Shout-Out (naturally) to Soylent Green.
  • The cannibals from Monkey Island would like to fit this trope. Unfortunately, they have to watch their diet.
  • Nero in Tsukihime, unlike the other vampires, eats his victims whole. Depending on the path, the Big Bad may also eat people (but not whole). Older vampires in general seem to have to resort to this as blood ceases to be enough to sustain them.
  • Kusaregedo from the Samurai Shodown games is a huge, deformed, demonic creature who got to be that way by eating people, and his goal in entering the tournament is to track down and eat one of the other fighters. In his ending, he eats his daughter instead.
  • Fallout 3 has several instances:
    • As a perk, you can become a cannibal and eat the corpses. In doing so you incur 3 rads and gain 25 hit points, which is the same as some high end food items. You also lose a small amount of karma and good aligned characters may attack you if do it in front of them.
    • Hunters sell "Strange Meat," which is clearly from humans. In the city of Little Lamplight, the child residents kill adult raiders and dump the bodies into water pool to feed the fungus they live off of. The one-step-removed-from-cannibalism keeps them within the "good" spectrum of the Karma Meter. However they don't seem to have made the connection that "strange meat" is actually human meat.
      • If you follow the aforementioned hunters, they occasionally come across hapless wastelanders and make quick work of them.. and you too if you stick around for too long.
    • Feral Ghouls will occasionally be found carrying "Human Flesh."
    • In the quest "Blood Ties", it's revealed that "The Family" is a group of people who have mutated into cannibals, but discipline themselves to only drink blood. You can refer to Vance, the leader, as "a real humanitarian," though he doesn't find it funny. One possible conclusion to the quest is Vance teaching the character to derive nutrients, and therefore enhanced healing, from human blood packs.
    • In the unmarked quest "Our Little Secret", the small town of Andale found on the southern edge of the map looks like a cheerful town if somewhat detached from the war-torn horrors, seemingly having some sort of a Pre-War attitude. Of course one old resident tries to make you go away and tells you "check the shed or the basement". Naturally you will find dead bodies in the basement, horribly mutilated with dozens of Strange Meat in the freezers, while the shed holds skeletons, stripped clean of meat with even more Strange Meat in the freezers around it. Bonus since you can find many bloody chainsaws there. Naturally, the townsfolk won't be too happy to know that you know about their little secret, unless that is, you have the Cannibal perk above (or manage to bullshit your way through). Oh, and one more thing. The people in Andale? They're all inbred.
    • In the first game, one of the doctors in Junktown has a mysterious basement, and a propensity for amputations. If you investigate, you'll discover that illicit anatomy is being funneled to Iguana Bob, whose shishkabobs are not entirely iguana. If you try to expose him to the authorities, he'll simply take Refuge in Audacity, nobody else believing that such a thing is going on. Oh, and in the second game, it's become a hugely successful franchise restaurant!
    • Fallout: New Vegas gives the player character the option of taking the cannibal perk, which lets them eat human corpses to restore health at the cost of some karma. There's also the White Glove Society, a tribe of gourmets and former cannibals who have sworn never to eat human flesh again; their quest involves one of their members trying to trick them into returning to cannibalism because he feels it's a stupid taboo.
    • Also in New Vegas: after eating a certain number of people, you will be able to "Dine and Dash", saving meat for later and, after eating four of the most powerful people in the Mojave Wasteland, you will gain significantly greater skills after eating any person.
    • Subverted however with Cannibal Johnson. He got the name when he cut out and took a bite out of a Raider's heart to scare off the guy's buddies.
  • In Might & Magic II, one of the meals you can order at the Red Lantern Tavern in Sansobar is Roast Peasant Under Glass. This is not a typo, and if you order it, you'll be attacked by Mad Peasants after leaving town. Seeing as the Red Lantern is a Bad Guy Bar and Sansobar is a Wretched Hive, it's little wonder.
  • Armed and Dangerous has the Heroes eat two villagers to survive after crashing in a desert. This causes some awkwardness when they realise there was a town just over the hill.
  • In the Roguelike game ADOM, player characters may eat many different kinds of corpses. Several races will refuse to eat certain kinds of corpses. This may go for other roguelikes.
    • While eating your own particular species (human, elf, gnome, etc…) will severely ding the Karma Meter in Nethack, eating other intelligent species offers no consequences.
  • In Clock Tower: The First Fear, you can find yourself trapped in a cage with another person inside. If you have the right item, ham, he will tell you his name and offer a cryptic hint. If you don't have the item, he attacks Jennifer, and the screen goes black. We then here some rather disturbing crunching noises, followed by the Dead End screen.
  • The original worst ending for Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories invariably pops up under the term of Nightmare Fuel, because you get to hear, with horrifically realistic sound effects, Adell killing his siblings and then eating them. The sound effects are removed in the English dubbed version, which some argue makes it worse.
  • Prototype has Alex Mercer, who uses the same sort of feeding mechanism as Aptom, from the Guyver exampled mentioned above. Alex is also the protagonist, which kind of gives a new meaning to Designated Hero.
    • This happens ridiculously often; at any one point of Prototype, you're either killing somebody, eating them, doing Le Parkour, or in a Cutscene. For this reason almost all the pages on this wiki that reference Prototype also link to this.
  • In Fate/stay night, beings that drain 'life force' from humans are a dime-a-dozen; all the Servants can do it to increase their own magical energy, but only Rider, Caster and Gilgamesh actually do. Actual human meat-eaters do exist, however: Zouken Matou must do it every time he reincarnates, and the Shadow that appears in Heaven's Feel eventually starts devouring humans whole as well.
  • Touhou
  • The Visual Novel and H-game Atlach=Nacha is full of this, seeing as how the Villain Protagonist is a Jorōgumo (a shapechanging Giant Spider Youkai) who only just escaped with her life after a battle with her arch-enemy, and who can rebuild her power by devouring or having sex with humans. There's a strong element of Psycho Lesbian, as by default Hirasaka Hatsune (the jurougumo) prefers to have sex with girls and eat boys, but she is presumably capable of feeding upon or having sex with either gender.
  • The moral consequences of this are completely ignored in Aion, where the sapient (but evil) Balaur are considered a delicacy, with all the top-level, most useful cooking recipes specializing in cooking Balaur meat.
