The Best David Cronenberg Horror Films

The best David Cronenberg horror films have disturbed and frightened generations of horror fans. Infamous for his use of grotesque and unfathomable body horror in his films, the imagery that Cronenberg puts forth is unmatched in the macabre and revolting. From his first featured works in Shivers to the daring Crimes of the Future, Cronenberg has no reservations about the spine-chilling images he wished to put on screen, and horror fans have had the pleasure of watching his films through the crevasses of their fingers for decades.

However, David Cronenberg's best horror films aren't purely masochistic works of art. Each tells a holistically human story. Cronenberg helped revolutionize what horror could be, fundamentally shifting the genre away from surreal escapism and shining an often ugly and damming light into the world of realism and relevance. Films like The Fly and The Brood are grotesque on their surface, but Cronenberg masterfully crafted stories of grief, depression, anger, and love within each film. 

Every film on this list is a masterful work of stomach-churning art, so be sure to vote up the best David Cronenberg horror films, and check out new Cronenberg horror movies once they are released and added to the list.

  • Videodrome
    Photo: Videodrome / Universal Pictures

    A surreal mind-bending thriller that masterfully mixes surreal science fiction with unparalleled horror, Videodrome manages to simultaneously revolt and mystify audiences with a story of human consumption and addiction to visual media. A theme that is just as relevant today as it was back in 1983, Videodrome uses the “freaky stuff” to suck in audiences, and then uses its philosophy to delve deep into the human psyche. Audiences won't be sure of what's more terrifying, what's on the screen,  or in their own head.

  • A rare adaptation that is regarded to be better than the original, The Fly is undoubtedly one of David Cronenberg's most critically acclaimed and successful films. The master of body horror put his talents on stage for the masses to see, and audiences came in droves for the masterfully tragic story of Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) and Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis). The elements of romance and tragedy blended beautifully with the grotesque and horrifying transformation from man to creature, and in the end, audiences were afraid, very afraid.

  • The Brood
    Photo: The Brood / Criterion Collection

    On its surface, The Brood is one of the most grotesque, revolting, and blood-curdling films to ever be released, but when digging a little deeper, a heartbreaking masterpiece of familial pain and anguish lies waiting. David Cronenberg uses human psychological ideology and the art of the physical body as his canvas to give audiences a painfully grotesque and real portrait of a family being ripped apart. Showcasing some of the most memorable and indescribable images in the history of the genre; The Brood is a heartbreaking triumph of terror.  

  • David Cronenberg's first feature film, Shivers does not waste any time introducing audiences to the twisted masochistic director and his revolutionary and daring ways. Challenging the established order of normalcy within film, Shivers focuses less on stereotypical storytelling and focuses more on ideology and themes of erotica. The low budget and grimy filmmaking paired with a horrifying story of sex and scientific experimentation will undoubtedly leave audiences horrified and hungry for love.