The GuardianThe Guardian

Gut reaction: Cinema’s new wave of projectile vomiting

By Miriam Balanescu

13 Apr 2023 · 5 min read

Editor's Note

The trope has been “widely denounced as a lazy shorthand for big, unbridled – and unpluggable – emotion,” writes Miriam Balanescu for The Guardian. And yet, it persists—even in award winning movies.

Despite no end of displeasure and disgust – from a petition put to (and rejected by) UK parliament in 2021 to make warnings obligatory, to a “coalition” of film and television viewers making a stand against the stomach-churning trend – there is no sign the flood of vomit currently sweeping cinema is set to be staunched.

The dam was first burst in 1973, with The Exorcist’s tide of pea soup. Since then, the trope of copious projectile vomiting in cinema has spread contagiously, finding itself in a reliably constant spew of horrors, then comedies, released from the mid-1970s onwards.

Sign in to informed

  • Curated articles from premium publishers, ad-free
  • Concise Daily Briefs with quick-read summaries
  • Read, listen, save for later, or enjoy offline
  • Enjoy personalized content