  • During the attempt to escape Solaris in Xenogears, Fei and crew come upon the Soylent System, which makes both a certain type of mook that you have to fight in specific dungeons AND a very tasty foodstuff. The two are not unrelated.
  • Mortal Kombat's Reptile. One of his fatalities in UMK3/MKT can show signs of this. And then, there's also his Deadly Alliance one.
    • Mileena, too. One of her fatalities in Mortal Kombat 9 involves tearing off her opponent's head and taking a big bite out of it.
  • The elf Arioch from Drakengard eats babies. And older children. And occasionally adults, in a pinch.
  • Jade Empire has the Cannibal Inn, complete with the nice and normal human to lure people in. Apparently in Jade Empire cannibals get turned into horrible twisted demons just by eating human flesh. The PC is encouraged to visit and to 'bring food' in the form of everyone from the nearby town.
  • In the Grand Theft Auto series, media tycoon Donald Love is eventually shown to be a cannibal.
    • Also, on San Andreas' radio station K-Rose, the host (Mary-Beth Maybelle) comments on how raw flesh is tasty, then adds in a throwaway manner, "Especially human".
  • While there aren't any real examples in Dragon Age unless darkspawn flesh and blood counts as "human", Alistair tells Dog that, according to legend, the Mabari were fed the flesh of their dead foes, including humans. He then teases Dog, telling him that he might have eaten human flesh at one point without even knowing. Dog's response is to gag and heave. Though Alistair is quick to note that "It's not cannibalism if he eats it!"
    • The Broodmother is a case. Darkspawn would capture women and feed them their own kin until they became bloated monsters that gave birth to more darkspawn.
  • In Resident Evil, the player can read the journal of a man slowly becoming a zombie, which contains the still half-lucid line "Itchy Itchy Scott came. Ugly face so killed him. Tasty."
  • Bruce Irvin from Tekken was forced into this after he found himself the sole survivor of a plane crash between the first and second games.
  • In the original Alone in the Dark for the PC, original 1992 version. If the player samples the stewpot on the stove the player character reacts with "Ugh, human flesh." and loses a point or two of health.
  • Balphagore and The Devourer from Heroes of Newerth. Balphagore actually eats corpses as a mechanic to summon his minions. He can even eat corpses that come from his stomach through the use of his Regurgitate skill. Devourer chows down on an enemy with his ultimate.
  • The "American Appetites" Stranger Mission in Red Dead Redemption involves a cannibal kidnapping people from Armadillo.
  • Imps in the Okami series seem to like human meat. The first game has a human sacrifice that Orochi was clearly going to eat, he only didn't because of a Big Damn Heroes moment. The second game, Okamiden, has Evil Chef Umami planning to cook Charity into another meal for Orochi. When you and your partner fall into her assistant's soup pot, he seems to like the idea of a human and a dog adding flavor to the dish.
  • Hunted: The Demon's Forge introduces Sleg, a magical steroid narcotic that replicates like sourdough by gruesomely incubating it in people. Obviously, the enemies have gone power-insane by drinking each pot in a gulp, and if the main characters use it they become tainted for bad ending. What's abnormal about this "man-made-of drug" is that it's alive and demands to be controlled. The controller does not bode well; Step 1, kill the former owner, step two, kill the being that is dearest (care or love) to you, step 3, profit (you get to drink all the gestalt-conscious Sleg you want), step four, the soul of your dearest spends the rest of his/her undead ghost time trying to find ways to kill and replace you, step five, repeat.
  • Rokushiki near the end of Kara no Shoujo admits with delight that he ate Yukiko's head.
  • EverQuest, whenever you kill an NPC of a meat type being (animals, humanoids, and even other playable races), there's a chance it will drop a chunk of meat of that type (i.e. human meat, halfling meat, etc). The in-game craftskill of cooking (called Baking if I remember correctly) has recipies for most all of them, and even an entire in-game book with recipes for cooking all the player character race foods. Halfling meat gets cooked into Hot-n-Spicy Toelings, for example. And these are some of the better foods in game, giving stat bonuses as long as you have some as the next stack of food to be eaten in game.
  • Pokémon Black and White: Kyurem is said to drag people and Pokémon off in the night and eat them.
  • The all-birds high school in Hatoful Boyfriend has a cafeteria that serves poultry, and nobody thinks anything is wrong with this. (Probably because it would be akin to people commenting that it was odd that humans eat mammals; avians have a large number of species, some of which do eat other avians.)
  • In Corpse Party Chapter 2, you find the Victim's Memoirs, which were written by someone who was forced to resort to this. You later find a warning not to read Victim's Memoirs to their conclusion. If you do, Yoshiki realizes that he's killed Ayumi and eaten part of her.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the Daedric Prince Namira is revealed to be the patron Daedra of cannibalism along with other disgusting things (her sphere of influence basically covers everything most people find repulsive). Her quest has you making preparations for her worshipers' latest feast—both by clearing The Undead out of their chosen dining hall and by providing the main course. And as the guest of honor, you take the first bite. Namira's Ring gives you the ability to feed on humanoid corpses, which briefly increases health regeneration.
    • A more subtle example: there's an item called "Human Flesh" which is classified as an ingredient (meaning that it can be used in alchemy). The game recommends that you eat alchemy ingredients to find out what their effects are.
  • Cry of Fear: The pedophile in the apartments of the first chapter. He was not content with raping children and killing them, but also found a liking to eating them.
  • The Butchers, Maneater Mildred eat people and try to eat you in Dark Souls. Executioner Smough ground up the bones of the executed to use as his food seasoning, to show how ruthless he is.
  • Yandere: All three of the ... love ... interests, in various ways.
  • Kinnikuman: Muscle Fight: As a reference to the Kinnikuman anime, Anime Ramenman has a level-3 Super that he can only do to Brockenman. He breaks Brockenman in half, turns Brockenman into noodles, and proceeds to eat him.
  • Tharsis is the story of a doomed Mars mission, which has an explosion in their pantry during the tutorial. A few rounds in you get the option to eat bits of your deceased colleagues to survive (but lose points and gain stress). Eat enough human meals, and you unlock a cannibal character!
  • Android 21, the Big Bad of Dragon Ball Fighterz has an attack that turns the opponent into a dessert (like a cupcake or donut) and takes a bite (restoring some of her health) or eats it all if the damage this does is enough to finish the foe.

