The Best Transformation Scenes of Horror, Part 1: Tales from the Darkside (1990), Zombeavers (2014) and Wolfcop (2014)
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This article is rich with images you do not want your boss to see when he’s looking over your shoulder at work. View at your own risk.
Transformation scenes are often the coolest things we see in horror films–especially when they’re executed with practical effects. Some of my favorite transformation scenes are also the most gory and brutal. So today I’m highlighting some transformations in which the “new form” (be it a werewolf or otherwise) pushes its way out of the “old” (human) form.
The Company of Wolves (1984)
These are gory, abrupt and to the point; like the human skin was just an ill-fitting suit entrapping a monster. This same approach has been used before and many times since. The first film (that comes to mind anyway) using this transformation method was The Fly (1986). Now I know what you’re thinking, Brundelfly’s transformation was a slow mutation and his human form was almost gorily “molted” off as would be done by an insect. However, the final phase involved tearing through his own chrysalised flesh as if it were some sort of walking, talking pupation stage. The same tactic was utilized for the werewolf flick The Company of Wolves (1984) and The Howling (1981), and far later by the werewolf character from Hemlock Grove (2013-present; Netlfix show).
The Howling (1981)
In kind of a funky way, this tactic was used by Freddy Krueger when he turned a tough teen into a roach in A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 (1988). While on the topic of Freddy, he turns into a lot of things–basically never featuring transformation scenes. Shame.
The Thing (1982), which offers unpredictably protean changes in which chest cavities become bear trap-like toothy maws and self-detaching heads grow eye stalks and spider legs and crawl away. Or Society (1989), in which there is a ton of transformation but very little of it being witnessed and it is more in the form of merging/melding people together in inordinately macabre manners. That said, the horrific practical effects were delightful.
But enough of this banter. Here are a few transformations that I really enjoyed. Stay tuned for future installments in this series of articles…
Tales from the Darkside (1990), the short story Lover’s Vow.
Lover’s Vow features a man who swears a vow of secrecy to a gargoyle to keep its existence a secret. When he breaks this vow, it turns out that the women he married (who he met the same night he took the gargoyle’s vow) is actually the gargoyle!!! What’s sick here isn’t the fact that they had two children together, but rather that–upon breaking the vow–the gargoyle tears its way out of its human skin (again, his wife’s skin!!!) to punish the oathbreaking husband. Enjoy the imagery:
Just tore right our of her. I like it.
Admittedly, this transformation scene is less transformative (perhaps largely due to budgetary limitations). But the claws and teeth form in the right manner for my theme today. This is also probably not one of the truly “best” transformation scenes in terms of quality or detail, but it made up for it with silliness and unexpectedness. I think it deserves to be here.
Quite a pleasure was the transformation of a bitten girl into a werebeaver zombie (or werezombeaver?)—not unlike what happened in Black Sheep (2006). These infected victims behave as if they caught a beavered up version of the Evil Dead’s (2013) contagious zombie-demonism. After being infected, a young woman twerks her tail—YES, she grew a beaver tail—and terrorizes her friends with her buck teeth which pushed their way through her front teeth. She even bites off a guy’s penis in the spirit of Piranha 3D (2010). Yikes!
This is here for its “Holy Shit Factor.” This film is pure lycanthropic lunacy and the gritty, sloppily gory painfulness of the transformation scene will bring sophomoric glee to your inner gorehound. Faces split and are torn away, slaws erupt from fingertips and skin sloughs off like mange in this slapstick werewolf flick. The worst is what happens to his manhood…in the MoviesFilmsandFlix Podcast Episode 17, we discuss the transformation scene Wolfcop (2014) in gruesome detail. These images hardly do it justice:
I hope you enjoyed these gore-slathered movie memories and perhaps you have been directed to new things you need to see for yourself.
CLICK HERE to go to “Best Transformations” PART 2