The horror genre is often associated with gratuitous nudity and superfluous sex scenes. But what does nudity have to do with horror? And what does sexual arousal have to do with fear?
Apparently a lot, because there are countless sex scenes in scary movies. Perhaps the reason is that eroticism and death are actually intwined in human nature. After all, sexual reproduction creates new life while our own bodies are inching ever closer towards death. But maybe sex is included in horror because people are at their most vulnerable when they are making love. Or maybe the sex is just there to titillate the audience.
Whatever the reason, sex scenes are a staple of horror cinema. These scenes may be funny, horrifying, feminist, or misogynistic, and a few are even romantic and steamy. Listed here are some of the horror genre’s greatest sex scenes. Get ready for sexual intensity on all levels.
Best Horror Sex Scenes
Vampires are the sexiest of all mythical horror creatures, and in this German horror flick things are indeed sexual. While the movie is laden with nudity and bizarre sex scenes, the opening sequence leaves a memorable impression on all viewers. It begins with a woman erotically dancing in front of a mirror who then proceeds to seduce a woman pretending to be a mannequin. It also turns out this whole sexual performance is happening at a public art show.
Daughters of Darkness is an erotic horror movie from Belgian director Harry Kümel. It is based on the vampiric legend of Elizabeth Bathory, a Hungarian countess who is said to have killed hundreds of women and bathed in their blood in order to retain her youth. Set in modern times, Daughters of Darkness is about a newlywed couple who encounter Bathory and her secretary Ilona while on their honeymoon in Belgium. The husband is seduced by Bathory and Ilona, leading to a memorable, adulterous sex scene that starts out tender but ends in screaming and death.
The Demoniacs is an obscure French horror film that falls somewhere between a rape-and-revenge exploitation movie and softcore porn. The movie is about two women seeking revenge after being assaulted by a gang of criminals on a beach. You can take your pick from the numerous sex scenes in the movie for which one you think is the best, but the most important is when one of the women has sex with the Devil (while the other woman watches) in order to gain the magical powers they need to destroy their enemies. There is also a woman in clown makeup who assists a man overseeing the ruins where the Devil is held captive. The Demoniacs is quite strange.
Sleepaway Camp is one of those summer camp movies where just about everyone winds up dead, but at this summer camp, everyone seems hornier than usual. We won’t describe the final scene; it has to be watched to be believed. It’s also a pretty good movie and worth a watch. One critic on Rotten Tomatoes describes the film as “an atypical slasher movie that blurs the lines between high and low art, good and bad acting, male and female, proficiency and ineptitude, sophistication and primitivism.”
While the original Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) by Wes Craven had relatively few sexual references and was quite tame sexually when compared to other 80s horror movies, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors is quite different. The movie, which was not directed by Craven, takes place mostly inside a psychiatric hospital where teens from Elm Street are dealing with their Freddy Krueger nightmares. One of the patients, Joey, has a crush on a nurse, so the teen boy dreams about the nurse stripping down to a white thong and getting into bed with him. Unfortunately for Joey, the nurse actually Freddy in disguise.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula is a visually stunning take on the classic novel that is rich with sensuality. Trying to determine the best sex scene in Francis Ford Coppola’s movie really comes down to what you’re into. Early in the movie, Jonathan Harker (Keanu Reeves) is seduced by Dracula’s brides is a scene filled with nudity and biting in very sensitive places. For those of you looking for something different, later in the film Lucy (Sadie Frost), while under Dracula’s (Gary Oldman) influence, gives herself sexually to Dracula while he is in the form of a werewolf.
Wes Craven’s self-aware slasher film contains a sex scene that pokes fun of all the gratuitous nature of sex and nudity in the horror genre. In what is considered one of the most cerebral sex scenes in horror cinema, and certainty one of the biggest teases, we see Sidney (Neve Campbell) begin to take of her top, but as she does, the film cuts to a bunch of teenagers watching John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978). The teens watching the movie inside the movie see a bit of nudity on screen (of actress P. J. Soles), but those of us watching Scream see no toplessness at all.
Director Mary Harron adapted Bret Easton Ellis’s disturbing novel American Psycho into a surreal cult classic. The movie is dark, absurd, comedic and perhaps even sexy if you think lead actor Christian Bale is attractive as a psychopathic serial killer. The sex scene that became so famous is when Bale’s character Patrick Bateman invites two prostitutes to his Manhattan apartment and makes a film of them having sex. What made the scene so popular was the fact that Bale’s character is more interested in watching himself in the mirror than actually having sex.
