What are the best body horror movies of all time? Of all the genres of film available to us, the horror movie genre is by far the most diverse and expansive, with all sorts of gruesome sub-categories on offer. From slasher movies to ghost movies, and everything in between, if you like the thrill of being frightened, there’s something for everyone in the horror world.
The concept of a body horror movie is a fascinating one, a sub-genre that allows filmmakers to well and truly explore what it means to be human, to test the limits of squeamish viewers, and to experiment with incredible technologies and special effects.
In our rundown of the best body horror movies of all time, we’ve got some old movies and some new movies, an animated movie, and a most delectable offering from France, too. So dive on in and enjoy this veritable feast of flesh and bones, if you dare.
The best body horror movies of all time:
- The Fly
- An American Werewolf in London
- The Thing
- Under the Skin
- Event Horizon
The old Universal monster movies are full of absolutely classic takes on some of the most iconic figures in horror, and this movie based on the book by Mary Shelley is right up there as one of the studio’s finest pictures.
Boris Karloff gives a stunning performance as the tragically misunderstood science experiment in a surprisingly emotional story. It may not have the same shock value as others on this list, but Frankenstein remains a chilling and cruel take on the body horror genre.
The Fly (1986)
You cannot talk about body horror without mentioning David Cronenberg. The filmmaker has dallied in the disgusting many times, but perhaps none of his films are more impactful and popular than this ‘80s movie hit.
Before starring in the Jurassic Park movies, Jeff Goldblum dived into a time machine and became the unwitting victim of a most unfortunate accident. The evolution of Seth Brundle from a man to a literal giant fly is one of cinema’s most grotesque transformations, but it’s utterly captivating nonetheless.
Julia Ducournau is one of the most promising new directors in the film industry today, and luckily for us, she has a penchant for body horror. Her debut, the gripping thriller movie Raw, may signal Ducournau’s first steps into the genre, but it’s her sophomore effort Titane where the filmmaker really embraces the bizarre and bloody brilliant nature of body horror.
This erotic, brain-melting story tackles gender identities and the idea of found family, while also showcasing some of the most searing and graphic imagery you’re likely to see in a film in recent years.
An American Werewolf in London (1981)
This enthralling flick may feel more like a comedy movie at times, but when the moon comes out and the transformation begins, there’s no doubting its body horror credentials.
A pioneering moment in the art of special effects makeup, An American Werewolf in London’s jaw-dropping creature design work was so impressive that it prompted the Academy to introduce the Oscar for Best Makeup and Hairstyling.
The Thing (1982)
John Carpenter may be better known for his work in creating the Halloween franchise, but his finest hour is arguably in bringing to life this remake of The Thing.
This is not just one of the best body horrors ever made, it’s up there as one of the best movies of all time, period. An intriguing and mysterious story are underpinned by remarkable, nightmare-inducing practical effects.
Under the Skin (2013)
An A24 movie about Scarlett Johansson luring men into an abstract abyss in the heart of Glasgow should be enough to sell you on this one, but did we mention she’s also an alien?
Under the Skin is deeply unsettling and atmospheric, with some truly mind-blowing moments of reflection on the very essence of what it means to be human. We love our body horror with an extra dose of existential dread, don’t you?
The Hellraiser franchise is a strange beast, with Cenobites like Pinhead emerging from a dangerous little puzzle box called the Lament Configuration to wreak havoc on our world. The Hellraiser movies are absolutely mental, but they’re bloody good fun too.
The first offering from this series of crazy movies is downright disgusting at times, with plenty of flesh and blood on show. If you want to see skinless corpses, faces being torn apart, and gruesome monsters, Hellraiser has infinite pleasures to show you.
Anything Daddy David can do, Brandon Cronenberg can do too. He may have some way to go to match the career of his father, but Brandon sure does show promising signs with this criminally underrated entry into the body horror genre.
Cronenberg combines science fiction movie elements with twisted and violent horror, brought to life by scintillating performances from Andrea Riseborough and Christopher Abbott, in one of the best movies of 2020.
Set in a dystopian Neo-Tokyo, Akira is essentially a very dark superhero movie about a kid who mutates after a government experiment goes drastically wrong. The imagery in this film is at times super cool, and at others, utterly grim, but we love it all the same.
Event Horizon (1997)
This ‘90s movie is basically a ghost story set in space, as a crew on board a spaceship meddle with the concept of black holes and pay the ultimate price.
There’s plenty of gnarly moments in this cult hit, and the best part is, you don’t even need eyes to enjoy the journey – or that’s what Sam Neill tells us, anyway.
Well, there you have it, a list of the most depraved and disgusting films on the planet. If you need more horror in your life, check out our list of the best vampire movies of all time, or the best alien movies of all time.