Are you ready to get grossed out by the best body horror movies? Because, oh boy, do we have a list for you.
If you know me, you know I love horror movies. I'll spend hours watching the best horror movies and still somehow always find something to end up loving even more. I could watch the best Blumhouse horror movies or the best A24 horror movies. And during the spooky season, horror movies are my go-to form of entertainment.
But you want to know what I have actively avoided for years? Body horror. Usually, I'm not very squeamish. Years of regular horror movies and the most heartbreaking deaths on The Walking Dead have done that to me, where blood and guts don't usually bother me.
However, if you're still wondering what "body horror" is, this subgenre of horror film often involves body transformations and intense amounts of blood and gore -- and that's something that has always made me gag. I don't know what part of my horror-loving mind thinks that is too much for me to watch when some of the bloodiest Freddy Kreuger deaths isn't, but here we are. Either way that doesn't change the fact that I've still managed plenty of the best body horror movies out there – so today, I'll get into the ones you should care about – without somehow vomiting up my insides.
The Fly (1986)
Coming up first is an iconic film from David Cronenberg. The Fly (based on the short story and 1958 film of the same name) is a sci-fi horror film that takes body horror to another level when a scientist has an experiment that goes wrong, and it slowly turns him into a hybrid of a human and a fly.
David Cronenberg's Best Movies, Ranked
The Fly is a disgusting movie – and I mean that in a significant way. It starts well enough as a great sci-fi horror movie, but it just gets grosser as time goes on and creates arguably one of the most disgusting transformations in horror history.
It's one of Jeff Goldblum's best films and one of the best sci-fi horror films out there. But dear god… watch this on an empty stomach. The practical effects are fantastic but the first time I watched this I’m genuinely surprised I did not puke my guts out.
Another David Cronenberg movie, Videodrome, is about a man who, while working at a UHF TV station, discovers a signal that broadcasts snuff films. Trying to figure out where it's coming from, he finds darker, deeper secrets he never imagined.
Videodrome is one of those body horror movies that doesn't necessarily have an intense full-body transformation like some other options on this list. Still, the moments it does have – such as certain things being put into certain people's body parts – are enough to warrant this as a body horror movie. It's creepy, has an exciting plot, and has cool practical effects.
Another film from David Cronenberg, Scanners is set in a world where one man has particular telekinetic and telepathic abilities and discovers that there are far more like him. Some people want domination to do whatever they want with this power, and others are trying to top it, and these opposing sides cause chaos.
This is another example of a body horror where the body transformation isn't super intense. The powers used are out of this world and, unlike anything else, cause massive catastrophes to other bodies – such as heads exploding or skin peeling off or turning a different color. It's gross in the best ways.
The Brood (1979)
Guess what? Another David Cronenberg movie is on this list. The Brood is a horror film that mainly follows a man who investigates his mentally ill ex-wife's therapist for his unconventional methods and discovers far more dark secrets than he believed there to be.
Okay, so… this movie is odd. In so many ways. But, like, in a good way? Again, there is no intense body transformation here, but I mean it when I say this movie uses plenty of blood and extreme practical effects. Give it a shot if you haven't already.
The Thing (1982)
John Carpenter's great movies are always worth a watch, and that certainly includes The Thing. The classic horror movie is based on the novella, Who Goes There?, and tells the story of a group of researchers who are hunted down by an alien known as "Thing" who can shape-shift and look exactly like them.
The Thing is an excellent movie. It is one of Kurt Russell's best movies and builds horror and suspense simply because you can't trust anyone in this movie, and anyone could be the Thing. And in terms of body horror? Oh boy, it's here – in some of the most iconic scenes of horror history. You have to check it out.
An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Directed by John Landis, An American Werewolf in London is an iconic body horror movie that follows two backpackers who are attacked by a werewolf, and one of them is bitten, causing him to turn into one when the moon turns full.
We are back to body transformations here, and An American Werewolf in London certainly has one of the best. As a kid, I was terrified of the change in this movie, and now, watching it as an adult, I still get pretty weirded out by it because the practical effects are so good. This is the one to watch if you want a movie about a werewolf.
You can't get much better than the iconic David Lynch movies, and Eraserhead was undoubtedly one of them. While the story is a bit strange, this film mainly follows a man who must care for a deformed child when left alone.
This movie… is strange. Lynch is known as a surrealist when it comes to his films, and he will take the most abnormal images his mind could conjure up and put them in film, and oh boy, does he do that with this. If none of these movies on this list make you uncomfortable, this is the film that will. Pair that with an excellent performance from Jack Nance, and you're golden.
Ginger Snaps (2000)
Last but not least, we have Ginger Snaps. In this supernatural horror film, we follow two teenage sisters; one turns into a werewolf after being bitten by one when she begins her period.
Ginger Snaps is another excellent werewolf movie and, again, a fantastic look into what a painful transformation for a werewolf would look like. I think I almost like this one more than AAWIL because the change feels so much slower and more intense – and if you're looking for body horror, it's exactly what you need.
Alright, writing this list has effectively grossed me out. I will go and watch a cute little not-so-scary witch movie to brighten up my day. Have fun getting grossed out – maybe skip the popcorn for this one.