My Top Ten Body Horror Movies


This list wasn’t easy to create as it was hard deciding what movies I consider to be part of the “body horror” subgenre. While researching this to get an idea of what movies most often tend to be considered body horror, I also managed to see enough gory images to last me a lifetime. Yikes. Guess my love of the David-Cronenberg-style of body horror is pretty tame & mainstream stuff!

First of all, I’ll give you Wikipedia’s definition:

Body horror is horror fiction in which the horror is principally derived from the graphic destruction or degeneration of the body. Such works may deal with decay, disease, parasitism, mutation, or mutilation. Other types of body horror include unnatural movements, or the anatomically incorrect placement of limbs to create “monsters” from human body parts. David Cronenberg, Frank Henenlotter, Brian Yuzna, Stuart Gordon, Lloyd Kaufman, and Clive Barker are notable directors of this genre.

I totally agree with the directors listed by Wikipedia – their films are the exact ones I’ve always had in mind when I’ve heard the term “Body Horror”.

Here’s a boring, rambling bit that no one has to read: It’s become a little joke with my hubby that my top ten lists often come with rules that exclude the Alien series of films (for the record, I think the first two films are pretty much the greatest things ever created & they’d top every list if I always included them). Such as, I don’t count them as “horror” so always say they don’t count in any “horror” lists that I do.Β Well, I’m once again not including Alien/AliensΒ as, while what happens to the body falls into the “body horror” definition, the body horror aspect is notΒ the main focus of those films. The one other questionable one is John Carpenter’s The Thing and I went back & forth on whether to include it. The body horror is focused on much more than in the Alien films but it’s once again not the main focus. Plus, it seems too good to be included with the likes of the other movies on my list. Well, I’ve included it mainly so people don’t yell at me but it means it’s my number one by far. πŸ˜‰

What I’ve Not Seen:

I’ll also point out that I’ve of course only seen a handful of “Body Horror” movies so, if I’ve not seen them, they won’t be on the list. I had wanted to do a body horror week but just haven’t had the time to get anything watched for it other than Cronenberg’s Shivers & Rabid. Maybe next October – I can always update this list! Most films in this genre are really too gross for me (I like my gore old & quite fake-looking) but the two I had really hoped to see before making this list were Altered States & Tetsuo: The Iron Man. So don’t ask why they (and the Alien films) are not on the list!!!!! (Someone will as no one reads these damn intros). πŸ˜‰

**Edit to say I’ve now seen Altered States as of September 2017. My review is HERE. It doesn’t quite make my top ten (it’s not actually “body horror” enough). And I’ve now seen Tetsuo: The Iron Man, which also doesn’t make this list. Review HERE.

Enough blathering! Here are MY Top Ten Body Horror Movies counting down to my favorite:

10. TIE: From Beyond & Re-Animator

9. Basket Case

8. TIE: The Brood & Scanners

7. Night Of The Creeps

6. Videodrome

5. eXistenZ

4. Society

3. Slither

2. The Fly (1986)

1. The Thing (1982)

Honorable Mentions:
The Evil Dead
The Toxic Avenger
Altered States
Tetsuo: The Iron Man

I’ve Not Seen:

77 thoughts on “My Top Ten Body Horror Movies

  1. Ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew

    lol, there’s some good ones here, but god I can’t handle puss, warts, things growing on skin that shouldn’t be.

  2. So many ews!

    You know, I work in a lab and I’ve pretty much processed every single bodily fluid there is. I thus don’t get grossed out at all easily. However, show me anything oozing with pus and I want to dieeeee.

    great list, I think!

  3. Ha, I just reviewed Re-Animator. My list would have them much higher on the list, like 3 & 4 but I agree with all your choices.Except for maybe Basketcase, while it is funky body horror, I didn’t like it much as a movie or story.

    • Oh, Basket Case is pretty bad. I tried to watch it again recently. I just really liked the concept! So silly. But fun! πŸ™‚ Re-Animator is the one on this list that I could most do with re-watching – it’s been a long time since I saw it.

    • Thanks! I love these movies too. πŸ™‚ Oh, the hubby & I went to Slither in the cinema! There was one other couple in there & I think they were like “WTF?” afterwards. The hubby & I just looked at each other after it finished and went “Society!” πŸ™‚

    • Really?! Well, okay – some are a bit obscure but I’m very surprised that you haven’t seen The Thing! Don’t be scared off by the rest – The Thing is a fantastic film & far better than the rest on this list. You really should check it out! πŸ™‚ Then watch The Brood… Lol….

  4. Wow. These are some twisted movies. But tis the season, right. You picked some great cult classics. ReAnimator is the most fun one here. Gooey fun. Society looks messed up! Like Human Centipede meets Caligula. Videodrome is my pick for this list. Disturbing, provocative, and Cronenberg cool. Oh and I like your bit about Alien(s) hahaha… totally agree!

    I’d check Altered States before Tetsuo. States is intriguing with philosophical vs science elements. But Testsuo is frickin nast, but it -is- the grandfather of body horror. Thanks for this gory good article!

    • Ha! You’ve not seen Society? Well, I’ve ruined the ending now but… Watch it! It’s so damn boring until that final half hour then it’s like WTF?!?!? That’s the one, after The Fly, that got me intrigued with the whole body horror thing. Which is weird as I hate gore. Huh. But I do love Cronenberg. πŸ™‚

      • You’ve got me curious though. It definitely looks covered in WTF sauce… The Fly really got me into serious horror. Or what if? horror. That scenario could happen if that technology was invented. The transformation was orchestrated so well too. But Society? Just looks bonkers.

  5. ive surprisingly seen 3 of these. NOTC, The Thing and some crazy weird 80’s movie abt body orgies that someone recommended to me…cant remember who. I think his/her name was Chris, but I’m not sure πŸ™‚

    it goes woithout saying, that these kind of things really gross me out πŸ™‚

  6. Yaaasss The Fly and The Thing! Not so sure about all those others though…lol. Oh, and I do like Splice and The Evil Dead, too. πŸ˜€ Fun list, lady! Gross…but fun!! Haha.

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  9. Yeah……”The Thing” is the ONE! When the head sprouts legs and scuttles across the floor….(David Clennon’s (?) comment), “You have got to be f…..g kidding!” just about sums it up for me! A F…..G MASTERPIECE!
    Check out the special features on the DVD………Rob Bottin…….the special effects guy is just an incredible dude!

      • It is a must for any Sci-fi/Horror movie fan to watch the Special Features on “The Thing”! The Commentary track is fantastic with John Carpenter & Kurt Russell sprouting all sorts of classic stories and stuff. Kurt Russell is hilarious, especially when the above scene comes up……….he is quite hysterical!
        Rob Bottin is a really ‘out there’ dude and just quirky guy. He is so ‘into’ his Special Effects……..and remember, this was way before CGI came in, so the Effects are ‘real’!
        Trust me here………….you won’t be disappointed!

      • Lol! Okay – you’ve talked me into it. πŸ˜‰ I’ll dig the DVD out! Hopefully it has these special features…. Think I’ve probably had that DVD for a very long time.

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