10 Most Weird and Weird Body Horror Movies

10 Most Weird and Weird Body Horror Movies

With Halloween just around the corner, maybe it’s time to trade predictable jump scares for horror movies that will really crawl underneath your skin. Body horror belongs to the grownups’ table of scary movies. It’s too bizarre and grotesque for some people, but if your stomach can handle it, then who knows, you might just discover something about yourself.

The best body horror movies are essentially character studies. By peeling back the layers of human flesh (often literally), we can get to the good stuff inside. I’m not just talking about blood, guts and gore (although that is an integral element of the genre). I’m talking about the most extreme emotions that people can feel. After all, body horror is pretty boring if it doesn’t offer at least some commentary on the human condition.

Shivers’ (1975)
David Cronenberg is the King of body horror and is essentially responsible for creating the genre as it is today. Modern body horror can be traced back to Cronenberg’s 1975 feature film debut Shivers. The original shooting title was Orgy of the Blood Parasites, which probably tells you more than you need to know.

The basic premise is: an apartment building is infected by a parasite which turns its inhabitants into sex-crazed zombies. Creepy, right? But it’s so much more than that, as all good body horror movies are. Shivers is also a comedic exploration of middle-class respectability and sexual repression.

‘Eraserhead’ (1977)
When David Lynch’s feature film debut opened at a midnight movie screening in 1977, there was reportedly “a long uncomfortable silence… Then, finally, applause.” Audiences didn’t know how to react and, honestly, they still don’t. No matter how many times you rewatch it, Eraserhead never gets any less disturbing or confusing.

It’s a movie about the horrors of parenting… if your child was a deformed mutant with a snake-like face (think: a mixture of E.T. and Voldemort). If you can get past the baby who resembles a naked mole-rat, there’s a lot to unpack: the fear of inadequacy in the face of fatherhood, sexual anxiety and alienation.

‘Possession’ (1981)
When Anna (Isabelle Adjani) demands a divorce from her international spy husband Mark (Sam Neil), his suspicions of infidelity soon give way to something much more strange and sinister. A disturbing blend of both body and psychological horror, Possession is bizarre and utterly unpredictable. The movie is so extreme that it’s essential viewing for every body horror fanatic.

Everyone has a public transport horror story. But, after watching a possessed Anna run riot through the Berlin U-Bahn, a portrait of pure sexual terror, maybe you’ll think twice about taking the subway.

‘Videodrome’ (1983)
When Max (James Woods), the CEO of a small, sleazy television station, stumbles across a broadcast signal of snuff films, he becomes obsessed with uncovering the signal’s source. What follows is a series of strange hallucinations which reflect Max’s unravelling sanity as he increasingly loses touch with reality.

Now considered a creepy cult classic and often cited as one of Cronenberg’s best, Videodromeexplores ideas which still feel fresh today: the horrifying potential of technology on human senses; society’s fascination with sex and violence; and the blurred boundaries between reality and consciousness.

‘The Fly’ (1986)
This is the last Cronenberg movie, I promise! But you can’t talk about body horror without mentioning The Fly: maybe the most visually disturbing body horror movie of all time. A remake of the 1958 monster movie classic, The Fly is a sinister slow-burn which builds up to bodily disgust.

When the experiment of an eccentric scientist (Jeff Goldblum) goes horribly wrong after a common housefly crawls into the machine, the two creatures slowly transform into one human-fly-hybrid. It’s also surprisingly romantic and emotional. The Fly is only for those with strong stomachs and even stronger empathy.

‘Ginger Snaps’ (2000)
A feminist cult classic and member of the menstrual horror movie subgenre, Ginger Snaps uses lycanthropy as a metaphor for growing up biologically female. When Ginger (Katharine Isabelle) is bitten by a deadly werewolf on the night of her first period, she undergoes a monstrous transformation. As the full moon looms closer, her younger sister Brigitte (Emily Perkins) must race against time to find a cure.

Teenage girls are scary enough on their own, without throwing in another monthly curse. Ginger Snaps is an exploration of the double bind that girls face once they hit puberty under patriarchy. Ginger is both human and animal, natural and supernatural, desired and feared.

Trouble Every Day’ (2001)
Trouble Every Day follows Shane (Vincent Gallo) and June (Tricia Vessey), a recently married American couple on their honeymoon in Paris, the most romantic city in the world. Madly in love, the young newlyweds are consumed by a sexual hunger so strong that it nearly devours them. Béatrice Dalle also stars as the vampiric Coré who is both empowered and enslaved by sexual desire.

Claire Denis’ erotic body horror imagines an urban landscape overrun by monsters incapable of loving without killing. Brutal and beautiful, cannibalism is envisioned as an extension of love, lust and humanity.

‘American Mary’ (2012)
How far would you go to pay off your college debt? Mary Mason (Katharine Isabelle) is a young medical student who is struggling to pay her tuition fees. So she decides to get a side hustle. Instead of selling second-hand clothes on Depop, Mary finds herself drawn into the shady world of underground body modification.

Now, we’re not just talking about tattoos and piercings here. Mary’s first client wishes to transform into a human doll which involves the removal of everything going on downstairs. Barbie dolls are famously smooth all over, after all. American Mary is a bloody mix of body horror and rape-revenge with a subtle social commentary on objectification and identity.

‘Raw’ (2016)
Justine (Garance Marillier) is a sixteen-year-old veterinary student and lifelong vegetarian who is forced to eat a raw rabbit kidney during a time-honored hazing ritual. After her first taste of flesh, she surrenders to her all-consuming cannibalistic cravings.

Julia Ducournau’s directorial debut is definitely not one for the faint-hearted. Two people reportedly fainted at the film’s Midnight Madness screening during the Toronto International Film Festival due to its graphic body horror. Ducournau expressed frustration at the sensationalist coverage of Raw since she didn’t intend to shock anyone. While Justine is a cannibal, she is also simply a scared teenage girl who is desperate to be loved and accepted

‘Border’ (2018)
Tina (Eva Melander) has always been insecure about her almost animal-like physical features, but she has one secret superpower: she can smell human emotions, especially fear and guilt, which helps her as a customs agent. When she meets a kindred spirit in Vore (Eero Milonoff), who also possesses similar disfigured facial features, everything Tina thought she knew about herself is brought into question.

Equal parts fantastical fairy tale, Nordic noir and supernatural body horror, Border is an eclectic mix of genres which culminates in something bizarre, grotesque, perverse, animalistic and ultimately heartwarming.

Author: ultraman cosmos

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