Blood Cake

I watched Matilda for the first time when I was three. Over the years, I've watched it multiple times, but before re-discovering it (at the age or nine), horrible images of a particularly ghastly scene plagues my mind endlessly.

(p.s: it's nice to be back!)

the scene in question is this one:

For six long years, I had been convinced—and nothing on this planet would have changed my mind—that poor Bruce had been forced to eat a cake made out of BLOOD and SWEAT by Ms. Trunchbull. I don't quite understand how my mind made that connection, but at the time it made complete sense, and in a weird way, I suppose this is why I don't like eating chocolate cake. I'll eat chocolate bars and hot chocolate, but that's about it. No cake, no ice-cream, no cheesecake, nothing. Zilch. Nada.

(the last sentence is a realization I made JUST NOW, as I was typing this, so hooray for me for working out where some of my childhood traumas/preferences came from!)

I remember being so disgusted and terrified of this scene, that I actually refused to watch it in its entirety when I re-discovered this movie. It wasn't until I heard the words “smells chocolatey, eh?” that the hears in my head began working. Slowly, I looked up, my ears as attentive as those of a dog waiting for its favorite snack. I watched, enthralled, as Bruce struggled (and triumphed!) his way through that chocolate monstrosity, cheering him on with the rest of the children watching him eat.

As the scene progressed, my mind ate at itself; relived that Bruce had not been forced to eat blood cake, but also slightly disappointed that that had not been the case? How weird is that? Geez, I was such a strange child...

Anyways, I watched and re-watched and re-re-watched the movie until I could quote a big chunk of it and my mind stopped eating itself. Bruce had been OK (I was ten at the time and not capable of grasping that this poor child had been tortured, etc.). The cake had been chocolate and he had succeeded. I didn't have to feel afraid of a small boy eating sweat and blood, and that felt good. But as relived as I was I had promised myself to never eat chocolate cake or anything resembling it for that matter.

I have yet to break my promise.


C. W.