The best horror villain of 2023 doesn’t have a face. Or a voice. In fact, it doesn’t have any discernible features at all, apart from the one horrifying thing it can do.
Having appeared in the horror movie Evil Dead Rise, and most recently, the TV series The Walking Dead: Dead City, this formidable foe is fast becoming one of the most anxiety-inducing monsters in memory.
But what are we talking about, exactly? Some mindless, blood-drenched zombie? An inescapable demon? Sorry, you probably won’t have heard of this movie villain before, most likely because you’ve never considered it to be a villain at all. Ladies and gentlemen, we present to you: the humble cheese grater.
It makes sense, right? How many times have you been grating cheese or carrots, and with a quick slip of the hand have taken off a good chunk of your fingertip? Well, in recent media, the cheese grater has done a lot more damage than that.
It’s first appearance came in the form of Evil Dead Rise, the latest installment of the Evil Dead movies. In one scene (watch below — if you can stomach it), Beth witnesses her niece become possessed by the monstrous Deadite haunting their family. When the two fight, the Deadite reaches for a cheese grater that’s fallen on the floor, and…well, you can probably imagine the rest.
We thought that this use of our favorite kitchen utensil may have just been a one-off horrific moment of creative genius. But now, it seems it’s becoming some sort of trend, with The Walking Dead: Dead City horror series being the most recent to take advantage of the common home item.
In a scene during the latest episode, noted psychopath Negan gets into an altercation with Luther in an abandoned kitchen. Low and behold, he uses the one thing he can reach: a cheese grater! He can be seen attacking Luther’s face with the grater, leaving the latter a little worse for wear.
So, what’s the deal? Why should we suddenly be so afraid of our beloved cheese graters? Well, both of these scenes actually have very understandable inceptions.
“The face-grating killed me,” says Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who plays Negan on The Walking Dead spin-off [via Entertainment Tonight]. “I was like, ‘Really? I’m going to get him with a face-grater?’ But this is a guy that’s like 6-foot-6, and 200-some-odd-pounds of muscle. You know, Negan is not that guy. But that survival instinct kicks in with ‘What can I use to fight back?’ A cheese grater happened to be at hand, and that gets that guy off of him.”
As for Evil Dead Rise, we spoke to director Lee Cronin about that ourselves, and he explained that the inspiration behind his moment came from being trapped at home during lockdown.
“It’s going to be on my gravestone,” he joked, referring to the scene in question. “I wrote the script during the first Covid lockdown. I knew in this movie I needed various weapons and had a lot of fun planting them around the home as such. But, again, I tried to come at it fresh — I didn’t pull out the list of ‘must use these things’. I just wanted them to be recognizable domestic items, and I tried to fit them in and weave them around the pressure that the characters are under.”
So what’s next? Ghostface whipping out a cheese grater to slay some poor teenager? Jason stopping mid-grilled cheese to grate someone to death? There’s no telling where the usage of this kitchen utensil will go next, but we’re sure ready to find out. (In the meantime, we’ll be buying pre-grated cheddar.)
For more horror that’ll make your skin crawl, check out our lists of the best slasher movies and best zombie movies to watch now. You can also find out everything about The Exorcist: Believer release date, and how to watch the Insidious movies in order for the franchise’s latest of new movies.