Out on home video this week, Contracted follows a young woman named Samantha (Najarra Townsend) who gets a bit too wild (and intimate) with a stranger at a party. She knows it was a mistake, but then she starts to suffer some strange physical ailments. To her horror, she discovers that she has contracted something far worse -- and more immediately life threatening -- than a sexually transmitted disease.
It's the latest, disgusting horror-movie disease that you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy. The past 10 years or so has brought a lot of these disgusting diseases to the screen, rendered in excruciating detail, requiring a strong stomach to sit through. Here are seven of the most disgusting that we've experienced.
7. Carriers (2009)
Four young people seek refuge from a worldwide epidemic. Rather than the decay of the flesh, the film explores the erosion of the human spirit, which is the true victim of the disease. But that doesn't mean the movie lacks entirely for photographic evidence of what happens to those who catch the deadly virus.
6. I Am Legend (2007)
Once again, good and honorable intentions are foiled. In the latest translation of Richard Matheson's novel to the big screen, a doctor enjoys success by tampering with a virus genetically. The doctor is searching for a cure for cancer, but the virus mutates and spreads, converting most of the human race into vampire-ish monsters with anger issues. The spread of the disease can be traced back to the arrogance of the medical and scientific community, blinded by their own brilliance, to the point that they are far too slow to acknowledge their limitations.
5. Resident Evil (2002)
The Umbrella Corporation is bent on world domination by any means necessary. As part of its mission, it develops weapons for the military, an arsenal that includes biological and chemical agents. The T-virus in particular proves more deadly than the rest, producing a disease that has a horrid effect and can spread very, very quickly. What makes this disease particularly evil is that it's entirely preventable.
4. The Crazies (2010)
Remaking George A. Romero's berserk original, the new version is more overtly and traditionally horror filled, tracking the increasingly disturbing behavior by the good citizens of a small community in Iowa. What is making everyone lose their minds? Obviously, it's some kind of disease. But do those soldiers in hazmat suits really care? The disease blooms fully before physically manifesting itself, which makes it more deadly than other, similar infections.
3. 28 Days Later… (2002)
They had good intentions, those animal activists did, but in their efforts to free the chimpanzees used for medical testing and call attention to the plight of all such animals, the activists unintentionally unleashed a virus that transformed the world into a frightening, mostly empty jungle, peopled by voracious monsters who somehow can walk very, very fast. It's also a world where any apparent peace is only temporary, because the spread of the infection is relentless.
2. Dawn of the Dead (2004)
If you thought the zombies in those other modern zombie movies were fast, you haven't seen Zack Snyder's take on the subgenre, in which the dead sprint like they're in the Olympics. And it's all because of a disease with a 100% mortality rate that converts its victims into hungry, hungry dead people. The fact that the disease acts so quickly is, in one respect, a blessing to the infected, but it makes it much worse for any friends, family members, or strangers who are unlucky enough to be around them.
1. [REC] (2006)
You don't need to die to turn into a murderous monster in this Spanish-language thriller. Once infected by the virus, the disease spreads through the body at a rate determined by blood type. Then, all bets are off, and the victim is compelled toward violent behavior that inevitably leads to death. The idea that you turn horribly violent, while still having a degree of awareness of your behavior, makes this the worst disease of all.