One of the most terrifying sub-genre of horror is the body horror film. I’m one of those people who freaks out if I notice anything off-kilter with my body, so the imagery in body horror films are particularly frightening to me. There are a plethora of things that could happen to you if you find yourself trapped in a body horror film, and the following 10 things are some of the worst!
Lose Your Fingernails (The Fly and Contracted)
Why is it always the fingernails? Does anyone immediately look away from the screen the second the fingernails start peeling off? The sound effects behind them are just gross!
Grow a Phallic Stinger (Rabid and Slither)
One of the more unrealistic symptoms on this list is growing a phallic stinger. Whether it be one from your armpit (David Cronenberg’s Rabid), or two from your stomach (James Gunn’s Slither), it can’t be a pretty feeling. That being said, it would be a pretty good defense mechanism.
Have Vines Crawl Around Inside You (The Ruins)
No. Just no. The mere thought of having a living organism crawl around under your skin is enough to….get under your skin (sorry). The Ruins is an extremely underrated film (it’s not perfect, but it is one of the best evil plant movies in existence and it’s based on a fantastic novel) that works as well as it does because of the paranoia it instills within the viewer. Have you ever known someone with lice? Or scabies? Or had a dog with fleas? You immediately start scratching thinking that the little bastards are all over you. That is the effect that The Ruins has on you.
Get Raped and Impregnated By the Devil (Rosemary’s Baby)
In what is arguably one of the most horrifying scenes ever put on film, young Rosemary Woodhouse (Mia Farrow) is raped by Satan himself. This one doesn’t really need any further explanation, but suffice it to say it’s absolutely despicable.
Be Reborn Out of Your Mother’s Vagina (Dead Alive)
Sure, Peter Jackson’s 1992 gorefest is plenty silly, but it’s still incredibly disgusting. I’ve gone into my issues with pus in the past, but Lionel’s (Timothy Balme’s) rebirth out of his mother’s enlarged vagina-stomach takes the cake in terms of grotesquerie. Blech.
Shave Your Skin Off (Cabin Fever)
Other than the leg-fingering scene, no moment is more cringe-worthy in Eli Roth’s Cabin Fever than the scene when Marcy (Cerina Vincent) runs her razor up her leg only to peel layers of skin off, revealing a bunch of open sores. No thank you!
Grow a VCR Vagina in Your Stomach (Videodrome)
One of the more bizarre entries on this list is courtesy (again) of David Cronenberg. Truth be told, I’m one of those people who just doesn’t “get” Videodrome, but that stomach VCR vagina still sent chills up my spine. Just imagine shoving a VHS into that orifice and wiggling in around in there.
Grow Teeth in Your Vagina (Teeth)
Full disclosure: I’m a man and thus do not have a vagina, so I can’t really imagine what this would feel like, but I can’t imagine it feels good. Granted, if you’ve seen the movie Teeth, you probably already know that Dawn (Jess Weixler) puts her “gift” to good use, but it could still be a fairly unreliable superpower. What if you were having angry sex? Accidents can happen!
Penis Turning Into a Giant Drill (Tetsuo: The Iron Man)
Now this is something that I can imagine. Maybe not the whole “slowly morph into a machine” part, but the sheer thought of my penis turning into a large drill is certainly horrifying. The sound effects and foley work of grinding metal are enough to make you cover your ears, but when the lead character rapes his girlfriend to death with his drill-penis, it almost becomes too much to handle.
Chest Morphs Into a Set of Jaws (The Thing)
I had to save the best for last, didn’t I? In what is arguably the greatest body horror film of all time, The Thing also features one of the most shocking set pieces when Norris (Charles Hallahan) appears to suffer a heart attack and Dr. Copper (Richard Dysart) attempts to revise him. Suddenly, Norris’ chest cavity opens up and becomes a giant mouth, chewing off Copper’s hands. On a list of things of awful things that can happen to your body in a body horror film, this one ranks pretty high!
What are some other gross-out moments from body horror films that have made you turn away from the screen? What is that one thing that you just wouldn’t be able to handle if it happened to you? Let us know in the comments below!