In my opinion, body horror in films can be categorized into three separate subcategories. There is supernatural horror, viral/disease/mutation/parasitism or bacterial horror, and then there is just good old torture porn or self mutilation. This article will deal with the first two categories (non zombie films), and then I will make another article on the latter (including zombie films). Here are my top five for the week:
The Thing (1982 & 2011): While the original 1951 version was delightful, it was the remakes that really made this franchise stand out. This was one of the first body horror films I had ever seen, and it completely sold me on the genre. There are some truly disturbing and disgusting scenes in this film and that is what the genre is all about – pushing boundaries and making you squirm. Not to mention the fact that it also involves aliens, which is another whole genre in and of itself.
The absurd idea of developing claustrophobia in an arctic waste land is very Lovecraftian, and while the idea of the assassin being something as minute as a bacteria is nothing new, it is still just as frightening. All of us, to some degree, have a fear of bacteria. All throughout nature we hear of bacteria or fungi that can take over the brain and turn us into something else and ultimately kill us. The Thing takes that idea way over-the-top, which very much reminded me of one of my favourite anime movies Lily C.A.T. Basically the same idea, but instead of in the Arctic , it’s in a spaceship – which is even more mind fuckery. I also really love that this movie does not depend on CGI for its special effects. I love when a film crew puts the effort into actually working with different mediums to create horrific monsters that look genuinely real. That is far more entertaining than a computer generated monster. The Void, a movie I reviewed in my last article, also took this kind of effort to create very similar monsters to those of The Thing franchise, which is why I enjoyed it so much. Nothing makes me more happy than a wonderfully disturbing creature, especially when it is a humanoid creature. 5/5
Alien franchise: Alien is quite literally one of the most horrifying films ever made. I can’t think of one person I know that doesn’t shiver at the thought of being on that spaceship. Even worse, becoming a host. I think that is another basic human fear, becoming a host for something, it doesn’t even matter if it’s alien or from this planet. I remember being a child and being afraid of spiders laying eggs in my skin. We don’t want to be invaded, especially in a very violent way. This movie plays on that fear entirely, adding in claustrophobia to make it that much more fucked up and scary. Add in all the slime and face huggers and you got yourself one hell of a thrill ride. I cannot stress enough how wonderful this franchise is and I am honestly glad that it is still going strong. 5/5
The Mist: This movie is also Lovecraftian on a lot of different levels, it never really quite explains where the creatures come from. All we know is that someone – somewhere (in the government, of course) fucked up big time and now the world is invaded with insect/deep sea Elder God like creatures that eat you or lay eggs in you. Oh, and to make it worse? It comes along with this super thick mist to make seeing all of these creatures next to impossible. Thank you, Stephen King, for invading my nightmares once again. And the ending of that movie completely broke me. I won’t lie, I sobbed like a bitch. It took days for me to get over that film, which means it did it’s job. And now it’s going to become a film series, which I have reservations about, but whatever. 5/5
Splinter: This movie delights me on all levels. It’s disturbing and disgusting, but also really funny. It’s an innovative direction in body horror that I hadn’t seen before. This is a fungal horror film that creates grotesque humanoid monsters, but with a little twist. The bodies turn into these deformed versions of themselves that develop splinters, and the splinters are the fungi’s way of propagating itself. The reason this is so terrifying is because there are already fungi that do this type of thing already. If you research into fungi and all of the weird shit that it can do to insects, it will blow your fucking mind. Who’s to say that, later on down the road, it stops fucking around with insects and moves on to us? That’s what makes this film so frightening. I definitely don’t want to be alive to see that, no fucking way. 5/5
Hellraiser 1 & 2: This is a classic supernatural body horror film, and one of my favourite films of all time. I am a huge Clive Barker fan, mostly because he writes about a lot of body horror in general. The idea of solving some stupid child’s puzzle that transports you into hell is completely absurd and yet he makes it the most frightening experience you will ever have. The mere concept of the cenobites is enough to give me the jibblies. It also makes me want to be one of them because they’re so badass. I always joke about the fact that I have a little bit of a crush on Pinhead because he is such an emo bastard. I would totally try to take over Hell with him, no problem. Sign me up. The first and second films are really the only good films of the franchise sadly, although I do enjoy the fourth one because a cenobite has my name and she’s kind of hot. Torture never looked so good. 5/5
Because this is one of my favourite horror genre – there are going to be a few honourable mentions, because honestly, I can’t pick just five that I love. Here are some other body horror films that you have to check out because they’re just fucking fantastic and well worth your time. I’ll probably end up reviewing them later on at some point, because I love them all.
Cabin Fever (original)
So go get your puke bucket, some gravol, and a blanket to hide under and have fun 😉
What are your favourite body horror movies and why? Let us know in the comments below!