A Very Brief History of Body Horror

Who doesn’t love watching an insane gross out scene where a person is transforming into a creature and you see their skin peel off their body, or their bones break to make them morph into something that doesn’t even resemble a human?

Yeah, you know those scenes! Where you curl your toes up and you don’t really want to watch what is happening to this person and if you were in that situation, a quick death would be better than whatever the character is going through!

That is Body Horror.

We recently watched and reviewed a 2015 Body Horror film called ‘Bite’ in which the main character gets bitten by an unknown bug whilst on her Bachelorette party and slowly turns into a bug-like creature. And it’s okay.

Not great not, terrible, but it has some fantastic body horror elements. And it got me thinking, what is the history of this disgusting sub genre of horror?

The term was coined back in the 80’s during what was a golden period for horror films and this sub genre of horror.

Probably the most early example of a body horror piece of work would be Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein which features a man made up of different body parts which would have been pretty terrifying back then, especially as it was written way back in 1818.

Frankenstein as seen in the 1931 Film

Moving quite a bit more forward in time, the 1950’s you have an emergence of a few body horror movies, such as ‘The Blob’ and the original version of ‘The Fly’, but no periods stand out more for body horror than the 1970 and 80s which saw the rise of Horror Films as one of the most popular genres of film for both decades.

With classic body horror films such as: Shivers, Rabid, Videodrome, The Fly, Re-animator, The Thing, Hellraiser, Scanners, and so many more good ones from this time period.

The Thing (1982)

And I’m sure if you are even somewhat familiar with the horror genre and any of those movies from above, I’m sure you have heard of David Cronenberg who many consider to the be originator of body horror through his films. Check out any of David Cronenberg’s works if you’re a little new to the genre and you’ll immediately understand what they’re about.

David Cronenberg with one of his creatures

But body horror has continued as a great sub-genre of horror right up until recently, with mixed success. A few recent examples of some body horror films include: Slither, Teeth, Cabin Fever and The Human Centipede.

But that’s it, it’s a weird, gross, excellent sub genre of horror and if you’re wanting to feel gross and sometimes almost vomit, make sure to check some out!

Peace out,


You can listen to the first episode of Ticket Stubs where we discuss the 2015 film ‘Bite’ by following the link below. Don’t forget to like and subscribe to stay up to date with all our movie reviews!

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