Ten-ish Goregirl-Friendly “Body Horror” Films Not Directed By David Cronenberg
What exactly is “body horror”? “Body horror” as I see it is simply the unnatural and generally grotesque altering of the human body through means of science, disease or parasite. It can be unleased by aliens, psychotic scientists, supernatual forces or mother nature. The term “body horror” has become synonymous with the work of director David Cronenberg. David Cronenberg has long been a favourite director and could handily overpower a top ten “body horror” list. As a personal challenge I decided to come up with ten Goregirl-friendly “body horror” flicks that were not directed by Mr. Cronenberg.
FROM BEYOND (1986)
Directed By: Stuart Gordon
What the hell is going on with the dude in the picture? There is a whole helluva lot going on in Stuart Gordon’s unsung 80s classic From Beyond! When science figures out how to stimulate a human’s sixth sense they open a portal to an unfriendly universe. From Beyond is definitely campy but it also has some great moments of intensity loaded with awesome creatures, amazing effects and gore galore! The body is grotesquely warped in Mr. Gordon’s From Beyond. He is most unkind to the human form.
BASKET CASE (1982)
Directed By: Frank Henenlotter
The titular Basket Case is Duane’s grotesque Siamese brother Belial who was separated from Duane when they were 12 years old. Now he resides in a basket and he is hungry for revenge! A great sleazy New York backdrop and one of the most unique and crazy films to come out of the 80’s! Basket Case is a fun and bizarre flick with wacky effects and a touch of gore. Awesome!
TETSUO (1989) & TETSUO 2: BODY HAMMER (1992)
Directed By: Shin’ya Tsukamoto
Tetsuo has a positively demented story full of sex, violence and metal fetish! Metal and the human body become intertwined making for some serious twisted images that are an absolute fascination to behold. Visually this film is exceptional. Stop motion animation is used to great effect making wires, cables and metal come to life. Fast forwarding, quick cuts, severe camera angles and black and white photography add to the films hysterical nightmarish feel. Tetsuo is crazy! If you dig it, you must also check out its sequel Tetsuo II: Body Hammer which I enjoyed just as much (if not more) than the original!
Directed By: Brian Yuzna
Billy is a privileged teenager of rich parents but has always felt like an outsider. He discovers a really disturbing secret about his family and their association with “the society” that is unnatural, unhygienic, unnerving and incestual. I think the picture I included gives you some indication of the “body horror” in Society. Holy crap! I wish I had watched this for my 80s feature because this definitely would have made the top ten for 1989. Wild effects and a wonderfully warped twist. Society is deliciously demented fun!
Directed By: György Pálfi
Taxidermia is three short stories connected by a common thread, in this case bloodline. Taxidermia isn’t really a horror film; in fact only its third segment offers up “body horror”; but it was too memorable not to include on this list! An unpleasant, grotesquely obese retired competitive eater is tended to by his son; an unsocial, sickly-looking taxidermist. Let the body horror begin! Taxidermia is a weird and wonderful film whose visuals are as striking and inventive as they are disturbing. A wonderfully unique, funny, and clever film with some insane visuals that will stay with you!
THE THING (1982)
Directed By: John Carpenter
Just look at that gorgeous bastard in the picture I included! One of the most beautifully grotesque human and creature mergings ever created for film! Perfect performances, amazing intensity and some of the most impressive effects ever created put The Thing in a class all its own. A complete lack of romance an overwhelming sense of isolation and enough paranoia and terror for two movies. The Thing is one of the best horror films ever made and the ultimate in body altering extravaganzas!
Directed By: Robert Schwentke
Two detectives chase a killer through the seedy underworld of body modification where one can literally sell the tattoo off their back. This is more of a thriller than a horror but the body modification theme really adds a twisted dimension to Tattoo that qualifies it for this list. One scene in particular jumps boldly to mind which is how it landed here. Tattoo is dark, intriguing, nasty and stylish.
THE SKIN I LIVE IN (2011)
Directed By: Pedro Almodóvar
Pedro Almodovar and body horror? Sure! Why not? This is the fucking ultimate body horror for the films central character! The Skin I Live In has a great story, it is well acted, has striking visuals and a fabulous score. I really dug this film! Antonio Banderas is unsettling and alluring all at once as Robert Ledgard and Elena Anayas is expressive and stunning as Vera Cruz. The Skin I Live In is oh so beautiful and oh so cruel.
INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1956/1978)
Directed By: Don Siegel (56) & Philip Kaufman (78)
I am giving this spot to both versions of Invasion of the Body Snatchers because I think they are equally brilliant! Director Philip Kaufman brings the story into the 70’s never losing the qualities that make it so damn effective. Both versions bring humour, commentary and interesting likable characters perfectly weaved into a story of dread and paranoia. The characters work their way through exhaustion trying to evade the unstoppable menace that threatens to clone and destroy them. Invasion of the Body Snatchers are two well-made, chilling sci-fi horror films with great performances, impressive suspense and brilliant finales.
TOKYO GORE POLICE (2008)
Directed By: Yoshihiro Nishimura
There are so many spectacular mutations in Tokyo Gore Police! I can’t say enough about the awesome effects in this film. The spurting blood is copious and there are many creative deaths thanks to the strange mutated appendages; including, biting, shooting, and chainsawing. Tokyo Gore Police does suffer from some pacing issues but what I enjoyed about this film easily outweighs it. Awesome mutants, gore, arterial spraying blood showers, and one super intense and determined Japanese woman make for an ass kicking good time!