CNN

Whatever you expected from the content gods in 2022, one thing that probably wasn’t on your favorite menu: multiple stories that focused on, explored, and even celebrated cannibalism. Yes, movies and TV shows about people eating people.

This sudden cultural preoccupation with the taste of human flesh could potentially be seen as our next natural course after the overly trampled genre booms of vampire and zombie tales of the past 20 years. But still, the abundance of cannibalistic offerings this year would make anyone’s brow wrinkle (and stomach turn).

The strange glut of mainstream content was heralded, so to speak, by none other than actor Armie Hammer, whose alleged cannibalistic-leaning text messages went public in 2021, only to resurface in September via the docuseries sometime. little sensationalists from Discovery + “House of Hammer”. (Discovery+, like CNN, is a unit of Warner Bros. Discovery.)

But that’s far from everything. Hammer’s ‘Call Me By Your Name’ director Luca Guadagnino worked with that film’s star again Timothée Chalamet this year on a bizarre love story about cannibals on the fringes of society called “Bones and All,” which came out last month. The film, starring Taylor Russell, Michael Stuhlbarg (also of “Call Me”) and Oscar-winning actor Mark Rylance, received mostly favorable reviews, with CNN’s Brian Lowry calling it “an odd and intriguing but ultimately unsatisfying stew”.

Timothée Chalamet (left) and Taylor Russell (right) in

It might be hard to believe, but this movie was just one of two cannibal near-romances this year, with Hulu’s “Fresh” being the first in March. A darker-than-dark satire on the evils and pitfalls of modern dating, “Fresh” casts Sebastian Stan as a plastic surgeon who’s far too good to be true who pursues young women only to ultimately trap them in his secluded mansion and take pieces for an elite underground community of flesh-eaters who pay top dollar for the, uh, freshest cuts. The movie deftly swings between difficult to watch and tongue-in-cheek, ultimately delivering an ending that gives new meaning to the term “just desserts.”

Sebastian Stan in

And then there was Netflix’s “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” which was the streaming giant’s most-watched new show in its first week back then in September. This The Ryan Murphy series had many viewers unable to finish watching even the first episode. If that wasn’t enough about the notorious cannibalistic serial killer, October saw the premiere of a third installment of the “Conversations with a Killer” series, also on Netflix, this one focusing on Dahmer.

On top of that, there were a few attention-grabbing “cannibal-adjacent” tracks, like Showtime’s “Yellowjackets,” which came out late last year but got more legs this year. The series is an atmospheric new take on the “Lost” trope, this one following a group of women who survive a harrowing experience following a plane crash that left them stranded in the desert for more than a month. a year when they were teenagers. And while there’s no explicit cannibalism on the show yet, “Yellowjackets” leaves the idea open but seems to be saving the real meat of it (sorry) for next year’s Season 2.

Evan Peters as Jeffrey Dahmer in

Finally, there was “The Menu” last month, which also doesn’t feature people eating, but definitely teased the idea in its marketing campaign.

This is certainly not the first time that cannibals have captured the spirit of the times. After all, Anthony Hopkins won his first Best Actor Oscar for just a 16-minute run as murderous flesh-eater Hannibal Lecter in 1991’s “The Silence of the Lambs.” San Diego Museum Of Man’s Weird And Mystifying ‘Cannibals: Myth & Reality’ Exhibit Explains That Cannibalism Isn’t Actually As Alien As You Might Think, spanning cultures and history, from European royalty to American settlers, as well as unlucky sailors and accident survivors. (Remember 1993’s “Alive” starring Ethan Hawke, based on the true story of a Uruguayan rugby team that had to eat the dead to survive after crashing in the Andes?)

The exhibit even sheds light on how the human body was used as medicine in the British aristocracy in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Cannibalism, you might say, is as much a part of our history as it is the strange present we call 2022.

In any case, we hope that this disturbing fascination with cannibals has come to an end, with this year. In fact, as a colleague noted in an email, “the feeling of having to speak out against cannibalism is really 2022 in a nutshell.”

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