Top 10 Body Horror Movies
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Peter Sotiriou.
Nothing is more horrifying than watching human flesh be mutilated and damaged. Join http://www.WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Body Horror Movies. For this list, we've focused on horror movies that offer scares and chills derived from the explicit damage and deterioration of the human body. These flicks are sure to send a shiver down your spine and make your bones rattle as the horror in these films is entirely relatable. WARNING: Contains mature content.
Special thanks to our users Rob Welch, jkellis and MikeMJPMUNCH for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
Script written by Peter Sotiriou.
Top 10 Body Horror Movies
Nothing is more horrifying than watching human flesh be mutilated and damaged. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Body Horror Movies.
For this list, we’ve focused on horror movies that offer scares and chills derived from the explicit damage and deterioration of the human body.
#10: “Tetsuo: The Iron Man” (1989)
A bizarre film that explores the relationship between technology and our physical selves, “Tetsuo: The Iron Man” is unlike anything you’ve seen before. The titular character becomes infected with a strange disease that spreads metal parts all over his body. This occurs after he runs over a man who shares this disfiguring sickness, eventually leading to a weird brawl between the two metallic men. Watching these two piles of scrap go at it is a visual train wreck: the viewer can’t help but look away as their senses are assaulted by the interaction between metal and flesh in the cyberpunk flick, which launched director Shinya Tsukamoto into cult territory.
#9: “Naked Lunch” (1991)
When you think a giant bug is instructing you to kill your wife, it’s probably time to stop doing drugs. In “Naked Lunch,” William, an exterminator, begins hallucinating because of the chemicals in the insecticide he uses. What ensues is a mess of surrealist and grotesque scenes of exposed centipede guts being harvested, giant insect monsters known as mugwumps talking and giving out orders, and typewriters turning into creatures and engaging in sexual relations with the characters. Just another film in director David Cronenberg’s eccentric filmography.
#8: “Altered States” (1980)
Edward Jessup, a university professor studying different states of consciousness, conducts experiments by locking himself in an isolation tank while taking hallucinogenic drugs he obtained during an excursion in Mexico. The professor devolves into a primitive Neanderthal at first, but the results prove more horrifying when he transforms into a shapeless mass of gooey matter. With blasphemous religious hallucinations of a goat-headed, seven-eyed Jesus on the cross in addition to the devolved states of inhumanity, “Altered States” packs a visual punch of grotesque imagery.
#7: “Dead Ringers” (1988)
Twins are creepy. Director David Cronenberg ups the ante with twin gynecologists who share women in “Dead Ringers.” Specialising in female fertility problems, twins Elliot and Beverly take us down a tragic spiral of drug addiction when one of their patients begins a relationship with Beverly. What follows is less of a gory mess and more of a psychological body horror with botched gynecological procedures, disturbing surgical instruments and even graphic biting of a scar. Original and spine-chilling, this film will make your skin crawl.
#6: “Re-Animator” (1985)
Bringing back the dead can only have negative, perverse consequences. In “Re-Animator,” Dr. Herbert West attempts to do just that, using a serum he’s trying to perfect to reanimate the deceased. The dead corpses that do come back to life end up being zombies, incapable of thought and reason. Gruesome in its detail, this sci-fi horror comedy displays scenes of graphic violence, such as decapitation and dismemberment. And let’s not forget the infamous scene where a headless body shoves its bleeding, detached head in between the legs of a captured girl in order to perform sexual acts. Disturbing.
#5: “Hellraiser” (1987)
Frank Cotton paid the price upon opening a demonic puzzle box when mutilated humanoid creatures known as the Cenobites dragged him to their dimension. “Hellraiser” sees Frank’s brother Larry and his wife Julia stay at the house Frank disappeared in, only for the deceased brother to come back as a skinless undead human. The bulk of the body horror lies with the Cenobites themselves, as eyes are sewn shut, faces are peeled back with exposed teeth, and scars plague their bodies. Worst of all? The Cenobites get off on these mutilations.
#4: “Videodrome” (1983)
Exploring the themes of television, technology and the effects they have on our minds and bodies, “Videodrome” is a bizarre, surreal movie with body horror at its center. The movie follows a cable-TV programmer who becomes obsessed with a strange signal broadcasting snuff films. The programming eventually warps his perception of reality. Much like Cronenberg’s other body horror film, “Scanners”, the man becomes an assassin for an evil corporation looking to brainwash humans. With organic video cassette slots in stomachs, tumors gushing out of bullet holes in bodies, and living, breathing, seductive television sets, it’s safe to say: long live the new flesh.
#3: “Alien” (1979)
The first entry in this monumental film franchise, “Alien” offers claustrophobia and terror, as the Nostromo space crew lands on a planetoid where they discover thousands of eggs. Paranoia and fear kick in when a creature springs forth from one of the eggs and attaches itself to one of the crew members’ faces. All hell breaks loose when the seemingly recovered crew member starts convulsing and choking, as his chest explodes, unleashing the Alien from within. The notion of using the human body as a means to birth aliens is a horrifying thought.
#2: “The Thing” (1982)
A shape-shifting alien has cornered scientists in a research station, where no one knows who is human or alien in this paranoia-filled movie set in the Antarctic. “The Thing” offers gore aplenty, with graphic transformations, dogs and humans being ripped apart, skin melting off, alien tentacles squirting and oozing blood and slime, and many other colorful images. An iconic scene shows one of the researchers trying to resuscitate a fellow crewmember using a defibrillator; when unbeknownst to him is The Thing has taken over. This movie is the stuff of nightmares.
Before we reveal our number one pick, here’s a look at some of our honorable mentions:
- “Teeth” (2007)
- “The Human Centipede” (2009)
- “Body Melt” (1993)
- “Slither” (2006)
- “The Ruins” (2008)
#1: “The Fly” (1986)
No other film could top a list of top body horror movies than one that has its main character transform into a gruesome, humanoid fly. Seth Brundle is a scientist working on transporting objects from one teleportation device to another. In a jealous and drunken stupor, he tests the pod himself; little did he know that a fly had also entered the same pod he was in, fusing its genes with Brundle’s. What ensues is a slow transformation into a fly/human hybrid, with body and face slowly changing, nails, teeth and ears falling off, white corrosive vomit melting limbs, and of course the actual transformation into a grotesque, bulging fly. “The Fly” offers the viewer a body horror masterpiece.
Do you agree with our list? What body horror movie do you think should have made it? For more horrific top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.