How Foley Artists Use Food to Make Sound Effects

iStock / iStock

In order to create vibrant, seamless sound effects for film and television, Foley artists have to get creative. This can mean using cinder blocks, musical instruments, or, as Eater illustrates in their latest episode of Gut Check, the contents of their kitchen.

Food is a popular tool in the industry because it produces organic sounds that can be easily manipulated. Marko Costanzo demonstrates how crushing a head of lettuce mimics the sound of an actual head being crushed in Dead Man (1995), and how twisting a stalk of celery creates the spine-crunching effect we hear in the 1998 film The Big Lebowski. (For the sound of breaking bones and spraying blood, Foley artist Gary Hecker first wraps his celery in a damp cloth.)

Food items also played a large role in one of the more gruesome scenes from Silence of the Lambs (1991). When Hannibal Lecter sinks his teeth into his victim’s face during the film’s climax, we’re treated to a skin-crawling sound engineered from apples and chamois. Edible props can also be used to enhance less violent scenes: Shredded coconut on lettuce sounds like falling ash and crunching potato chips stands in for footsteps in the woods. You can watch the full video below.

[h/t Eater]