Teeth, directed by filmmaker Mitchell Lichtenstein, is the story of a woman named Dawn (Jess Weixler) who has a real-life case of the mystical condition known as vagina dentata— a vagina that has teeth. Dawn is taken advantage of by various people throughout the movie, but she makes sure none of them will ever take advantage of anyone ever again. In one particularly memorable sex scene, Dawn takes revenge on her horrible stepbrother by using her teeth-filled vagina to “bite” off his penis in the middle of a sexual encounter.
The lesbian sex and kissing scene between Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried in Jennifer’s Body was heavily marketed and hyped when the movie first came out. In fact, the movie was marketed mostly towards horny guys. The reality is that this sex scene was just a small slice of the movie, and later reception saw Jennifer’s Body as more of a feminist manifesto. Nevertheless, the two-minute love scene lives in infamy as one of the most famous erotic moments in horror cinema.
Megan Fox also recalls that the sex scene was not sexy at all to film. Here is what she had to say about it:
I remember Amanda and I were horrified that we had to make out. Her more so than me. I was slightly more comfortable being able to do it. She was not excited about having to film that scene at all. I remember we were both stressed out because we had chin acne and there was gonna be this micro-close-up of us kissing. [I remember thinking] ‘They have to paint that out!’ I don’t even know if they did, but that was a very stressful scene for the two of us.
Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows is a film adaptation of the gothic TV show of the same name. While TV shows, at least those that aired before the days of streaming, aren’t known for steamy sex scenes, this version features Johnny Depp and Eva Green in a mind-blowing love scene. Barnabas (Depp) is a vampire, Angie (Green) is a witch, and they go at it incredibly strong in the film, flying around and smashing everything in a room while they copulate.
Directed by the Soska sisters, See No Evil 2 is a slasher film that was released directly to home video. It merges horror and sex well in a scene that is a clear display of necrophilia (sexual attraction to corpses). In the scene, Tamara (Katharine Isabelle) and Carter (Lee Majdoub) leave their group of friends to search for the dead body of serial killer Jacob Goodnight (Glenn Jacobs, aka Kane). They find Jacob, and Tamara, who is obsessed with death and killers, gets aroused by the corpse. Tamara and Carter proceed to do the deed near Jacob, but the gigantic mass murderer isn’t quite as dead as they thought.
Here is how the Parent’s Guide describes this sex scene: “A man discovers that he enjoys being choked. A woman chokes him and he chokes her in return. This leads to a briefly-seen sex scene in which both characters are seen to be nude, but the actors’ bodies are arranged in a way that no nudity is seen.” The film is about two thieves who break into a house which they get stuck in. They then start a romantic relationship as they enter a hostage situation with the home’s house sitter. The genre is more comedy with some horror and home invasion elements, but the sex scene is memorable because of how silly it is.
Midsommar, directed by Ari Aster, has one of the most bizarre, humiliating and mind-bending sex scenes in horror movie history. A man is subjected to a sex ritual with a woman (who previously baked him a pie with her pubic hair in it). The sex ritual also involves many other people from the commune, including the woman’s family. The actor who was in the scene, Jack Reynor, said in an interview: “Every day, going to work and shooting something that is incredibly humiliating and upsetting personally and thinking about yourself in the context of it and trying to put yourself in the position of it…it was hard-core.” The scene is certainly a disturbing highlight of a movie that meshes romance, fairy tales, and breaking up into one masterpiece of a film.
More Scary Horror Film Sex Scenes
- Cannibal Holocaust (1980) It’s hard to pick one scene from this disturbing gore-fest of a film; but perhaps one of the least horrifying scenes of sex is when two two members of an American film crew have sex in front of an entire rainforest tribe after having terrorized them and burned down most of their village.
- An American Werewolf in London (1981) Van Morrison provides the soundtrack for this sex scene where actor David Naughton has sex with his nurse in the shower while in the hospital.
- The Hunger (1983) Although the film is packed with sex, the most memorable scene is the one where a female doctor named Sarah gets hot and heavy with a female ingenue named Miriam for some steamy girl-on-girl vampire sex.
- Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989) In this Japanese cyberpunk/ body horror movie, a man discovers that his penis has transformed into a giant power drill which, understandably, isn’t a great discovery for his girlfriend.
- Antichrist (2009) This movie starts with an unbelievably horrifying scene that intercuts unsimulated sex (with body doubles for the actors) with a little boy falling to his death. The movie also contains nauseating sexual violence in its later stages. Antichrist is not for the weak of heart.
- Reel Evil (2010) This horror movie features a sex scene recorded on a camcorder. If you buy the DVD, the deleted scenes contain a moment with full frontal nudity.
- Cabin in the Woods (2012) The standout sex scene involves Chris Hemsworth and Anna Hutchinson having sex in the woods, only to be attacked by zombies.