Web Comics

Jar-Jar: But wesa can can use the humans for food!
Qui-Gon: That's a good... hey, wait, what!?

  • The "Revenge of the Weasel Queen" sidestory for Girl Genius has the eponymous character, Ferretina, a Spark-created fusion of human and weasel. In this comic, one of the locals from the village she's been attacking claims that she demands young, good-looking men to be delivered to her, which are then eaten (apparently grilled with cheese). This comic, meanwhile, opens with a fake out; the first panel implies that she has done this to Othar Tryggvassen, Gentleman Adventurer!, who grievously insulted her in an earlier strip, though the very next panel reveals he was simply thrown into a "Pit of Doom", which failed to kill him.
    • Within continuity, there's a throwaway gag - Shout Out to Soylent Green with the inverted setup: bug constructs promise "Not eat manflesh" and say that their creator is "actually made from reconstituted soy products".
  • Dumm Comics had a Skadi story arc where she encountered the cannibalistic "Hill People". Read here (Not work safe!).
  • The trolls of Errant Story, though they don't usually eat humans, just other trolls. To them it's something of a compliment, they believe it grants a sort of immortality as the spirit of the eaten is passed on to the eater. They did it once to some particularly skilled humans they killed as a show of respect and got a bad rap for it. Actually one of the punishments in their culture is "no one save the dirt and the worms shall eat of your meat."
  • WTF Comics has one comic where Straha Ironscale (a lizardman) was eating some food. Annashi, a young wood elven girl traveling with him, wants to try some. He warns her not to eat one sandwich. She ignores him, takes a bite and comments how good it is. Then she asks him what is in it. His answer, "Smoked wood elf".
  • Amazing Super Powers: The paper bag isn't holding Ted's lunch. It's Ted. [1]
  • Richard, from Looking for Group... is there a nice way to say "he eats babies"?
  • In Drowtales, Drow will eat almost anything, including humans, orcs, and their own dead. Food is relatively scarce in the underdark and even some nobles suffer from malnutrition; humans are rarely actually killed for food, but to bury a dead slave is considered a waste of resources the impoverished, war-torn society cannot afford.
  • The D'bo sisters in Our Home Planet start off the whole comic by attempting to eat Rika and Mai (who aren't actually humans, but close enough). They're actually offended at being called cannibals, claiming that they don't eat others of their race.
  • Subnormality has various monsters, and most frequently Sphinx eating as many humans as they can get their mits on, and discussing ways to go about it Seen here.
  • I Luv Halloween - Oblivious of the zombie apocalypse, evil psychotic little girl Mocchie is handed a human liver from a zombie during her trick-or-treat routine. She then eats it.
  • The MS Paint Adventures series Homestuck has Hearts Boxcars, in this surprising turn of events.
    • Also Dave is put in a pot by his crocodile consorts. However, that doesn't make them cannibals, as they're not humans. And since he wasn't tied up, there was more cry than harm.
  • In No Rest for The Wicked, the Witch (based on "Hansel and Gretel"). It's actually portrayed as being tragic as well as horrific---she's clearly insane, originally eating her own children in order to keep them "safe" with her at all times. When more children show up around her house she believes that they're her own who have somehow "gotten out," leading her to continue her cannibalism.
  • Channel Ate does this sometimes. It even had a comic poking fun at the Donner party. "Though he may be gone, I guess you could say there is a little of Jim in all of us..."
  • The Bend has many characters who fit this trope.
  • A Complete Waste of Time has Graves Monskay, who is reputedly able to taste a troll's emotions through his/her blood (though it's usually fear followed by anger). Corroborating his case is when he eats his past self.
  • If Skin Horse is to be believed, at least some fraction of U.S. military rations are made from the corpses of people the government has abducted. In context, this is a joke.
  • Mindflayed had an illithid who just tasted some bandit's brain arguing with an insane elf that since neither of them is a human, it's not cannibalism.
  • In Prophecy of the Circle the races of tikedi and tekk hunt and are implied to eat each other regularly.
  • Here in Plus EV. Fortunately, just a dream.
  • Dominic Deegan antagonist Karnak appears to have some kind of compulsion related to this; he frequently takes bites out of other demons after killing them, though he mostly spits out the gobs of meat again afterward. This is presumably related in some way to the fact that he was raised by herbivores, and spent his life as a vegetarian. Oh, yes, this demon lord is one screwed-up puppy.
  • In this Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, it turns out the government-sponsored food called "Sponch" is made of people (probably). However, even though the shocking accusation is made in public, the reaction is a little... political.
  • Peter Dolcett is an online artist who created many pornographic comic strips, all of which had an extreme BDSM theme. Gynophagia, or woman-eating, featured prominently in his work.
  • Naga from Does Not Play Well With Others. It's ok, though, as she eats pedophiles she meets online. Even the cops don't mind.
  • in Tales Of Gnosis College Iris Brockman works in a strange (and extremely expensive) restaurant/mermaid bar that has this trope as its premise.
  • Baldy and Shorty pretend to be this as an interrogation technique in this Skullkickers strip.
  • Butch of Chopping Block regularly eats the people he kills, and a lot of disgusting jokes have been made about various aspects of this (for instance, his fear that it makes him gay if he enjoys the taste of testicles.)

