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Global Horror and Monster Cinema: Body Horror Films

This is a resource guide for academic research in the global horror and monster cinema field of study.

Introduction to Body Horror

Body horror films are characterized by the graphic mutilation or destruction of the human body. These films are often explicit and gory in nature. Body Horror deals with mutilation, decay, parasitism, and even unnatural body composition. 

Below is a listing of ten films in this genre from the global cinema community. This list is not all encompassing nor does it endeavor to rank these as the ten best body horror films. 

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They Came From Within AKA Shivers

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They Came From Within is a mad scientist film where the scientist in question creates a parasite that increases its host's sexual desire. This is also how the parasite spreads its infection to new hosts. Fortunately for the parasite, the scientist started his experiment in a high-rise condominium so there are plenty of subjects ready to fall victim to the increasingly spreading infection. 

Writer/Director: David Cronenberg

Stars: Paul Hampton, Joe Silver, Lynn Lowry

Year: 1975

Country: Canada

Eyes Without a Face

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Eyes Without a Face is a film featuring a brilliant surgeon looking to repair his daughters horribly disfigured face. He is a man driven by deep guilt because he was at fault in the accident that harmed his daughter. To achieve his end he kidnaps young women to use as supplies for his face transplant experiments. However, once his daughter becomes aware of his methods everything changes for the surgeon and his family.

Director: Georges Franju

Writer: Jean Redon (novel) and Pierre Boileau (adaptation)

Stars: Pierre Brasseur, Alida Valli, Juliette Mayniel

Year: 1960

Country: France

Frankenstein's Army

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Frankenstein's Army features an evil Nazi scientist who is tasked with using Victor Frankenstein's medical journal to create am army of unstoppable soldiers. At the same time members of the Russian army are tasked with either destroying this research, or bringing the scientist back to work on their side. 

Director/Writer: Richard Raaphorst

Stars: Robert Gwilym, Hon Ping Tang, Alexander Mercury

Year: 2013

Country: Netherlands


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Tusk features a unique story about a podcaster who heads to Canada to interview a YouTube fail sensation. Once there he meets up with a man offering to tell his incredible life story in exchange for some companionship. However, it is a thinly veiled guise to trap someone into visiting his home so he can transform them into his one and only true friend, a walrus. 

Director/Writer: Kevin Smith

Stars: Justin Long, Michael Parks, Haley Joel Osmet

Year: 2014

Country: USA

The Fly

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The Fly features a brilliant scientist who is working to create the world's first ever transportation system. After his first successful test the scientist decides to test the invention on himself. Unfortunately, he soon finds out he is not alone in the transporter, and now he is fighting to keep his humanity as he transforms to something not quite human. 

Director: David Cronenberg

Writers: George Langelaan (story) Charles Edward Pogue (screenplay)

Stars: Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz

Year: 1986

Country: USA


The Human Centipede (First Sequence)

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The Human Centipede is another mad scientist tale where the scientist has an evil vision so awful that he must kidnaps others to make it a reality. In this film, said scientist would like to create a three person human centipede. To accomplish this he kidnaps three young people and starts to sew them together. 

Director/Writer: Tom Six

Stars: Dieter Laser, Ashley C. Williams, Ashlynn Yennie

Year: 2009

Country: Netherlands

The Thing

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The Thing features a shape-shifting alien that is terrorizing a group of scientists at an arctic research station. As "The Thing" continues to terrorize the inhabitants it starts to take the shape of those it kills. Mistrust starts to infect the scientists as they struggle to find out who could be "The Thing." 

Director: John Carpenter

Writers: Bill Lancaster (screenplay) and John W. Campbell Jr. (story)

Stars: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David

Year: 1982

Country: USA


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Videodrome is a high-concept film where a trash TV producer sets out to find the creators of a snuff film channel called "videodrome" that shows the torture and mutilation of real victims. Soon the TV Exec finds himself in the middle of a conspiracy to control and alter the minds of viewers. 

Director/Writer: David Cronenberg

Stars: James Woods, Debbie Harry, Sonja Smits

Year: 1983

Country: Canada

Tokyo Gore Police

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Tokyo Gore Police is a futuristic film set in a Tokyo where scores of people have started self-mutilation as an art. These "cutters" often add dangerous elements to their bodies and the Tokyo Gore Police are tasked with bringing down the worst of the lot. 

Director: Yoshihiro Nishimura

Writers: Kenjo Kaji and Maki Mizui

Stars: Eihi Shiina, Itsuji Itao, Yukihide Benny

Year: 2008

Country: Japan

Cannibal Holocaust

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Cannibal Holocaust is often billed as the most controversial film of all time. In fact, legend has it that director Ruggero Deodato was arrested in Italy on charges of obscenity and murder until he could provide proof all the films actors were still alive. The film is all about a group of documentarians who want to film real cannibals in the world. Soon they disappear and a rescue crew is dispatched, their resulting find is one of graphic horror.

**This film is extremely graphic in nature and should be viewed with the understanding that there will be extreme scenes of violence and torture. 

Director: Ruggero Deodato

Writer: Gianfranco Clerici

Stars: Robert Kerman, Francesca Ciardi, Perry Pirkanen

Year: 1980

Country: Italy


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