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Body Horror. How Repulsive!
The Invention of Body Horror
Inventor Thomas Edison was a man of many talents. Most people don’t know he was also a movie producer. No surprise, his films were made using a motion picture camera he invented. Whether by accident or on purpose, he also became the inventor of body horror. In 1910 Edison would greenlight the first production of Frankenstein as a feature film.
For two centuries, Frankenstein films have filled movie theaters. Some twists on the classic story include director Paul McGuigan’s Victor Frankenstein (2015) told through the point-of-view of Igor, Dr. Frankenstein’s loyal assistant. Depraved (2019) from Director Larry Fessenden is the story of a broken soldier named Henry. Suffering from PTSD he is hired to create a man named Adam. Built from the body parts of murder victims his money-hungry “killer boss” brings back to their secret lab.
When you can’t build a person out of assorted limbs and organs, try some DIY body horror! Who can forget the infamous words of Mama Canady? A troubled mother living a trauma-filled life. After offering a doll to her disturbed and insecure daughter, in the film May (2002), she suggests, “If you can’t find a friend, make one.” Then, all hell breaks loose!
The Fly (1986) is a horror film ahead of its time. Owing to the film’s success are the gross special effects. After accidentally fusing himself with the DNA of the most annoying insect known to man, molecular physicist, Dr. Seth Brundle spins out of control towards his demise. The Fly would raise the bar for special effects and win an Academy Award in the category!
It’s clear, the body horror which “inspired Frankenstein has long since become part of our cultural and cinematic DNA.” According to FilmTheroy.org body horror works best because of its “unnerving designs of the human physique, components of terrifying bodily distortion, decomposition, bodily dismembering, and illnesses that plague the body in such cases that make it appear scientifically unsuitable.”
Equally as gross as The Fly is the film Slither (2006). A dark body horror-comedy. Featuring the townsfolk of Weesley, South Carolina. All they have to do is avoid infection. From extraterrestrial parasites. Slither contains excellent 80’s-style special effects. Two moments; when the host body becomes “inhumanly bloated” with parasites, and a creepy bathtub scene proving why only taking showers, for the rest of your life, makes perfect sense.