Web Original

Western Animation

  • On Stroker and Hoop, the two buddy detectives wake up in a bathtub full of ice and assume they've had their kidneys stolen by two beautiful women; but, no, they're members of an enlightened cannibal cult who eat vestigial organs safely harvested from their victims. They took the boys' appendices and tail bones. Later in the ep, the cult goes even crazier, and tries the old "giant kettle" routine on Stroker (though they claim it's because they don't like him). They had to wait a while, as 100 gallons of water takes a long time to boil.
  • In a particularly creepy South Park, Eric Cartman devises a complex plan to get his enemy to eat his own parents, and succeeds. It's okay though, later he apologizes by giving the boy a fruit basket.
    • Made worse by the (somewhat questionable) reveal that the father was Cartman's real father.
    • In another, a group of people are snowed in and trapped in a TV studio. Even though they've only been without food for a few hours, they decide they must draw straws and eat Eric Roberts (who'd miss Eric Roberts?) and his film crew to survive.
  • Parodied in many episodes of Futurama:
    • When Fry half-jokingly suggests that the secret ingredient in Slurm soda is people, he's told that no, they already have a soda like that: Soylent Cola. The taste "varies from person to person".
    • In "My Three Suns", when the group visits a Neptunian deli:

Fry: Wow, they have every kind of meat in here except human.
Neptunian butcher: What, you want human?

  • Speaking of which, Elzar, the four-armed Neptunian cooking show host, once made "Human Broth" to feed impoverished humans and aliens alike during the 3007 economic depression.
  • Apparently Human Noses in the 31st Century is Alien Viagra. Go figure. Or so they (the aliens) thought. They confused the nose with a certain other area closer to the wallet and, after learning of their mistake, attempted to take Fry's "lower horn". Don't worry though, Bigfoot saved him.
  • In "The Problem with Popplers", Bender's solution to the Planet Express Ship being out of food is for Fry and Leela to fight to the death so he can cook the loser. (Maybe he meant it as a joke.)
  • Also in "The Problem with Popplers", the CEO of Fishy Joe's notes that the only reason we don't eat people is because "we taste terrible."
  • In one of the Comedy Central episodes, Hermes replaces several of his limbs and organs with cybernetics, giving the old ones to Zoidberg; when he starts to wonder if Zoidberg is eating them, Zoidberg exclaims, "How could you even ask such a thing! Of course I tried eating you, but your flesh is too spicy!" (And it is, this proves to be a Chekhov's Gun for later.)
  • In an episode of Mutant League, Razor Kid is threatened by the other starving players after a plane crash leaves them stranded in the mountains. With the help of his agent, he negotiates it down to his tail, which will grow back.
  • An episode of Eek! The Cat had Anabelle made the queen of some bizarre-looking savages on an island out in the middle of nowhere. Problem was that, "In order for the queen to become a goddess, she must be cooked and then eaten by the king."

