Birmingham, West Midlands, UK

#FridayFright A Look Into The World Of Body Horror

Body popping!

Happy Friday fright you lovely bunch of freaks! This Friday fright is dedicated to the deconstruction of the human form, as we take a look at the “Body horror” genre. 

Drenched in gore, despair and littered with psychological dread body horror films often depict the decay or metamorphosis of the human body in extreme detail and can make for an uncomfortable watch.With that in mind try and hold on to your stomach (and everything else!) and check some of the most notorious and tragically underrated films in horror!

At the breaking, melting heart of this surreal sub-genre is David Cronenberg (who's frequent collaborations with David lynch and overall influence on cinema demands its own chapter of Friday Fright!). There are so many of Cronenberg's films I could recommend, both in and out of the horror genre, but since we're here for some anatomy annihilation lets start with 1983's “VIDEODROME”.
Both written and directed by Cronenberg this film certainly wasn’t his first venture in the body horror genre, with both “SHIVERS” and “RABID” previously (also definitely worth checking out!),

“VIDEODROME” delivers on so many levels with fantastic performances by the always awesome James Wood and a smouldering Debbie Harry the film manages to be both visually and psychologically very unsettling. A disturbing tale of the physical and literal blurring of the lines of man and technology with themes still eerily relevant today (the hacked satellite T.V station mirrored today by the shady websites of the dark web) it contains some uneasy ideas and some uneasier scenes! Starting with hacked torture to split stomachs used as like an old V.H.S machine couple with Woods overall mutation and a literal explosive ending “VIDEODROME” is a film that will stay with you for a while, for good or bad!

Following on the man meets machine theme the 1989 Japanese cyberpunk film “TETSUO: THE IRON MAN” may appeal more to your inner hipster. Shot in black and white and mixing live action and stop motion animation this cult favourite manages to be both graphic and beautiful shot on a D.I.Y budget. Following a narrators modification as he slowly turns to a machine from the inside out the films culminates in an epic video gamesque battle!

 If you check out “TETSUO. .” (which we strongly recommend do!) you may very feel a little . . . trippy. So lets just keep going! Ken Russell’s “ALTERED STATES” explores a more conscious and psychological premise. An adaptation on the novel by Paddy Chayefsky (based itself on John Lilly s experiences), it details a psychologists theory about consciousness and reality. With combination of sensory deprivation tanks and hallucinogenic drugs we're taken on a journey that blurs fantasy and reality and we see our protagonist literally D-evolve on screen. A dark brooding film that flirts with concepts of “mad” science, addiction and a yearning for the unknown make it defiantly worthy of this list! 

I couldn't do a blog on body horror with out mentioning the “THE FLY”. Cronenberg once again here! You see why this dude needs his own Friday Fright, yeah!? I've also mentioned this 1986 classic in a blog called “Re-animated” from last year all about the horror remake if you want to check out more drunken ramblings!? I'm sure most of you have seen this film, so I wont say to much, but if you need a reason to check it out there's a shed load! Geoff “motherf'in” goldblum being the a huge one! Because seriously who doesn’t love the “'Blum”!? Add the surprisingly tactful love story back drop between Geena Davis and a giant fly, throw in some memorable, or rather difficult to forget scenes, (brundle baby, acid vomit, hardcore arm wrestling anyone?!) makes this one of the more successful and mainstream offerings of the genre.

So what makes these films so unsettling? There’s real visible enemy, The idea that your own body is capable of turning on you and itself is very upsetting. In slasher films there's a boogie man to fight, thrills, excitement and the optimism that maybe you could be the survivor if you were in that situation. Body horror films are a bleaker genre often with strong moral or social messages at their core with the (immense) gore mainly a by product of a situation out of the protagonists control and at the mercy of their traitorous cells! With that in mind, those factors make body horror can produce some of the most challenging and compelling films you will ever see.

Til next Friday Fright Creeps!



  1. Oh some of these images turn my stomach!! I love horror but not into gore too much. Fab blog post xxxxxx


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