List of body horror media

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Body horror, biological horror, organic horror or visceral horror is horror fiction in which the horror is principally derived from the unnatural graphic transformation, degeneration or destruction of the physical body.[1] Such works may deal with decay, disease, deformity, parasitism, mutation or mutilation. Other types of body horror include unnatural movements or the anatomically incorrect placement of limbs to create "monsters" from human body parts. David Cronenberg, Frank Henenlotter, Brian Yuzna, Stuart Gordon, Lloyd Kaufman, and Clive Barker are notable directors of this genre. The term body horror was coined with the "Body Horror" theme issue of the University of Glasgow film journal Screen (vol. 27, no. 1, January–February 1986), which contains several essays on the subject.

Notable films and television series

Film/TV series Year Notes
Akira 1988
Alien franchise 1979–present [2]
Altered States 1980
American Mary 2012
American Werewolf in London 1981
Annihilation 2018
Antiviral 2012
Audition 1999
Bad Taste 1987
Bite 2015
Black Swan 2010
Blade II 2002
The Blob 1958 including its 1972 sequel Beware! The Blob and 1988 remake The Blob
Body Melt 1993
The Brain 1988
Brain Damage 1988
Braindead 1992
Cabin Fever 2002
Carriers 2009
Clown 2014
Contracted 2013 and Contracted: Phase II, released in 2015
Deadgirl 2008
Dead Ringers 1988
Eraserhead 1977
Event Horizon 1997
Evil Dead franchise 1981–present except for 1992's Army of Darkness, which is a much less gruesome film than the others
eXistenZ 1999
The Fly 1958 and its 1959 and 1965 sequels, the 1986 remake, and the 1989 sequel to the remake[3]
From Beyond 1986
The Green Inferno 2013
Killer Condom 1996
The Hands of Orlac 1960
Hellraiser franchise 1987–present
Horns 2013
Hostel 2005 and its 2007 and 2011 sequels.
The Human Centipede (First Sequence) 2009 and its 2011 and 2015 sequels.
Ichi the Killer 2001 Extremely bloody and visceral, also includes sexual content
Idle Hands 1999
The Incredible Melting Man 1977 [2]
Invasion of the Body Snatchers 1978 as well as the 1956 original, Body Snatchers, and The Invasion
Jacob's Ladder 1990
The Kindred 1987
Leviathan 1989
Marianne 2011
May 2002
Night of the Creeps 1986
Parasyte 2014
Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead 2006
Possession 1981
Raw 2017
Rabid 1977
Re-Animator 1985 [2]
Repo! The Genetic Opera 2008
Repo Men 2010
Rosemary's Baby 1968
The Ruins 2008
Shivers 1975
The Skin I live In 2011
Slither 2006
Society 1989
Splinter 2008
Spring 2014
Starry Eyes 2014
Strangeland 1998
Street Trash 1987
The Stuff 1985
Taxidermia 2006 [4]
Teeth 2007
Tetsuo: The Iron Man 1989 and its 1992 and 2010 sequels.
Thanatomorphose 2012
The Thing 1982 and its 2011 prequel[2]
Thinner 1996
Tusk 2014
Under the Skin 2013
Upgrade 2018
Videodrome 1983 [3]
Virus 1999
The Void 2016

Notable writers

In his introduction to The Mammoth Book of Body Horror, the film director Stuart Gordon says that "Body Horror has been with us since long before there were movies". According to the summary of this anthology, the important writers of Body Horror are :

But others names could be quoted, according to Xavier Aldana Reyes in his book Body Gothic :

Notable graphic novels

Novel Year Description
Parasyte 1988–1995 wherein human bodies are taken over by parasitic extraterrestrial organisms.
The Invisibles 1994–2000 wherein the human converts of an invading interdimensional force are selected for "modification".
Ed the Happy Clown 1983–2006 wherein the titular character endures having the tip of his penis replaced with the head of Ronald Reagan.
Black Hole (comic) 1995–2005 wherein a sexually transmitted disease gives teenagers in a small town grotesque mutations.
Uzumaki 1998–1999 wherein humans distort into spirals.
Saya no Uta 2003–2013 wherein the main character Fuminori has agnosia as known as "meat-vision".
Animal Man (comic book) 2011–2014 The New 52 ongoing Animal Man features many body horror elements including grotesque mutations, disease and decomposition of animals, plants and humans alike.
Dorohedoro 1999–present People are alive due to magic after decapitation, fungi grow from people's bodies, etc.

Use in video games

In recent years, the subjects of human experimentation, medical research, and infection have played large roles in video games whose plots are heavily influenced by themes common in body horror.