The king, tongue hanging out: "I like... girls.

  • The Simpsons "Treehouse of Horror" episodes use this a few times. The earliest involved the school staff killing and cooking problem students (and eventually, all of them). Another was a parody of The Blob where Homer became a voracious slime monster. Yet another is a parody of The Most Dangerous Game... although it wasn't too necessary that time.

Carl: Homer, Mr. Burns has only been chasing us for three hours and you've already resorted to cannibalism.
Lenny: And there's bananas in that tree right over there.
Homer: Eh, they look a little green...

  • There was also a reference (in a non-Treehouse of Horror episode) to Abe Simpson biting his old mountain climbing buddy.
  • The Sealab 2021 episode "Frozen Dinner" finds the crew answering a distress call from two men trapped on an ice station, one of whom has decided to resort to cannibalism and proves remarkably dedicated to following that course of action no matter what happens. He even asks the crew for vegetables... so he can make a proper stew out of his companion.
  • Reversal: In one episode, Count Duckula is sent into future, where he is captured by intelligent vegetables. He tries to defend himself by (truthfully) saying: "I am a vegetarian, a vegetable lover"; the vegetables aren't too amused.
  • While in the literal sense this trope doesn't apply in Beast Wars (though Tarantulas probably would have eaten any hominid he managed to catch), the technical sense gets more than its look in. Tarantulas relishes eating living creatures, and is quite willing to add Cybertronians to the menu- a fact made terrifyingly clear in the third episode. In fact, in the first season, it was this literal appetite for carnage and bloody gluttony that was his defining trait, to the extent that his official season 1 profile talks mainly about his appetite and defines him as a "twisted gourmand", as opposed to the Mad Scientist and Machievallian plotter of seasons 2 and 3. Rampage, we are reminded regularly, (mainly by the Psycho for Hire himself), tortured, butchered and ate the entire population of no less then two Maximal colonies before ending up in the Beast Wars. In one of the first season episodes, Dinobot eats a psuedo-clone of himself (a biologically grown raptor with a cybernetic brain).
  • Pictured above is the cannibalistic baby killer from the season 2 premeire of "Metalocalypse"
  • In "The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy" episode "Tastes like Chicken" it's implied near the end that Mandy ate Irwin, and in "Which Came First?" you see Sperg eating Pud'n's arms and legs after having been stranded in the desert. Of course, they get better.
  • In Codename: Kids Next Door of all places:
    • Father attempts to make a make a cake for The Delightful Children from Down the Lane out of other living children. Of Course, being a light-hearted kids show, he fails.
      • Funnily enough, the newscaster kid commenting on it talks about how great the cake would be, without a bit of Squick to be found.
    • Another episode had Numbuh 5 comment that Father would rather grind kids into coffee and drink them than offer them help. Might seem like an exaggeration, but when you consider the above instance...
    • Another villain tried to feed kids to a bullysaurus as well.
  • The 'island-dwelling tribe of cannibals' stereotype appeared very frequently in a great number of theatrical shorts from the start of animation through the Civil Right's movement, after which the racist elements of its characterization were finally taken into account and became (after much lobbying) unacceptable for general airing. Episodes of Tom and Jerry, Bugs Bunny and Betty Boop among others which have plots revolving around tribal cannibals are often banned or heavily edited when they are shown.
  • Lockdown from Transformers Animated is a robotic version of this. While he doesn;t eat other robots he does strip them for parts to upgrade himself.
  • An episode of The Brak Show had the family go to meet their new neighbors for dinner. Brak meets the overgrown baby of the family, who eventually reveals that he and his parents are planning to eat Brak and his parents (and now he feels guilty about it, because Brak is so fun). Nobody gets eaten, but apparently the family had trouble fitting in (and looking at them, it's clear why), and..well...

We tried everything...clubs, outings, organizations--
And then our son suggested, why don't we try eating people?

  • An episode of Jimmy Two-Shoes had Jimmy and Beezy nearly get eaten alive by a tribe of cannibals. Fortunately, their shift ended in time.
  • The Angry Beavers: In the end of the episode – The Mighty Knothead: After the girl raccoons shockingly realize that Daggett is not the Mighty Knothead they imagined, Both Daggett and his brother Norbert are chased down by the girl raccoons. The beaver brothers thought they were safe in their house only to quickly realize, they, with their house are slowly being roasted alive and are about to be eaten alive by the vengeful girl raccoon tribe.
    • Does this really count if they aren't even the same species?
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, an in-universe Historical Villain Upgrade ascribes this to Nightmare Moon, which becomes something of a problem once she does a Heel Face Turn back to being Princess Luna. Particularly horrifying, no doubt, due to ponies being obligate herbivores, with all the revulsion towards eating meat that probably entails.
  • The owner and staff of the motel (an Inn of No Return) in the Taz-Mania episode "A Midsummer Night's Scream", who plan to eat Bushwacker Bob and Taz.
  • An episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog featured an antropomorphic pig couple who were set up as this. It's eventually revealed that they only make food scupltures and courage just misunderstood the situation.
  • In The Powerpuff Girls episode "Girl Gone Mild", the Girls fought a demonic motorcycle gang called the Dooks of Doom (evil and bad spellers, apparently) who were cannibals.
  • Played for laughs in Harley Quinn; after the Scarecrow uses some super-plant-fertilizer chemical to turn trees into monsters, Poison Ivy drinks it and grows to giant size to fight them. After saving Harley from one of them, they have a short dialogue with Ivy holding Harley in her palm, ending with Ivy smirking and saying, "Wouldn't it be messed up if I ate you right now?" Fortunately, she does not.

