Pedro Almodóvar’s psychosexual thriller The Skin I Live In opens in theaters this Friday. Antonio Banderas stars as an obsessed, but brilliant, plastic surgeon who invents a synthetic skin that he uses for depraved means. If you’re familiar with Almodóvar’s work then you know this synopsis barely plumbs the depths of his intent. The striking and unsettling images used to promote the film have given us a taste of something darkly decadent and visceral — something not entirely body horror, but promises to “get under your skin.” Whether literally or figuratively, dozens of movies have explored this same notion. Click through for ten films that disturb our senses and promise to cut to the quick.
It’s hard not to see a little bit of Georges Franju’s Eyes Without a Face in Almodóvar’s The Skin I Live In — right down to the similar featureless mask used in both films. Franju’s Doctor Génessier is also an obsessed mad scientist archetype, who performs Grand Guignol-esque surgeries on his disfigured daughter. Skin being slowly peeled from the skull unsettles, and Franju’s poetic and atmospheric direction adds to the surrealistic nightmare.