Horror food might seem niche, but there are lots of categories of horror food. There’s food straight from a movie. There’s beautifully crafted food designed to look like motifs from a film. There’s food inspired by a movie (that’s mostly how I go about it – exploring regions, themes, etc.).

Then there’s the gross stuff. Blood and guts and what not. There are people who do it well, and they do it really well. I have a hard time with this myself; while I absolutely admire the artistry and creativity, it’s FOOD, it’s supposed to be appetizing, right? Anyway, I’m dipping into that unappetizing territory. This month’s recipe, inspired by David Cronenberg’s The Fly (1986), is coated with a digestive enzyme. Barf. Literally.

Cronenberg is known for his body horror elements in film, and The Fly is one of the most effective examples. Scientist Seth Brundle (eventually Brundlefly), Jeff Goldblum, has achieved teleportation. At first with just with inanimate objects. After he becomes romantically involved with journalist Veronica (Geena Davis), she tips him that he needs to teach the computer secrets of the flesh, the secrets of living things. He’s cracked the code, but when he teleports himself with an errant fly, the results are thrilling to begin with and horrifying to end. The deterioration of the body is such an effective theme. We all age, we all get sick – the terror is already within us. And losing someone to the flaws of the flesh is heartbreaking.   

Back to the food. Food is not just a backdrop in this movie but a sign of life. Seth initially invites Veronica back to his apartment for cappuccino – he has a machine and everything! And he asks her out a second time with the magic word: Cheeseburger. One of the keys to understanding why he hasn’t been able to transport living things comes when he transports a steak. Veronica notes that the transported steak feels synthetic. Once teleportation success is achieved, they celebrate with spicy eggplant and champagne.


Food is not just a backdrop in [The Fly] but a sign of life..


And then the post teleportation turn. Seth is hyper drawn to sugar, dumping spoonfuls of sugar into his cappucino, ordering cannolis, chomping chocolate bars at the bar, subsisting off cinnamon rolls.

We’re making cinnamon rolls. Fusion successful with cappuccino, Seth and Veronica’s romance catalyst.

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I took one of the most basic tried and true cinnamon role recipes from the New York Times and fused it with cappuccino – replacing some of the cinnamon with instant espresso. Some mini marshmallows provided the foam element. And then to top….well, it’s just glaze. Don’t think too hard about how flies digest food.

Cappuccino Cinnamon Rolls

Adapted from the New York Times

For the dough

  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 oz package yeast
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted

Heat the milk until warm (not hot!). Stir in sugar and yeast and wait for it to bubble.

Meanwhile, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Combine with foamy yeast mixture, egg, and butter. Once combined, knead 4-5 minutes on a floured surface or mix in a bowl with a dough hook. Form into a ball, placed in a greased bowl, and let rise until doubled, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Then, punch down and chill for at least an hour and up to overnight.

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Roll the dough to a 16×10 rectangle with approximately 1/4 inch thickness.

For the filling

  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 4 teaspoons instant espresso
  • 1 large pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup mini marshmallows, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup (one stick) butter, melted

Mix brown sugar, cinnamon, espresso and salt. Brush dough with half the butter, evenly sprinkle the brown sugar mixture. Then evenly sprinkle marshmallows. Drizzle the remaining butter.

Roll the dough tightly and cut into nine rolls. Place in a 9×13 pan or a 9 inch round pan (I did 9×13 but honestly next time I would do a round pan because I think they could be more tightly packed. Let sit/rise for an hour.

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Heat oven to 375. Bake for 32-25 minutes until golden and filling is bubbly. Cool slightly.

For the digestive enzyme glaze

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 5-6 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix well sugar with cream and vanilla to desired consistency (should be fairly thick because it will be thin when drizzled on warm cinnamon rolls.

Drizzle glaze on warm cinnamon rolls, cool slightly and serve.

Need more horror-inspired recipes? See everything delectable dish in the Witchy Kitchen cookbook HERE and let us now your own recipes over Twitter, in the Nightmare on Film Street Subreddit, and on Facebook in the Horror Movie Fiend Club!


the fly david cronenberg