Gore Horror – Delightfully Disgusting!

The Human Centipede (2009)
The Human Centipede (2009)

The Perfect Recipe for Gore Horror!

Horror films cover many genres. Within each genre, there should be plenty of scares, buckets of blood, or both, and of course, the completely unexpected moments that startle the pants off the audience. But what about the best gore horror movies? Films featuring limbs being torn freely from the body. Characters eating raw human organs. A film so grotesque it has the ability to induce vomiting, like in The Perfection (2019). Scenes that bring bile up into the back of the throat, like the moment Dr. Shaw performs a frantic C-section on herself in Prometheus (2012) to remove the alien baby growing inside her. Or the crazed unadulterated killings of a freakish clown in Terrifier (2017) that harbor disgust in the pit of the stomach.

Only one type of horror film can induce queasy uneasiness: Gore horror! For example, check out the twisted and unsettling, mother swapping-plastic surgery scare-fest in Goodnight Mommy (2014). It haunts the mind for days afterward.

One film in particular that scores major points for gore is Tokyo Gore Police (2008). The film takes place in “future Tokyo.” It’s a Kill Bill-style flick. Plenty of sword-wielding-privatized-police. A mad scientist who’s created a virus which “mutates humans into monstrous creatures called “Engineers.” What makes the film so gory? The Engineers sprouting bizarre weapons from their injuries while fighting against the Tokyo Police Force (TPF). The film is bloody fun, and has been critiqued as “perverse, grotesque, bizarre — and a little more.”

Tokyo Gore Police (2008) screenshot
Tokyo Gore Police (2008)

Tell Me a Gory Story

Once upon a time, many a madman roamed the land. Some nestled amongst the trees in haunted forests. Others worked as innkeepers. A few disguised as mad scientists found joy in “experimenting” on humans. No matter their taste for killing, maiming, and torture, each of these evil characters has one thing in common. A lust for bloodshed and butchery. The use of a director’s vision; to infuse the film with as much gratuitous violence as possible will sell more tickets, well that type of gore in horror films has actually been omitted.

Such was the case with Human Centipede – First Sequence (2009). Firstly, this gore horror spectacular is just plain gross. Edited down “in order to avoid controversy,” the titillating story beings with the worn-out, but traditional ‘two-girls-whose-car-breaks-down-on-the-way-to-a-party’ theme. They go to a house and ask to use the phone of a mad scientist hellbent on sewing humans together “mouth-to-ass.”

He keeps his subjects alive, feeding only the “head” of the first person. Everyone else, in the chain, gets their nutrition from, well, the other end. And so on and so on. Human Centipede, touted as the best gore horror movie, ever, inspired a Part 2 & Part 3! The “bodies” of the centipedes get longer, and the gore surpasses just about any other gore horror film imaginable. Or, maybe not…

Martyrs (2008)
Martyrs (2008)

The Gory Tale of the Two Martyrs

If the aforementioned films aren’t gory enough, along comes the tale of “two young women who were both victims of abuse as children. They embark on a bloody quest for revenge only to find themselves plunged into a living hell of depravity.” Pure gore. And buckets of gore. To reach a broader demographic of the horror audience, Martyrs (2008) was appealed by the filmmakers in order to receive a tamer 16+ rating so as not to restrict viewing to a limited audience of 18+.

The Evil Dead (1981)
The Evil Dead (1981)

The Goriest Horror of All

One of the best gore horror movies – the granddaddy that kickstarted the genre – is no doubt the cult classic The Evil Dead (1981). Celebrated director, Sam Raimi (Drag Me to Hell, Army of Darkness, and more) gives audiences a simple story. Five friends, a weekend at a creepy cabin, a book of the dead, and an ominous presence in the woods that won’t let them leave until they each become possessed, or turned into a “deadite.” Met with tepid reviews upon release, the film has become an international horror treasure. The Evil Dead (2013) remake was touted as the “The Most Terrifying Film You Will Ever Experience,” used no CGI to create the special effects – some of the goriest horror effects of all time. The remake, considered one hell of an homage to the original, made several audience members pass out, or puke.

Hostel (2005)
Hostel (2005)

Can Someone Please Clean up this Gore!

For supremely intense bloody carnage, the Hostel horror films have created quite a stir among both critics and horror fans. Hostel (2005), directed by Eli Roth introduces audiences to three adventurous travelers, eager to party and meet women. And, while they do ultimately have fun, the gory mayhem ensues when they mistakenly check into a hostel on the advice of a creepy stranger.

Writing for Entertainment Weekly, Hostel can be summed up in the words of film critic Owen Gleiberman, who writes, “the torture scenes in Hostel (snipped toes, sliced ankles, pulled eyeballs) are not, in essence, much different from the surgical terrors in the Saw films, only Roth, by presenting his characters as victims of the same world of flesh-for-fantasy they were grooving on in the first place, digs deep into the nightmare of a society ruled by the profit of illicit desire.”

Hostel II (2007) and Hostel III (2001) both cashed in on the gore and splatter, the former, with Roth in the director’s chair, ups the ante with a few unexpected jumpscares not found in its predecessor. Part two also came with a “gore warning!” The latter, with a new director at the helm, plays off the too-familiar ‘bachelor-party-gone-horribly-wrong’ story, but with unsuspecting scares, twists and turns.

Saw (2004)
Saw (2004)

Gore, Puzzles, Spelunking & Being Vegetarian

If Hostels don’t seem appealing, there’s always the puzzle-solving, closed-circuit television, survival horror film SAW (2004). The film follows two characters taunted by a serial killer who uses redemption as his reason to torture his victims. Four SAW films would follow the original. Thank the SAW family of films for some of the most memorable creative jump scares and disgusting gore effects.

Are we what we eat? One viewing of the French film Raw  (2016) creates wildly new dinner conversations about the relationship humans have towards food. This coming of age story is an all-consuming observation of a devout vegetarian named Justine, in her first year of veterinary school. Desperate to fit in, Justine “encounters a decadent, merciless and dangerously seductive world during her first week in class.”

Devoid of any principles, Justine begins to eat raw meat for the first time. Soon Justine experiences terrible and unexpected consequences as her “true self” begins to emerge.” True self as in cannibal. Raw was a contender for horror film of the decade. It’s a brilliant observation of the unpredictability of the human appetite. And a realistic social commentary. Basically, Raw is a wonderful 99 minutes of delightful disgust.

The Descent (2005)
The Descent (2005)

Speaking of delightful disgust, The Descent (2005) packs in plenty of jumpscares. Six women spend the weekend exploring a cave. Turns out they’re trespassing. And the humanoid population living deep in the dark depths doesn’t feel like entertaining. When horror website, Bloody Disgusting published its “Top 20 Horror Films of the Decade”, it ranked The Descent in third place, stating “One of the scariest films of this or any decade… Ultimately, The Descent is the purest kind of horror film – ruthless, unforgiving, showing no mercy.”

(Almost) Everybody Loves Gore!

Everybody loves gore! Well, almost everybody. The researchers at the University of Central Florida and Indiana University came to a different conclusion. The data suggests, “gore simply holds our attention. So while we know that the blood and guts are a little unnerving, we can’t look away once we see it. In a way, it’s exactly like how when we see an accident on the road, we drive a little slower to see what’s going on. It’s an annoying habit, but we can’t seem to shake it off. Whether or not we let ourselves experience it, the truth is that we all have this morbid fascination with all things…well, morbid.” Perfect!