Real Life

  • The stereotype of the New World cannibals is at least as old as the New World. After Christopher Columbus made contact with the natives after his fateful voyage, one of the things they told him was that the next island over kept trying to come over and eat them. While this is unlikely to be true, there's no way of knowing whether the natives telling Columbus really thought that or were trying to feed him propaganda.
  • A real-life example which is also an inversion of the stereotype of "natives" as cannibals, is that in one of the areas he visited (perhaps Burma?), the explorer and pirate William Dampier saw what he thought was a barbecue in the town square and took some meat off of the spit. He didn't understand the furious reaction of those around him until he realized that the barbecue was a funeral pyre.
    • In addition there have been stories of early Australian colonists hunting Aborigines for sport and eating them, apparently convinced that they weren't really human, so it was OK.
    • There are stories that this still happens in parts of the Congo, with the normal-sized warlords hunting and eating pygmies.
      • The Khoi-people look rather strange to most people unused to them with their bodily proportions, not just their height, leading to the racist assertion among some of the other peoples in the area that they are actually apes, not people. Hence, when there's a war going on, they have in many cases ended up as emergency rations or a proof of a warrior's toughness.
  • A somewhat famous essay by Michel de Montaigne—titled Of Cannibals, fittingly enough—relates his personal reflections upon meeting a cannibal from the New World brought over by the explorer Villegagnon. Surprisingly enough (especially considering that it was written in the sixteenth century, at a time when Christendom's contempt for pagans was at an all time high) he not only did not condemn the practice, but even went so far as to praise the tribesmen and declare them to be honorable. The brunt of the article uses cannibalism as a sort of allegory, comparing the perceived "barbarism" to the acts Italians inflict upon themselves (torture and the like.)
  • People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals leader Ingrid Newkirk has specified in her will that "her flesh or a portion thereof" be used in a "human barbecue" following her death.
  • The Aztecs, often misrepresented as a Religion of Evil, genuinely did eat bits of your arms and legs after a sacrifice. And they actually did it to honor the victim, since those sacrificed to their Gods (especially Huitzlipotchli, God of the Sun) were usually the warriors captured in wars, and thus they believed to absorb the enemy's bravery through eating their remains.
    • The Iroquois considered it a great compliment to be eaten after death, since it meant you were valuable enough to be 'absorbed'. Their warcry was "We will eat you."
    • Some Papua New Guinea tribes would eat relatives after they were dead as a kind of burial ritual. (and often voiced their thoughts about how strange it is to simply bury the dead rather than eat them) Many other kinds of isolated island cultures resorted to cannibalism after cataclysmic hurricanes or human-caused deforestation wrecked the usual food supply. One of the worst insults you can hurl at some islanders is "Your mother's flesh sticks between my teeth."
      • In an episode of Tribe, a Kombai man from New Guinea was interviewed and described how he hunted down and ate a man who committed murder - i.e. it's generally a way of judicially punishing 'witches' (or criminals).
    • Yo Momma's so fat, we were eating leftovers for a year!
    • That is from Easter Island and is part of the evidence that cannibalism happened at all, suggesting that the collapse from a rich statue building society was very unpleasant.
    • It's worth noting that the Easter Island examples probably fall under No Party Like a Donner Party rather than being ceremonial like the Iroquois' or Aztecs' versions. (Yeah, real smart there cutting down all the food-producing trees on your island so you could roll those Eenie Meenie Miny Moai downhill.)
    • Jared Diamond used to visit many Papua New Guinean tribes. A given tribe would courteously make him welcome in their tribe, but warn him against going on to their neighbours as they were evil cannibals who would kill you as soon as look at you. When he got to the next tribe they would courteously welcome him, but commend him on his lucky escape from their evil cannibalistic neighbours.
  • Chipotle (a fast-food restaurant) prides themselves on their "vegetarian-fed" meat. They're trying to say that their animals aren't fed other animals, avoiding the mad-cow/scrapie/kuru problems caused by eating infected brain matter, but it could be worded better.
  • The Duke of the West was held hostage by the last Yin emperor, so one of his handsome sons went to the palace to negotiate for his release. The emperor's favored concubine took a shining to this son and tried to seduce him, and when her advances were rebuffed, flew into a rage and had the son chopped up into stew, which was then served to the father. The Duke of the West later rebelled and one of his surviving sons then went on to found the Zhou dynasty.
    • That part of fact was incorporated into many fiction. Probably the Fengshen Yanyi, but definitely Houshin Engi (seeing that HouEn is loosely based on Fengshen Yanyi. Some of the fiction told that the Duke really ate his son because he was forced, and when he regurgitated it, the meat turned into rabbits that hopped to the West. HouEn‍'‍s take is that the Duke didn't eat it, but became so traumatized that he eventually passed away from malnourishment
  • Albert Fish, Serial Killer.
  • Enriqueta Marti, Witch, kidnapper, child killer, and cannibal.
  • Germany seems to have a disturbing number of serial killers who are also cannibals: Joachim Kroll, Fritz Haarmann, George Karl Grossman, Karl Denke. That's not even counting the 2002 case where a German man advertised online for a victim to eat and kill -- and got one!
    • Notice that the victim was indeed eaten, then killed. Apparently the two men ate the chopped off body part together. The story was immortalised in the Rammstein song "Mein Teil", a portrayal which strays into A Glass of Chianti territory.
      • There was an episode of The IT Crowd that used this plot. In "Moss and the German", Moss answers an ad for what he thinks is a private cooking class, not realizing that the eccentric German man who placed the ad was trying to find someone whom he could eat.
    • Not cannibalism, but on a related note, Heinrich Himmler had furniture made from human flesh in his attic.
      • Many concentration camp victims shared similar fates, as can be seen in the concentration camp "storerooms."
  • Around 1931, journalist William Buehler Seabrook ate human meat just to know how it tastes. He got a chunk of meat from a young human, killed by accident, from a hospital intern. He stated that it was like veal.
  • There has been accusations of Japanese solders practicing cannibalism on POW's during World War 2
  • Not too long ago, there was a German politician (with Turkish roots) who ran in an election. Two of his goals: Make Doenner Kebap (a fast food) less expensive and.... allow cannibalism. To quote him: "The animal eat animal; the human eat human!" It soon became kind of a meme to call him "the guy, who wants human-kebab for 1€". Naturally, he lost the election.
    • Cannibalism isn't technically illegal in Germany, but the act may violate other laws.
      • Knowing Germany, it probably violates some health code or another because the meat wasn't checked by a vet before being slaughtered. That's just the kind of thing we would actually do.
    • Would that be a Donner Kebab?
