When Hollywood dropped the production code in the 1960’s, movies moved into edgier territory. Bloody spurts supported gunshots, sex scenes were no longer merely implied, and soon people stopped puking with their heads in barrels or off-screen. Here are my selections for the ten greatest puking scenes the past few decades of cinema. (Honorable Mention: I Love You, Man) 10) The Sandlot Children + chewing tobacco + carnival ride = puking gold. In what is basically an anti-chew PSA, our baseball loving kids learn a valuable and queasy lesson about emulating real baseball players. And so does everyone standing else on and near the ride. This would be #1 for Most Splattering Puking Scenes. 9) Taxidermia In the middle section of this demented Hungarian anthology, a group of obese speed-eating champions horde around a vomit tub after their match. With the aid of sprayable ipecac they chat about game strategy as they puke out seemingly gallons of partially digested food. Surreal. Gross. Excellent. 8) I Heart Huckabees Jude Law has told and retold the same inane story about Shania Twain a million times, which has lead to a moment of devastating self-realization. Then Law is asked to retell the story yet again in an important board meeting. His reaction? Throw up in his hand a little bit. Not a visually impressive puke, but a brilliant payoff.
7) Detroit Rock City Edward Furlong just wants to see KISS. So he decides to partake in a strip tease to bring himself closer to his goal. Nervous, he loads up on booze. Then he “Boogie Shoes” his way up on stage and promptly keels over, filling an entire beer pitcher with vomitus, in front of a crowd of unsuspecting women. The fact that he then hands the pitcher to a waiter and proceeds with his strip tease makes the moment all the better. 6) The Fly There is a lot that is awesomely grotesque about Seth Brundle’s transformation into the Brundle-Fly – losing his fingernails and teeth, the thick black hairs coming out of his back – but none are quite as gut-churning as when he nonchalantly regurgitates a corrosive stomach enzyme (playfully called “vomit drop”) onto his food in front of a Geena Davis. 5) Meet The Feebles Sure, Team America has got an epic puppet-puking scene, but it’s cartoonish and thus harmless. Puking scenes should be unpleasant and cringe-inducing. Feebles has a puppet-puking scene that, like the movie itself, is gross and disturbing. Harry, a rabbit actor dying of AIDS – that’s right, a rabbit puppet dying of AIDS - decides to go on stage despite feeling ill. Messed up puppet booting ensues. 4) Street Trash Vomiting as an insult. Bill the Cop, a gritty plays-by-his-own-rules detective, beats the shit out of a slimy thug. Then, once the thug is subdued and down on the ground, Bill the Cop pulls the trigger, not on his gun but his gag reflex, and pukes on the unconscious goon. Why? Why not! Best. Finishing. Move. Ever.
3) Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life The benchmark for sketch comedy puking. You know you’re in for something special when Terry Jones’s morbidly obese foodie demands a “bucket” before he even orders food. The fountains of spew that follow just keep getting funnier – “I’m not done yet” - crescendoing when Jones pukes on the back of the woman cleaning up his mess, who reacts in no way (oh, British class humor). 2) The Exorcist The horror movie puking by which all others must be judged, and as far as I’m aware, the first projectile puke stream in cinema history. The moment has been seen and imitated and spoofed so many times now, we must strive not to forget the sheer impact that seeing a little girl hose a priest in the face with pea-soup puke originally had back in 1972. I dare say it was ground breaking. And the world was a better place after. 1) Stand By Me You say “puking scene” to most people ages 20-40, and this is likely what will come to mind. It’s usually the reason - for better or worse - anyone even brings up Stand By Me. I’m of course referring to the campfire story-within-the-story of Davie ‘Lardass’ Hogan’s amazing revenge scheme on the town that mocked his fatness. Another speed-eating competition here, only instead of a vomit tub, Lardass lets rip with one of the greatest puke streams ever seen – chunky and deep purple from pie filling – directly into another dude’s face. Then every other character in the scene similarly pukes directly onto someone else. To quote the film: “…and Lardass just sat back and enjoyed what he’d created: a complete and total barf-o-rama!” Sweet acrid vengeance, indeed.
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