Body horror is one of the most uncomfortable subgenres of horror because you can’t escape it like you can with a haunted house or an evil spirit. You’re stuck with your body forever, for better or for worse.

The best body horror movies exploit that feeling of violation and use it to tell stories about man’s relationship with his own body. They remind us that we don’t control our destiny, and that if we aren’t careful, our bodies will go against us before we even know what’s happening.

It can be quite a visceral experience, and the implications of that are not lost on the horror genre.

While exploring themes such as existentialism, isolation and the unknown, there is no better way to illustrate these ideas than to show characters tormented by their body’s reaction to external stimuli.

A body horror film is a horror film in which the main feature of the plot consists of graphic, psychologically disturbing bodily transformations or mutilations.

These transformations often incorporate an element of science fiction, as seen in films like The Fly (1986) and The Thing (1982).

The genre is also known for its deep connections to the art of David Cronenberg, who has made some of the most memorable and terrifying body horror movies ever. His films, such as Videodrome (1983), Shivers (1975) and The Brood (1979), are credited with creating the subgenre.

Best Body Horror Movies

If the thought of having your body invaded by a parasite or a mutating virus makes you squirm, it’s time to explore some classic body horror movies.

Many people like this genre because it is a real treat for the eyes. From the first moment someone is infected, you can see their bodies being transformed and mutating in unimaginable ways.

The makeup and special effects are just fantastic and there are plenty of gross-out scenes, but don’t be afraid because these movies are actually very fun to watch.

So if you enjoy watching movies like The Fly, The Thing, Event Horizon or Hellraiser then you will probably like these movies too.

Let’s jump right in!

Taxidermia (2006)

Taxidermia is a 2006 Hungarian comedy film directed by György Pálfi. It stars Zoltán Mucsi, András Bálint, Ildikó Bódi, and Gabriella Lenzi.

It is notable for being one of the few Hungarian films to become a box-office success in foreign countries outside of the Eastern European region. It is also one of the first Hungarian features to use digital effects.

Ferenc (Ildikó Bódi) and his girlfriend Marianna (Gabriella Lenzi) have returned from an unsuccessful honeymoon in Paris to their apartment on top of a funeral parlor run by Ferenc’s father (Zoltán Mucsi).

While Ferenc’s father continues to run the funeral business, Ferenc has little interest in it and would rather search for a better-paying job – he even leaves his father’s business card with a local bank manager (András Bálint) who just happens to be Marianna’s ex-boyfriend.

In his attempts to get a new job, Ferenc stumbles upon an article about illegal taxidermy and decides that this could be the perfect way to earn some extra money.

Taxidermia [English Subtitled]
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • György Pálfi (Director) - György Pálfi (Writer) - Alexander Dumreicher-Ivanceanu (Producer)
  • (Playback Language)

Bad Biology (2008)

From the first moment, our lives are ruled by the biological clock. From the moment we are conceived until our last breath, we are in a race against time.

This is what makes Bad Biology so unique: it’s a movie about aging and death, but it’s not depressing at all. On the contrary, it’s uplifting and funny.

In his own unique style, director Leon de Winter takes us on an emotional roller coaster through some of the major milestones of life and death.

We meet our mother, who gives birth to us, and learn that she had her own mother; we take our first steps, fall in love and experience heartbreak; and finally we realize that life ends with death.

The film combines quirky humor with dry narration (in English) by the astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. In a playful manner, it confronts us with some of the most fundamental questions regarding life: Why do we age? What is death? And does it have to be this way?

The film touches upon many issues related to aging — from making sense of time (why do we age?) to coping with change (do we really have control over our bodies?) to coming to grips with impermanence (is life worth living?). 

Bad Biology
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Charlee Danielson, Anthony Sneed, Mark Wilson (Actors)
  • Frank Henenlotter (Director) - Frank Henenlotter (Writer) - R.A. Thorburn (Producer)
  • (Playback Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

Rabid (1977)

The film begins with a lengthy montage of newspaper and magazine headlines about the rabies epidemic, followed by a sequence of title cards reminding the audience that “this could happen to you!”. It then cuts to a man in hospital bed being given his third dose of the vaccine, which fails to produce an immune response.

He is given a fourth dose, but before it can take effect he mutilates himself and escapes from the hospital.

Policemen are unable to track the man down until it is too late: he has bitten the landlord of an apartment and infected him. The police close off the neighborhood and begin a door-to-door search.

Meanwhile, they find out that Steve (Allan Kolman), one of their own, has been bitten by the landlord; he is sent home under strict quarantine. His girlfriend Jan (Marianne McAndrew) becomes suspicious when he takes off his bandages.

