Body horror has been a staple of horror movies for decades, with directors and filmmakers such as David Cronenberg and Clive Barker achieve fame and admiration for their work in the genre. Popular examples of classic body horror cinema include The thing, Extraterrestrial, and Flyand more infamous additions such as The human centipede.
However, there are still countless body horror movies out there that haven’t yet received as much love as their more famous counterparts, and the body horror subgenre as a whole still remains a topic of interest. for most moviegoers. Here are five body horror movies you may never have heard of or seen that are absolutely worth watching.
Written, Directed and Performed Alice Lowewho was also seven months pregnant at the time, Prevent is a unique body-horror comedy that takes in all the anxieties of motherhood through a violent lens that’s as witty as it is transgressive. The film follows a pregnant woman who comes to suspect that her unborn fetus is propelling her into a life of murder and carnage.
It examines how women perceive their agency and identity after becoming mothers, helping to deliver an always welcome but sadly rare portrayal of the female psyche through body horror.
“The Neon Demon” (2016)
Featuring Elle Fanning, Keanu Reeves, and Cristina Hendricks, The neon demon follows Jesse (Elle Fanning), a young girl rising rapidly in the modeling world whose youthful beauty and natural talent accumulate in an intense fit of jealousy felt by every other model in the fashion industry.
Realized by Nicolas Winding Refnthe film is a bloody and terrifying judgment of the fashion industry as well as a scathing critique of human desire and youthful obsession, resulting in a visually dazzling thriller that is sure to entertain.
Criticized for being sexist as he is also praised for being a feminist, Hearing is a 1999 Japanese body horror film directed by Mike Takashi who follows a widower (Ryo Ishibashi) who organizes an “audition” to find a new wife at the request of his film producer friend. Asami Yamazaki (Eihi Shiina) soon enters the scene and is considered a perfect candidate during her audition.
The film then slowly becomes more gruesome until the film’s climax, which can only be described as one of the most intense scenes in all of body horror cinema. It’s a macabre and sordid drama that features a terrifying and magnetic performance by Eihi Shiina, as well as some of the bloodiest scenes in horror history.
“The Howl” (1981)
Released in 1981 alongside two other werewolf films, An American werewolf in London and wolves, The howling is a werewolf-inspired body horror whose gruesome transformations may not compete with the big-budget CGI modern audiences are used to, but it still remains grotesque and terrifying, albeit in a weirdly charming way.
Upon release, it received fairly harsh reviews and was written off in favor of other werewolf-based media, but has since made a quiet return to the zeitgeist of horror cult favorites. forgotten due to its creative use of body horror and reimagining of the werewolf trope.
“Altered States” (1980)
Modified states is a surreal 1980s take on body horror through its psychedelic imagery and exploration of human consciousness that also features the cinematic debut of Guillaume Blessé as good as Drew Barrymore. The film is a bold, experimental tour de force of horror cinema that still holds exceptionally today, even if the trippy visuals are just as hard to decipher as they are disturbing.
The film can only be described as a bad trip on acid, except with insightful dialogue about what it really means to be human. Modified states is a masterclass in body horror cinema, so check it out if you haven’t already.
“The Perfection” (2018)
Featuring the talented Allison Williams and Logan Browningthis 2018 Netflix movie follows two musicians studying at a prestigious music academy who soon embark on a gruesome journey filled with twisted revenge, shocking visuals, and a healthy dose of camp.
The film hasn’t received enough love as it should, and even as a relative newcomer to the body horror genre, it’s a great addition to the pantheon of female-led gore films that can still be more appreciated.
‘Tetsuo: The Iron Man’ (1988)
Arguably the most grotesque depiction of body horror ever produced, Tetsuo: Iron Man is a 70 minute assortment of cinematic gore and madness in the best possible way. The film follows the horrific transformation of man into machine, which is nothing short of a nightmarish depiction of machines that is sure to make anyone disgusted.
The film, despite being a highly respected and well-known entity in its home country of Japan, remains a niche film overseas, which is a shame. He sets the standard for body horror intensity and imagination, so any self-respecting horror lover should give him a watch immediately!
The 2018 remake of the classic 1977 Italian supernatural horror film about a group of witches running a dance school is divisive, to say the least, with its surreal, confronting visuals and body-horror sequences. intense that stray away from the source material.
However, it’s still a masterpiece of cinematography and horror, with some lovely stellar dance sequences to underscore just how gorgeous this film is. Whether you’re a fan of the original or have never seen it, watch sighs with an open mind and let yourself be enchanted by the world created by Luca Guadagnino.
‘Guinea pig: Mermaid in a manhole’
Another great example of Japanese body horror, Mermaid in a manhole, is a film that is part of the horrible and controversial guinea pig film series known for its explicit depictions of murder, torture, mayhem and, of course, body horror.
It tells the story of an artist who discovers a mermaid in a sewer and then takes her back to his apartment, where he begins to paint her slowly deteriorating body, even using some of the pus from her oozing wounds as paint. The film is quite hard to watch, especially if you have a weak stomach, but its unique twist on the classic mermaid trope is unparalleled.
‘American Mary’ (2012)
Featuring Catherine Isabelle and directed by the filmmaking sister duo Jeans and Sylvie Soska, the 2012 american mary may be on the lighter side of body horror compared to the others on this list, but that doesn’t make it any less entertaining in any way.
The film is a sharp, feminist take on the body horror genre, with its plot following a struggling medical student who enters the sordid and dangerous world of underground aesthetic body modifications. He has developed a small cult following but deserves a much bigger one. It’s morbid, dark and camp; what more could you ask for from a body horror movie?
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