  • There are rumors that the Asmat tribe in southern New Guinea has not completely given up the practice of cannibalism. So much so, that there is a healthy amount of speculation that Michael Rockefeller didn't simply disappear, but was eaten by members of the tribe.
  • Historically, slave traders in Africa routinely claimed that their 'merchandise' had come from bloodthirsty cannibal tribes, to quash any revulsion buyers might feel for how their captives were abused.
    • And among some African tribes, there was legends about how the white slave traders wanted their cargo for meat. The Africans were no strangers to slavery, but apparently the legends arose because the white traders wanted so many slaves.
      • In a rather macabre (and funny) Urban Legend, Gerber tried selling their baby food in Africa with the same packaging used in North America (complete with the chubby Caucasian child) except with the text translated into the local languages. Unfortunately, many people in many of the regions they were trying to sell into were illiterate, and the local food packers had adopted the simple expedient of putting a picture of the contents on the label.
  • Whether or not the legendary Sweeney Todd actually existed is subject to much debate, but one possible story of his life as an 18th-century cutler's apprentice and prison barber turned serial killer bears telling. The String of Pearls, the penny-dreadful story that introduced Todd, had him killing people by means of a trick barber's chair that dumped people into the basement below, with Sweeney taking his razor to anyone who survived the fall. Mrs. Lovett's pie shop was across the street from Sweeney's barber shop, and the bodies of Sweeney's victims were delivered to her bakeroom via a secret tunnel below Fleet Street. The story ended somewhat differently from the musical, with Sweeney and Mrs. Lovett both being arrested by the Bow Street Runners and Mrs. Lovett almost getting lynched by her customers upon finding out what was actually in those pies she made. Mrs. Lovett would poison herself before the trial, and Sweeney himself would be tried, convicted, and hanged.
  • During the Whitechapel murders (Jack the Ripper), a package was sent to a neighborhood leader with part of a human kidney. The writer of the letter, apparently Jack, claimed he cooked and ate the rest of it.
  • Idi Amin (according to rumor).
  • Jeffrey Dahmer.
  • Issei Sagawa.
  • Leonarda Cianciulli, who killed three women, turned their body fat into soap (in one case giving it to her neighbours) and used their blood as an ingredient for cakes, which were eaten by her friends, her son and herself.
  • Sawney Bean and his horrible family. Who probably didn't really exist, but it's a good story.
  • Not humans cannibalism, but feeding cows unused cow parts (brains) is what leads to mad cow disease.
    • Mad cow disease is a prion disease, and there is a human equivalent called Kuru that was spread in the same way (i.e eating diseased brains). It was endemic to the Fore tribe in Papua New Guinea. Interestingly, when the diseased brains were examined, they had plaques that resemble plaques found in the brains of Alzheimer's patients
      • There are a number of diseases that can be contracted that way, which - rather disturbingly - humans seem to have a mild resistance to, the more common ones anyway, which heavily implies that at some point in prehistory 'long pork' was so consistently on the human diet that we actually developed a resistance to diseases spread via cannibalism that's still present at least forty thousand years later.
  • Some hostile to Christianity (and especially Roman Catholicism) interpret Communion as cannibalism, since according to the doctrine of Transubstantiation the bread and wine literally become the body and blood of Christ.
    • Back during the early days of Christianity, when persecution by the Romans was widespread, this was also one common pagan calumny against Christians.
      • Later, the Medieval Christians started accusing the Jews of doing this during their Passover rituals.
      • The Roman pagans may also have employed this against Jews earlier.
      • This "Blood Libel" as it has come to be known continues to this day in Palestine and the surrounding areas among Israel's many enemies.
      • In all cases, this has been just a handy accusation to make against people one loathes for various other reasons.
    • Also, all Christians including Roman Catholics believe that Jesus is God incarnate in human form, calling into question both the definition and connotations of cannibalism. (Does consuming a deity really count? If God tells you to do it and you're just being obedient, why exactly is that a bad thing?)
  • According to some U.S. soldiers, during World War II the Fijian islanders absolutely loved the canned Spam from the army canteens—because the taste was the closest thing they'd found to human flesh.
  • Alferd (or Alfred) Packer
  • Dennis Nilsen cooked his victims, he may have eaten parts.
    • His main motivation was apparently that he "didn't want to be lonely". He would kill his lovers in the morning to prevent them leaving and bury them under the floorboards. He'd then take them out for sex. And conversations. And watch TV with them. He only cooked and disposed of them after they had started to rot.
  • It is suggested that some Maori tribes were cannibalistic. A story exists of a shipwrecked sailor joining them rather than be eaten himself, and adopting their facial tattoos. Of course, he told this story once he was back in England making a living as a sideshow freak, so it may be a tall tale.
    • Maori tribes would face their enemies with opened mouths, a gesture saying 'you'll taste good when I eat you,' because many tribes would eat their fallen foes after battle.
  • The original natives of the Caribbean were accused of eating their enemies. "Carib" and "cannibal" are said to be derived from the same word.
  • Some historians claim this might have happened during a famine in Soviet Ukraine during the early thirties.
    • And some defectors and aid workers have reported that North Koreans resorted to cannibalism during the famine of 1995-97.
      • This has been revealed as a confirmed fact in Red China during the Cultural Revolution.
      • While some ritual cannibalism is believed to have taken place during the Cultural Revolution, it still wasn't as bad as during the so-called Great Leap a couple of decades earlier which utterly broke the social order, resulting in a situation where armed gangs roamed the countryside in search of strangers they could kill for food. There are also chilling stories of the state kindergartens of the time being complete deathtraps for infants whose parents had been press-ganged to the fields; the meager staff supposedly used them as their personal larders when the food deliveries stopped coming.
  • Serial Killer Richard Chase believed Nazis who had access to UFOs were covertly killing him from the inside, and thought the only way to stop himself from deteriorating was to eat organs and drink blood.
  • There is a famous case of a butcher who used to sell sausage made of human meat in Brazil, during the 19th century. Ironically, people considered that the best sausages of Porto Alegre. It became almost an urban legend in the city, despite being a real thing.
  • Technically, all of us are guilty of this, as we swallow and digest millions of flaked-off cells from the linings of our own mouths every day.
    • Of course you're likely to do this to someone else's cells after having a nice snog.
  • Joachim Kroll, Andrei Chikatilo, and the Co-ed Killer (Ed Kemper), anybody?
  • One of Eddie Izzard's routines touches on this trope. According to him, real-life cannibals have commented on the taste of humans: "Tastes like chicken."