When she starts asking questions about what happened, he smashes her in the face with an ashtray and bites her on her thigh. She blacks out from shock and drops dead when she reaches for an empty syringe on the table next to her bed.

Rabid explores how far victims will go in order to resist becoming rabid.

Rabid (2019)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Laura Vandervoort, Stephen McHattie, Benjamin Hollingsworth (Actors)
  • Jen Soska (Director) - Charles Dorfman (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

Body Melt (1993)

This 1993 low budget Australian horror film, directed by Philip Brophy, is one of the best and most original horror movies I have seen in a long time.

After a prologue in which a couple of youngsters find a dead body in their swimming pool, the film focuses on two brothers, Stephen and Terry, who work for an ambulance service (Terry is the driver). They are called to the home of a young woman who has apparently gone for a walk and stumbled into a patch of stinging trees.

The local doctor examines her and tells them that she has been terribly burned, but her injuries aren’t consistent with being exposed to tree sap. He asks them not to tell anyone about what they’ve seen and to keep it strictly confidential.

Terry agrees but Stephen can’t resist telling his wife Mandy, who is less than enthusiastic. When they return to their apartment building they are confronted by their neighbor Mrs Humboldt, who tells them that she has heard that someone died at the hospital where Stephen works.

They deny it but later overhear NPR news reports confirming that there was a fatality at the hospital where Stephen works. It’s not long before they begin seeing strange things: people covered in blood, people with body parts missing.

The film is brilliantly acted.

Body Melt
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Gerard Kennedy, Andrew Daddo, Ian Smith (Actors)
  • Philip Brophy (Director) - Philip Brophy (Writer) - Rod Bishop (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

Eraserhead (1977)

Eraserhead is a 1977 American avant-garde horror film written and directed by filmmaker David Lynch. Shot in black-and-white, Eraserhead is Lynch’s first feature-length film, coming after several short works.

The film was produced with the assistance of the American Film Institute during the director’s time studying there.

The film was shot in approximately five weeks, and was entered into the 1977 Cannes Film Festival, where it received positive reviews.

On February 20, 2013, Lynch’s own distribution company, “David Lynch Limited”, released a new restoration of the film for a special one-night showing at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).

This new print features new sound design and music not heard in any previous release of Eraserhead. It also features newly recorded narration by actor Jack Nance, who had previously portrayed Henry Spencer in the film.

This version of Eraserhead is unique from all other releases due to this new audio that accompanies it.


The original opening title sequence for the film featured an animated segment featuring the spermatozoon that would eventually become Henry’s child in full animation before cutting to live action shots.

This opening has never been publicly shown but can be found as a special feature on various DVD releases.

  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Jack Nance, Charlotte Stewart, Allen Joseph (Actors)
  • David Lynch (Director) - David Lynch (Writer) - David Lynch (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

The Brood (1979)

The Brood is, at heart, a film about relationships. More specifically, the breakdown of relationships and how they can be put back together.

It’s a very smart take on the genre and has some very interesting things to say about love, marriage and family life. The film is also very well-acted, with both Oliver Reed and Samantha Eggar putting in compelling performances.

While the film has a fairly loose structure, it still manages to keep you interested throughout.

The story of Nola and her children takes centre-stage for much of the running time but there are some great subplots thrown in there which give more depth to the story as well.

The Brood is a classic of its genre and a must for fans of psychological horror films.Billed as another in a series of “psychological thrillers” from director David Cronenberg, The Brood is, in a word, weird.

A psychiatrist (Oliver Reed) has a theory that some mental disorders are the result of suppressed anger. An experiment to prove his point involves removing the children from a woman suffering from multiple personality disorder and treating them with affection. The results are not what anybody would have expected.

The Brood
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Oliver Reed, Samantha Eggar, Art Hindle (Actors)
  • David Cronenberg (Director) - David Cronenberg (Writer) - Pierre David (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)


Best Body Horror Movies

What Are body horror movies?

Body horror can be defined as a type of horror that focuses on the graphic destruction and/or degeneration of the body.

The cause may be natural, supernatural, or technological. Body horror movies are effective because they focus on the universal fears of illness and physical degeneration.

A body horror movie doesn’t just have gore or gross-out scenes in it. It’s more about the way the film makes you feel emotionally than anything else, although there’s nothing wrong with a good gross-out scene either.

Body horror movies are about making you question your own humanity and your place in the universe, and they do that by doing things to the human body that aren’t normally done.

Whether it’s by covering it in sores and blisters, ripping it apart, turning into a completely different species, or completely falling apart in some way, the body itself is always central to the experience of watching a movie like this.



Re-Animator (1985)

The film begins with Dan Cain’s niece, Megan Halsey, as she arrives at Miskatonic University Medical School in Arkham, Massachusetts.

