The nightmarish minds of horror filmmakers are able to bring scenes to life with such visceral detail that it can sometimes even hurt to watch.
Whether you’re a purists who prefers these gruesome feats to be pulled off with practical effects or a casual fan who is okay with a bit of CGI if done well, the end results can make your stomach turn and your skin crawl.
Body horror is usually what turns others off the genre because unlike jump scares, you really can’t unsee the graphic images that embed themselves deep into your thoughts long after the movie is over.
With that said, consider this a final warning before this dive into three recent films that aren’t afraid to shy away from giving its audiences some truly unnerving scenes of pure horror.
The Gruesome Goodies
The Wretched (2020)
Available on Netflix
A witchy good time that adds a new monster to fill the ranks of other emerging modern horror creatures, this checks all the usual boxes and then twists your mind just when you think you’re getting a handle of it.
Some of its most notable scares in the film surround the body transformations that feel like a modern homage to 80s creature features, while also pulling off some original and stylistic elements that make this a cut above other indies.
If you’re a fan of dark magic its most certainly a must-see and works well for anyone looking to watch a casual horror that may catch them off guard at times, but without all the mental heavy lifting of other modern films.
It’s a casual genre watch that gets right to the point, deserves a franchise, and sits on top against the usual fodder that populates the Netflix horror section.
The Babysitter: Killer Queen (2020)
Available on Netflix
Sequels can usually end up being lackluster cash grabs that don’t really add to the franchise and leave fans of the first film feeling a let down that the magic isn’t met a second time.
Fortunately for us, Netflix was able to pull off an impressive follow-up to the Samara Weaving 2017 film The Babysitter, and somehow they did it without the modern scream queen as a lead this time around.
The McG directed films are not for all genre fans, but if you’re into some lighthearted horror with a load of R Rated campy gore, it’s the perfect mash-up of old school meets new school styles.
The sequel is as fun as the first in terms of story, plot, and over the top characters, while additionally making the franchise itself stand as a new type of horror made specifically for casual fans.
If you missed the first film when it came out, there is no better time to do a double-header of these fast-paced and hilarious horror-comedy-action hybrids.
The body horror and gore are heavily CGI, which may be a turn off for some, but the self-aware nature of the films makes it quirky enough to except the deliberate over the top romp.
Available on Amazon Prime (Shudder)
Okay, now this one is definitely not for everyone and there are a number of trigger warnings that should be mentioned before watching it.
Trigger warning: one scene of sexual assault, excessive gore, and brutal violence
If you’re able to stomach these scenes in the film, it is one of the best revenge movies to come out in the past 10 years and definitely worth the watch just to see Matilda Lutz unstoppable performance.
Lutz’s character Jennifer goes through Hell throughout the story and it makes the entire experience feel like a slow burn in terms of pain and gore, but an incredibly satisfying watch if you’re a fan of seeing bad guys getting delivered what they deserve.
Director Coralie Fargeat’s ability to mix body horror, action, and drama together is a filmmaking homerun that makes this underrated bloodbath more than just your average by the numbers scorned hero tale.
On top of all that, the mix of the unforgiving desert and the attention to detail placed on the creatures that live in the scorching landscape makes you feel as hot and uncomfortable watching it, as the characters are within the film trying to fight for their own survival.
But again, the real highlight of all of this is Lutz’s performance, because seriously, no scream queen in modern history went through as much as she did to get her vengeance.
If Lutz and Fargeat ever reunite for another film, I will be first in attendance at that screening.
Whether the gore is camp or hyper-realistic, it all fits under the ever-expanding horror umbrella and has its ways of making the films differentiate from the slower arthouse think pieces that decidedly do not go that route to entertain.
With all that said in celebration of brutal violence, gore doesn’t always make a movie and can even occasionally detract from a story if overdone or used to replace an actual plot.
While a lot of modern filmmakers have realized this and dedicated their time to making their scares in the ambiance of the movie, as opposed to, just smashing heads and breaking bones… the horror purists out there are believe that the new films that lack the excessive blood steer away from what makes the genre great.
So in conclusion, gore and graphic violence may not make a horror film, but they are sure elements that are bound to make a bloody statement.