Video Game Year Description
Amnesia: The Dark Descent & Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs 2010 & 2013 The gatherer enemies are deformed human-like monsters; their eyelids are cut off and their bottom jaw is mutilated and stretched down and attached to their chests leaving their mouths permanently open.
BioShock series 2007–2014 Both BioShock and BioShock 2 consist of enemies called Splicers, who were once normal humans that were heavily mutated and driven insane from a drug called ADAM, which they used to re-write their genetic codes to develop "psychic" powers such as telekinesis and pyrokinesis. The game also contains the iconic Big Daddy, which is a man whose skin has been removed, and whose organs have been grafted to the inside of a modified deep-sea diving suit. BioShock Infinite uses a similar premise, although in this case series of compounds called Vigors grant the player extraordinary abilities; however, unlike ADAM they are consumed orally rather than injected. In this game, the Big Daddy has been replaced by the Handyman, a human whose spinal cord, head, and heart have been connected to a steampunk robotic frame with minor effects like psychological trauma.
Bloodborne 2015
Dead Space series 2008–2013 The primary enemies of the series are called Necromorphs, which are mutated humans with protruding appendages, open wounds, and rotting flesh.
Fallout series 1997–present The fallout games take place in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, and as such, many of the enemies and species have physical deformities from the radiation.
Half-Life series 1998–2007 Parasitic monsters known as Headcrabs attach themselves to heads of people and cause them to develop mutations such as elongated claws and gaping jaws in their chests.
Inside 2016 An indie puzzle platformer developed by Playdead. Inside tells the story about a young boy as he struggles against evil forces trying to take over the world. The boy infiltrates a massive facility where scientists perform mind-control and underwater experiments on human bodies.
Outlast 2013 A first-person survival horror game in which an investigative journalist explores an asylum housing inmates displaying various degrees of bodily mutilation and/or mutation.
Resident Evil series 1996–present A pharmaceutical company uses a mutagenic T-Virus in order to produce monsters to sell as weapons. The most basic were zombie versions of whatever organism was infected or giant versions of insects. There are also human/insect and human/reptilian hybrids, malformed super-soldiers called "Tyrants", and various other mutants. Later games introduce, for example, more viruses and las plagas (an ancient parasite which take over animal nervous systems).
Parasite Eve series 1998–2010 The Squaresoft (now known as Square Enix) video game based on the 1996 Japanese SF horror novel of the same title, was released in 1998. The premise of both the novel and "cinematic RPG" being that the mitochondria, organelles from early aerobic bacteria that formed a symbiotic partnership with cells of most present-day multicellular eukaryotes, e.g. humans, are able to retain their separate identity as independent organisms in the form of cellular parasites. A dispersed intelligence, known as Eve, was able to take over the consciousness of certain individuals to make them reproduce and form an ultimate organism that will bring the downfall of humanity and other creatures alike.
The Thing 2002 A sequel to the 1982 film The Thing, player follows Captain Blake, a member of a U.S. Special Forces team sent to the Antarctic outpost featured in the film to determine what has happened to the research crew. The enemies encountered come in three main forms. "Scuttlers" are small Things formed from the limbs and appendages of infected personnel. "Walkers" are larger and much stronger than Scuttlers, and finally the Bosses are larger and much more powerful than Walkers.
Soma 2015 A SF survival horror game developed by Frictional Games.

Use in tabletop gaming

Traditional Game Year Description
Magic: The Gathering 1993–present The basis of Phyrexia, an antagonist faction composed of assimilatory biomechanical undead. The Scars of Mirrodin block in particular focuses on this theme, in which assimilation and infection are emphasised upon, and Phyrexia has branched into all colours of mana, introducing new forms of mutilation.

In the Shadows Over Innistrad block, the gothic horror inspired setting of Innistrad undergoes a transformation; at first marked by subtle mutations in both the human and the already-monstrous living residents, it gruesomely distorts many of the plane's inhabitants in the image of the invading cosmic being, Emrakul.

Warhammer 1983–present Mutation and bodily modification are emphasised upon in the Chaos factions.
Kingdom Death: Monster 2012–present Monsters contain extensive incorporation of human body parts.

See also

References

  1. ^ Definition of "body horror". CollinsDictionary.com. Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 11th Edition. Retrieved November 01, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d "Horror Film History — Horror Films in the 1980s". Horrorfilmhistory.com. Retrieved 2009-09-09. 
  3. ^ a b Thill, Scott (2009-01-04). "Cronenberg Drifts From Tech Horror, but Shocks Remain". Wired.com. Archived from the original on 2011-12-19. Retrieved 2009-09-09. 
  4. ^ "Taxidermia Review – Read Variety's Analysis Of The Movie Taxidermia". Variety.com. 2006-02-05. Retrieved 2009-09-09. 

External links

  • Inside Out: Body Horror
  • Internet Movie Database films listed under keyword body-horror
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