8 gross body horror movies you won't be able to look away from

Whether you love it or hate it, there's something about body horror that makes it hard to look away.
On the set of The Fly
On the set of The Fly / Sunset Boulevard/GettyImages

The term "body horror" was first coined in the '80s and since has become a popular subgenre in the horror space, depicting excess gore and graphic body mutilation in ways that can make a casual movie fan feel queasy. Whether it's through extreme violence, disease, or perverse experiments, not all body horror movies look the same. And not all of them are even scary.

I'm a fan of this subgenre for its willingness to go where many others won't, plus the incredible practical effects most movies use to depict the damage done to a body are truly impressive. Two of my favorite body horror directors include the most influential name in the subgenre, the one and only David Cronenberg, as well as a newer filmmaker named Julia Ducournau. As such, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention at least a couple of their titles on this list.

If you dare, check out these wonderfully disgusting body horror movies that are sure to leave an impression.

The Fly

Honestly, 1986's The Fly remake is the body horror movie. Directed by the king of the subgenre Cronenberg, this is one of the best horror movies of all time, not just body horror. Starring Jeff Goldblum as a scientist named Seth Brundle, The Fly shows us what happens when extreme passion and dedication to get something right ultimately goes wrong, changing the characters' lives forever. While trying to invent a way to teleport between two pods, Seth uses flies in his experiment while also striking up a romance with a journalist named Ronnie Quaife (Geena Davis). Seth's mad obsession is endearing to Ronnie at first, but when he takes it too far, she's left trying to pick up the pieces.

Ronnie peeling off his fingernails, excreting an unknown goo, and literally falling apart as he turns into the "Brundlefly" are moments you'll never be able to forget. And as gross as The Fly is, it's also very endearing and humorous at times. It's an all-around fantastic movie that any film buff should watch. It also just happens to feature extreme body horror!

WHERE TO WATCH: Available to rent on Amazon Prime Video for $3.79, Apple TV for $3.99, Google Play Movies for $3.79, Fandango at Home/Vudu for $3.99


Ducournau's 2021 film Titane totally blew me away when I saw it in theaters. I wasn't really sure what to think at first; there's so much to process and digest. The film, which is described as both body horror and psychological drama, follows a serial killer named Alexia (Agathe Rousselle) who has an unexpected, erotic connection to cars. Bizarre occurrences begin happening, such as motor oil excreting from her body and an unexpected pregnancy, and when she realizes she's wanted for murder, she goes on the run. Alexia takes on a new identity as she pretends to be a man who disappeared a decade earlier as a child.

Titane goes places you definitely will never expect, and scenes like a character breaking their nose on the side of a sink or trying to give themselves an abortion might make just about anyone squeamish.

WHERE TO WATCH: Streaming on Hulu, available to rent on Amazon Prime Video for $3.99, YouTube for $2.99, Fandango at Home/Vudu for $2.99, Google Play Movies for $2.99, Apple TV for $3.99

The Thing

Another entry on this list that's considered one of the best horror movies of all time is John Carpenter's The Thing, which was released in 1982. The sci-fi horror is based on the novella Who Goes There? written by John W. Campbell, following a group of researchers living in Antarctica who discover extraterrestrial life. Haunted by the threat of "the Thing," the crew must fight to survive as the creature preys on them. Kurt Russell leads the cast, which also includes familiar faces such as Keith David and Richard Dysart.

Though The Thing received negative reviews when it was released, it later amassed a cult following and has had an incredible influence on both the horror and sci-fi genres. The practical effects are just awesome, and that chest defibrillation scene is truly iconic.

WHERE TO WATCH: Available to rent on Amazon Prime Video for $3.79, Google Play Movies for $3.79, Apple TV for $3.99, YouTube for $3.99, Fandango at Home/Vudu for $3.99

The Human Centipede

Now, let me make this clear — I am not saying all of the titles on this list are amazing movies, I'm just saying in terms of the grossest, these are at the top. Case in point: The Human Centipede. I'm sorry, I don't mean to totally rag on this movie or the series, but they really only serve one purpose, and that's to shock viewers. The first movie was written and directed by Tom Six and came out in 2009. I distinctly remember downloading this movie onto my computer in high school to see what all the fuss was about, and yeah, it's a pretty nasty one.

If you're unfamiliar with the premise, The Human Centipede takes place in Germany and follows an experimental surgeon named Dr. Josef Heiter (Dieter Laser) who drugs and kidnaps tourists for a disturbing procedure. As part of an experiment, he surgically sews his victims together, connecting them from their mouths to their buttocks to make, as the name suggests, a human centipede. The doctor becomes increasingly frustrated as his victims disobey his rules and he faces trouble when detectives come looking for them.

No, this isn't the best movie ever, but if you're into body horror, you might as well check it out.

