10 Body Horror Movies That Broke All The Rules

The most inventive body horror movies! Hellraiser, Videodrome and more!

Tokyo Gore Police
Sony Pictures

As popular as horror movies are, it goes without saying that some subgenres are more accessible and approachable than others, with some only appealing to a smaller niche of gore hounds.

One such subset is the body horror movie, which is typically defined by a focus on the human body being altered, mutated, and otherwise reconfigured for our squeamish entertainment.

This can happen any number of ways - an alien infection, a scientific experiment gone wrong, or interdimensional sadomasochists - but in each case human beings end up being transformed far from their original composition.

Body horror remains a niche subgenre not only because of its wilfully, viscerally disgusting content, but also the practical challenges of executing mutation effects on a budget.

Nevertheless, the stronger and more memorable entries into body horror are fondly remembered for how creatively they offered up a vision of bodily manipulation, whether splattered with gore or not.

Though body horror hasn't ever been defined by a particularly strict set of "rules," these 10 films nevertheless defied expectations to deliver ground-breaking, fiercely original, and completely hideous entries into the cult subgenre...

10. The Thing (1982)

Tokyo Gore Police
Universal Pictures

John Carpenter's The Thing has endured as perhaps the gold standard for body horror for almost four decades for one reason above all else - its groundbreaking practical creature effects.

Nothing speaks to The Thing's tectonic impact more than the fact it was largely rubbished by reviewers at the time of its release, who criticised the gore and mutation effects as excessively nauseating and even distracting from the story.

Quite simply, critics and audiences - who, shame on them, largely ignored the film - just weren't ready for The Thing's creatively revolting effects in 1982, such that it only became recognised as a genre gem in the years that followed.

But The Thing is also unique in the body horror genre given the context of its creation: academics have written extensively about the film serving as an allegory - whether intentional or not - of the '80s AIDS epidemic.

With the film's all-male characters intensely distrustful of one another and paranoid that their own bodies could fall foul of an invisible infection, the parallels speak for themselves.


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