It’s Hot as Hell this month at Nightmare on Film Street and that means celebrating the heat in horror, from hellfire to actual fire, not to mention those moments that metaphorically turn up the heat. Sometimes it feels like horror takes even the flimsiest excuses to get characters to strip down, especially if it’s intentionally featuring eye candy to cater to the audience gaze.
That said, sometimes characters just… get naked out of nowhere. Whether the instances are jarring, awkward, weird, or funny, this list features horror characters who find themselves suddenly in their nudey-pants when they aren’t planning on getting down. You might be surprised to see how few of the entries on this list are naked for the sake of pure fanservice.
It Follows (2014)
The entity following Jay (Maika Monroe) may be able to take the shape of anybody, even Jay‘s friends and family, but it doesn’t seem to have a consistent grip on the concept of clothing. The first time we see it near the abandoned building where Jay finds out she’s been infected by the sexually-transmitted curse, it takes the shape of a naked woman; perhaps more memorably, Jay later sees it stalking her from a rooftop as a naked old man.
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006)
Perfumer Jean-Baptiste Grenouille’s (Ben Whishaw) obsession with creating the perfect scent drives him to murder. Facing execution for his crimes, Grenouille faces the public with his masterwork: a perfume distilled from the bodies of beautiful women. Literally everyone in attendance at his execution is so enraptured by the scent that they declare him an angel before tearing at each other’s clothing and descending into a mass orgiastic nakedfest.
No amount of immersing himself into the unusual (and sometimes alarming) midsummer rituals practiced by the Hårga people could have prepared Christian (Jack Reynor) for the fertility ritual led by the Hårga women — nor was Dani (Florence Pugh) prepared when she spied the whole affair through a keyhole. As with most of the practices in the commune, this experience is meant to be shared, and so all of the women are appropriately naked for the activity.
Happy Death Day (2017)
Waking up to the same day over and over again gets tiresome after a few repetitions, and so eventually Tree (Jessica Rothe) decides to shake things up in her little time loop, just for fun. Does she have any good reason to walk around campus naked? Nope. Does she strut her stuff anyway? Hell yeah. And why not? She’ll get a do-over tomorrow and no one will be the wiser.
It: Chapter Two (2019)
When Beverly Marsh (Jessica Chastain) returns to Derry as an adult, she finds an old woman (Joan Gregson) living in her childhood home. As Beverly navigates an uncomfortable visit and begins to realize that she’s in a trap constructed by Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård), the old woman unsettles everything even further by leaving to get cookies from the oven, and coming back naked, and then naked and monstrous.
Event Horizon (1997)
By all measures, ship designer Weir (Sam Neill), obsessed and possessed and with his eyes gouged out, shouldn’t have survived being blown out into space. But he does survive, according to him, because the Event Horizon won’t let him die. When Weir reappears to face off against Miller (Laurence Fishburne), his eyes are restored but his hair and clothes are gone and his naked skin is covered with slashes. Apparently this is the de facto look when a sentient hell-ship resurrects you.
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Exposed flesh has a huge role to play in The Silence of the Lambs, especially when it comes to the film’s killer Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine). His ultimate goal may be to sew a skin suit from the women that he’s abducted, but a memorable part of his process sees him not only unsuited but unclothed (unless a wide-open robe and a scalp wig count) and posing, contemplating the skin that he’s already in.
The Faculty (1998)
With Herrington High under attack by an alien creature that’s slowly assimilating the students and faculty, a surviving group of teens are on the lookout for weird changes among themselves. Despite, being the new girl, finding Marybeth naked in the locker room is more than enough to qualify as “weird”. Marybeth‘s alien powers of transformation don’t extend to clothing, which means that, after transforming into her true tentacled self to drag Stokely (Clea DuVall) into the pool, Marybeth doesn’t have time (or more likely: bother) to get dressed to deliver her villain speech to Zeke (Josh Hartnett).
Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II (1987)
Mary Lou Maloney (Lisa Schrage)’s restless soul has been lurking in Hamilton High School’s costume department for 30 years, waiting for the chance to wear the prom queen crown she was meant to have back in 1957. When Mary Lou finally succeeds in taking over sweet student Vicki Carpenter (Wendy Lyon)’s body, she sucks Vicki‘s into a chalkboard only to emerge from Mary Lou‘s haunted costume trunk naked as a jaybird. Later, she drops her towel to terrorize her Vicki‘s friend Monica (Beverley Hendry) in the school locker room… maybe The Faculty’s Marybeth took notes from Mary Lou when she was learning how to hide in plain sight as a human.
Sleepaway Camp (1983)
Perhaps the most controversial twist reveal in horror history, the final scene of Sleepaway Camp relies on Angela (Felissa Rose)’s nakedness to deliver on impact. Love it or hate it, Angela‘s jarringly edited body deserves its place on this list out of sheerly for being so iconic.
What’s your favourite naked moment in horror? Let us know over on the Nightmare on Film Street Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, and the Horror Fiends of Nightmare on Film Street Facebook!