She joins resident “psychic surgeon” Dr. Hill for an autopsy of the body of a young woman who appears to have been murdered by a medical student .

The case is turned over to Dan’s boss, Dean Halsey, who assigns Dan and Megan to re-autopsy the body and discover clues to confirm that the student was murdered.

Upon their arrival at the morgue, they discover the dissection has been conducted by a second student, Dr. Carl Hill, who is actually Jeffrey Combs’ recurring character Herbert West (see Re-Animator (1985) for more information).

Dr. Hill had discovered that the young woman he was trying to autopsy was still alive. He had managed to revive her but she died shortly afterward.

He then tried to revive her again but this time she revived as a zombie-like creature and attacked him before he could kill her again.

When Dr. Hill is found in a catatonic state suffering from severe brain damage, Dan becomes suspicious of his condition and begins an investigation into what really happened in the morgue with Megan’s help.

  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Barbara Crampton (Actors)
  • Stuart Gordon (Director) - Stuart Gordon (Writer) - Brian Yuzna (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

Bride Of Re-Animator (1990)

I’m not really sure what to make of this movie. It’s a sequel to the original Re-Animator, which was a classic.

I didn’t see the first one and have no idea how it compares with this one. The effects are pretty good, the acting is all right, but it has a pretty dumb plot.

There’s some overuse of camera tricks like slow motion and freeze frames that get annoying. They also use sound effects for when people are getting hit with axes or whatever instead of going with the usual squishy noises.

The second half of the movie is way better than the first half, but overall it’s probably not worth watching unless you’ve seen the original and liked it (and you would have to be a real weirdo to like that one).

Watch Bride of Re-Animator (1990) Full Movie Online Free.

Bride of Re-Animator
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott (Actors)
  • Brian Yuzna (Director) - Rick Fry (Writer) - Hidetaka Konno (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

Basket Case (1982)

Basket Case is a 1982 independent horror film directed by Frank Henenlotter. It stars Kevin Van Hentenryck, who also wrote the screenplay with Henenlotter.

The plot concerns a young man, Duane Bradley (Van Hentenryck), who carries around his conjoined twin brother, Belial, in a wicker basket.

Belial is deformed and mentally retarded, and possesses telepathic powers. When they arrive at their destination, Belial is capable of assuming command over the brother’s body and uses it to hunt down and kill the doctors who separated them against their will.

The film was shot on location in New York City for $60,000. Henenlotter later said he was inspired by the low budget films of Herschell Gordon Lewis, in particular Blood Feast (1963).

In this darkly comic tale, a young man named Duane seeks revenge against the surgeon who separated him from his conjoined brother Belial during childhood.

Along with his best friend, Hugh, Duane tracks down the doctor (played by Kevin Van Hentenryck) and then spirits him away to a remote farmhouse.

There, he plans to hold the doctor captive until Belial can be surgically reattached. But the operation does not go as planned, and soon all three men are locked in a strange alliance that neither of them fully understands.

Basket Case
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Kevin Van Hentenryck, Beverly Bonner, Diana Browne (Actors)
  • Frank Henenlotter (Director) - Frank Henenlotter (Writer) - Edgar Ievins (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

Basket Case 2 (1990)

So where are the basket cases? They are, in fact, all around us. They’re your neighbors, your co-workers and even you.

You see, we all have a basket case somewhere deep inside of us. The basket case is our inner child, or rather that part of our inner child that has been stuffed into the basket and hidden under the bed for many years.

Treatment for the Basket Case includes setting boundaries and limits, helping the child feel safe enough to come out of their basket. Perhaps most important is to begin acknowledging their presence in our lives.

By doing this we begin to accept ourselves as we really are without guilt or shame. This allows us to then relax and have fun with the child again which in turn helps keep them from becoming a basket case in adulthood.

It’s a comedy but it has moments of horror, romance, and drama. It’s based on a true story and it took place in New York City.

The film was directed by Frank Henenlotter and the writer was Frank Henenlotter as well. It stars Kevin Van Hentenryck and Terri Susan Smith.

The film is about Duane Bradley, who was born with an underdeveloped body due to a rare glandular disorder, which causes him to be mistaken for an infant.

His mother keeps him in her room in a basket until he is eighteen years old, where he then escapes to seek revenge on those who were responsible for his handicap, which leads him to meet Frankenstein (his nickname). Together they go on a rampage against the doctors that did this to Duane Bradley.

Basket Case 2
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Kevin Van Hentenryck, Judy Grafe, Annie Ross (Actors)
  • Frank Henenlotter (Director) - Frank Henenlotter (Writer) - James Glickenhaus (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)


Ready to learn about some other Film Movements & Film History?