Ever since the invention of nuclear weapons, the concept of mutations has been a plot device in countless science fiction and horror films. From heroes to villains, the idea of a mutant has taken many shapes over the years. Whether your first thought is of Marvel characters or hideous monsters destroying cities, we all have our favorite movie mutants. Here is our ranking of the ten best movie mutations of all time. If you disagree with our picks or think we missed a big one, let us know in the talk backs below.
David Cronenberg is synonymous with body horror after a long career of making us afraid of changes to our physical being. But, in 1986’s remake of the Vincent Price classic, Cronenberg did something much worse. THE FLY is one of the most grotesque examples of science gone wrong as we witness the descent of Jeff Goldbum from brilliant scientist to Brundlefly. Horrible, gross, and very very haunting, this is by far the most lasting and memorable mutant on this list.
When you think of mutants, most of you instantly think of the X-Men. The fact that these characters are mutants is intrinsic to the ongoing plot of all the comics and films in the franchise. Used as a metaphor for tolerance of those that are different from others, X-Men has managed to give us mutations that are both incredibly powerful and tragic. Hopefully, X-MEN: APOCALYPSE can maintain the positive trend for this long-running franchise.
Marvel Studios doesn’t have the right to call him a mutant, but what else could Bruce Banner have become when he was exposed to massive amounts of gamma radiation? He is the very definition of a mutant but one that becomes much more through the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I would wager that the fact that he can transform between his Jekyll and Hyde halves makes him one of the more distinct entries on this list.
Since 1954, Godzilla has been a staple of Japanese cinema. His popularity has never quite been as big in the United States, but everyone knows the name and what the giant beast is. The product of nuclear explosions, Godzilla is both a menace and a guardian. The 2014 Hollywood film almost got the character right but we need to see him front and center, kicking mutant ass and destroying skyscrapers, the way he was intended to be seen.
Another cult classic, BASKET CASE features the horrible monster brother Belial whose formerly conjoined twin Duane has to take care of his evil sibling. While Belial may not have a body in the traditional sense, his murderous urges motivate him to move quickly. This Frank Henenlotter film is a cult classic and like THE TOXIC AVENGER must be seen to be believed. Trust me, you will never look at picnic baskets the same way again.
Many of you know the name but I wonder how many have actually watched any of the TOXIC AVENGER films. The saga of Melvin Ferd, a janitor turned deformed superhero, THE TOXIC AVENGER has spawned countless sequels and even a musical. Troma Entertainment has a long history of violent and hilarious B-movies and this is their iconic classic. Not for everyone, THE TOXIC AVENGER is for those who love trash cinema and not taking their movies completely seriously.
While Paul McCrane’s death scene has made other rankings, his brief tenure as a mutant is worthy of this list. There are few deaths as bad as what Emil Antonowsky suffers. But, his transformation from villainous thug to half melted man is grotesquely wonderful. It also is yet another sign as to why Paul Verhoeven needs to be given a studio budget and a great scifi script.
Wes Craven’s original cult classic may not have had the special effects budget to make truly terrifying inbred cannibals, but when you have a guy as weird looking as Michael Berryman, you don’t need prosthetics. The remake may have the more gnarly looking Jupiter clan, but I still lean towards the grittier original flick.