Body Horror

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"Arthur, my mustache is touching my brain..."
The Tick (animation), That Mustache Feeling

Someone is about to turn into a monster. Or they have something inside them that is definitely not supposed to be there. Or they wake up to find that they are missing some bits. Or they learn, too late, that they are a character in an MPreg fanfiction...

Welcome to the lovely land of Body Horror. Simply put, this is any form of Horror that is based primarily on the body visibly mutating and developing in out-of-control, hideous ways. Instead of a clean, smooth, shiny (and often quick) change from one form to another, as with many Transformation Sequences, it's painful, Squickily organic, or just plain disturbing and played for all the Nausea Fuel it's worth.

For maximum nightmare points, the transformation should be slow, seemingly irreversible, and force major personality changes. Emphasis must be placed on disfiguring and distorting the victim's face. Slow transformations draw out the anguish. Being near irreversible raises the stakes still further. Unsought personality changes mean the victim is no longer truly themselves...

Sometimes, this implies an Orifice Invasion or getting your Face Full of Alien Wingwong, or even a Chest Burster. Sometimes parasites, Puppeteer Parasite, or a Viral Transformation are the cause, but in that case the suspense comes from the implanted alien slowly taking over.

Made most famous by the Alien tetralogy, but obviously done by plenty of older sources.

Naturally, there's quite a bit of crossover with Painful Transformation, Emergency Transformation, Lovecraftian Superpower, Shapeshifter Swan Song, Came Back Wrong, and Vagina Dentata. See also Your Head Asplode, Appendage Assimilation, Squick, and Nausea Fuel. For a character or Mooks who has this as their back story, see Was Once a Man and/or Tragic Monster and The Grotesque. If the transformation is played for sympathy, it can be used to explore the issue of What Measure Is a Non-Human?. The transformation may result in Our Monsters Are Weird of the most horrific kind. See One-Winged Angel and Super-Powered Evil Side for a different kind of scary transformation. Contrast Alien Kudzu and Meat Moss for the architectural/environmental variants.

Examples of Body Horror are listed on these subpages: