Contrasted with this is the very directed, intelligent community portrayed in the second season episode “Our Town”, where cannibalism is practiced primarily as a means of getting – if not eternal – then certainly a substantially elongated life.Local residents disappear to the cooking pot, a communal meal that only comes to light when one of the victims, infected with Creutzeldt-Jakob disease, manages to infect everyone who stuffed down his boiled-up carcass.Agent Scully states, in her report of the investigation, that “The liver possesses regenerative qualities. She posits that the killer takes the liver in order to cleanse himself of his own impurities – and if dealt in anything but monsters and metaphor, she might well be correct.But metaphor is the life-blood of the show, and Tooms gobbles down his organs body-fresh because of biological necessity – or I should say biological necessity, for in his case the livers cleanse not sins or mental breakdown or the demented biology of monsters, but the natural, human threats of mortality and age.It’s the regeneration of self-illusion as much as anything else that keeps these two monsters slavering for more: he is not just a cruel man on the hunt for fresh meat; she has not turned into the abusers that made her to begin with.In this they justify their consumption, and the regeneration goes on.We see a particular example with Greta, a pretty girl who is almost instantaneously transformed into a bent, grey creature clinging onto life.Her potential future is eaten up by the Queen, and the signs of age present in the latter disappear.
This monster antagonist of “Squeeze” and “Tooms” needs livers rather than body fat, and in a hibernation cycle that rouses him every thirty years he eats five livers before sinking back into sleep.
Food is so closely linked with regeneration – with the ability to regenerate – that the darker side of this ability is less the mirror surface of a bloody bowl than an extension of such.
The horror here is what the desire to regenerate can be pushed to: how food can be used as a tool for not just bodily integrity but the survival of the ego-self. He prefers to form romantic relationships with the women he’ll later digest, to give them something (confidence, the potential of attraction and the illusion of a love-relationship) in return for the nourishment he’ll get from their fat-stripped corpses.
It’s an almost vampiric relationship, except the victim of a vampire either transforms or dies, whereas Greta and her fellow morsels transform and then die.
One can hardly call it an improvement, from the point of view of the person being consumed – but the popularity of this horror trope remains. It’s not really accurate to call this facet of horror consumption an inversion of the original act.