WHERE TO WATCH: Streaming on AMC+, Philo, Sling TV with the IFC Films Unlimited add-on or AMC+ add-on, YouTube with the IFC Films add-on, Amazon Prime Video with the AMC+ add-on, available to rent on Google Play Movies for $2.99, Fandango at Home/Vudu for $2.99, Apple TV+ for $3.99


Tusk is a horror-comedy, but that doesn't mean it's any less gross. The 2014 film was written and directed by Kevin Smith and follows a driven podcaster team who decide to interview a kid who's gone viral online. One part of the podcasting duo, Wallace (Justin Long) travels to Canada for the episode, but when the interview falls through, he pursues another opportunity. Wallace meets a retired seaman named Howard Howe who tells him about a walrus who saved his life, Mr. Tusk.

As Wallace spends more time with Howard, he realizes he's in danger but it's too late for him to escape. Howard wants to turn Wallace into his new Mr. Tusk and there's not much Wallace can do to fight it. Body modification and mutilation can be incredibly creepy, as is with Tusk. However, what sets this movie apart from many others in the body horror subgenre is that it's also pretty funny at times and is a twisted dark comedy.

WHERE TO WATCH: Streaming on Amazon Prime Video with the Cinemax add-on, Hulu with the Cinemax add-on, YouTube with the Cinemax add-on, available to rent on Fandango at Home/Vudu for $2.99, Apple TV+ for $3.99, Google Play Movies for $3.59


Another horror-comedy on the list is Teeth, a 2007 movie written and directed by Mitchell Lichtenstein. Following a religious teenager named Dawn (Jess Weixler), we watch as her life gets turned upside down as she discovers she might have a condition called "vagina dentata." To put it plainly, she has teeth in her vagina that will hurt anyone who tries to violate her sexually. As Dawn tries to navigate her new reality, she realizes that this condition actually gives her a lot of power, and it could be a good thing.

The cheesiness of the dialogue throughout the movie makes for a thoroughly comedic watch, while the feminist themes ground it as a pretty awesome movie.

WHERE TO WATCH: Streaming on Tubi, Amazon Prime Video, Plex, available to rent on YouTube for $3.59, Apple TV+ for $3.99, Google Play Movies for $3.99, Fandango at Home/Vudu for $3.99


I love so many of Cronenberg's movies that it was hard for me to choose which second title to include for this list, but in terms of body horror, Videodrome is a fantastic example of when it really works. The 1983 film follows Max Renn (James Woods) the head of a TV station who encounters and soon becomes obsessed with a snuff film broadcast. Max does research to learn more about the broadcast, called Videodrome, as a radio host he starts seeing seeks out an audition for the show. Max is determined to get to the bottom of the show, but what he finds is beyond what he could ever imagine.

Multiple murders and a transformation from Max later, and you might leave Videodrome feeling like you have more questions than answers. It's certainly an ambiguous film that challenges the viewer, making for an experience you might never forget.

WHERE TO WATCH: Available to rent on Amazon Prime Video for $3.59, YouTube for $3.59, Google Play Movies for $3.59, Apple TV+ for $3.99, Fandango at Home/Vudu for $3.99


Another body horror film written and directed by Ducournau on the list is Raw, a 2016 coming-of-age story following a student named Justine (Garance Marillier) during her first year at veterinary school. Justine is a vegetarian but is forced to eat raw meat during a grueling hazing ritual which results in suspected food poisoning. It doesn't take long, however, for Justine to develop a craving for meat, and while she tries to hide it at first, she eventually realizes she has a taste for human flesh, too.

Raw goes from 0 to 100 very quickly, making for an unpredictable watch that'll leave you gasping. Marillier, who also has a small part in Titane, is great in the leading role, and while the story is also really strong, the body horror in this movie is an example to remember. From the curious consumption of a finger to a leg being eaten like a meal, Raw doesn't shy away from graphic depictions of cannibalism.

WHERE TO WATCH: Available to rent on YouTube for $3.99, Google Play Movies for $3.99, Apple TV+ for $3.99, Fandango at Home/Vudu for $3.99

While these eight films are some of the grossest body horror titles out there worth watching, there's a long list of others that I'd recommend, too. Check out a handful of honorable mentions and where to watch them:

Honorable mentions:

  • Crimes of the Future (2022, Cronenberg) - Streaming on Hulu
  • Re-Animator (1985, Stuart Gordon) - Streaming on Tubi
  • In My Skin (2002, Marina de Van) - Not available to stream
  • Goodnight Mommy (2014, Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala) - Streaming on Tubi, Pluto TV, PLEX, Amazon Prime Video
  • Slither (2006, James Gunn) - Available to rent on Amazon Prime Video and other platforms

Sit back, relax, — but maybe don't pop any popcorn! — and check out these memorable body horror movies.

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