"Would you like the chicken? Tastes of human, sir."

  • One possible reason for the persistence of cannibalism in some regions is linked to folklore about it: Some groups claim that eating the flesh of an enemy gives you their strength. This might actually be true in places where salt is not available in other foods in sufficient quantity. One symptom of sodium deficiency is muscle weakness.
  • Cannibalism is, historically, one of the most common accusations against whatever group of people is the 'despised other' at the time. If you examine medieval "blood Libel" tales about Jews, you find amazing parallels with the tales spun about (entirely imaginary) Satanic Cults in the 1990s. Africans sold as slaves were often claimed to be cannibals (to both dehumanize them and make them seem dangerous enough to need to be kept in chains). Aboriginal peoples all over the world have been accused by (and in their turn accused) colonizers of cannibalism, especially when there are particularly vicious crimes being committed.
  • Two presenters of the Dutch TV show Proefkonijnen (which translates as 'guinea pigs') ate a little bit of each other's flesh, which was removed surgically from their side and buttocks shortly beforehand and prepared by a chef. For a while it looked like they might be prosecuted as cannibalism is prohibited in the Netherlands, but because it was consensual the two went free.
  • Serial Killer Ted Bundy once took a bite out of one of his many female victims just because he was curious about what it would be like.
  • One of the early indicators that the rebels in the Syrian Civil War weren't fine, upstanding members of La Résistance was when news reports came out that they were engaging in cannibalism. That article was then blasted by other media outlets for trying to demonize the Syrian military by painting a romanticized and sympathetic picture of what were, by most accounts, murderous terrorists.
  • Ugandan dictator Idi Amin was rumored to have done this, although even if he didn't, there was ample proof of many other atrocities he committed. By his own admission, he kept the decapitated heads of political enemies in his freezer, and said that human flesh was generally "too salty" for his taste. Whether or not he said that from experience or a sick joke is unknown.
  1. and many others
  2. "The Sociology of the Flind", Dragon Magazine #173