What Those Monkey Brains In Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom Were Really Made Of

In “Temple of Doom,” after Indiana Jones, Willie Scott, and Ke Huy Quan’s Short Round first arrive at Pankot Palace, they sit down to a large banquet, where Indy questions Roshan Seth’s Prime Minister Chattar Lal about the sinister Thuggee cult. As the conversation unfolds, a series of unusual dishes, designed to be as nauseating as possible are served, beginning with “Snake surprise” (the surprise is there’s more snakes inside). That’s followed by a tray of giant beetles before the servers bring out eyeball soup. The grand finale is, of course, severed monkey heads with their skulls handily cracked open to allow the dinner guests easy access to the “chilled monkey brains” inside.

And while Spielberg had made Kate Capshaw work with real bugs and snakes in other scenes, he stopped short of making his actors actually eat real creatures. In a making-of featurette, the filmmaker explained how he conceived of “a meal of the worst stuff you would never imagine eating as long as you would live.” And in order to bring that vision to life, he had his crew come up with various practical solutions.

For the soup, rubber eyes were glued to the bottom of the bowl and would float up to the top when Capshaw stirred the broth. Custard also came in handy, especially for the beetles, which were, according to The Prop Gallery, actually made of latex rubber with a detachable section that the crew could fill with the dessert. And for those all-important monkey brains, the crew once again used regular old custard mixed with raspberry sauce.

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