It’s flu season again. Skip the popcorn and screen these with some chicken soup.
A deadly infectious disease causes an international panic and kills Gwyneth Paltrow.
Disease: Meningoencephalitis Virus One: highly contagious. Side effects may/always include sweating, seizures, foaming at the mouth and death.
Ick Rating: 10. MEV–1 is particularly nasty and terrifyingly realistic. Don’t watch this film on a plane, in a theater or pretty much anywhere with other people.
The Thing (1982)
Kurt Russell. Antarctica. Aliens. Flamethrowers.
Disease: A shapeshifting alien that infects its host, assimilating it into one supreme organism.
Ick Rating: 10. The most warped depiction of blood and gore of its time. What Jeffrey Dahmer daydreams about.
Women can’t have babies anymore… unless they’re Baby Jesus.
Disease: Unknown Mystery Disease/Metaphors and Symbolism 101
Ick Rating: 10. Complete and utter lack of faith in humanity coupled with the collapse of civilization as we know it. It’s pretty unpleasant.
District 9 (2009)
Stranded aliens suffer under Apartheid–style institutionalized racism.
Disease: Our kinda douchey hero, Wikkus, gets exposed to some goop. Slowly, agonizingly turns into an alien.
Ick Rating: 9. Body horror that’s not for the faint of heart. Includes vomiting, fingernails falling off—the works.
Osmosis Jones (2001)
White blood cell and rookie cop Osmosis Jones teams up with a cold pill to fight off a lethal disease within Bill Murray’s body.
Disease: The Red Death, which overheats the body within two days. Cameo appearances by influenza and gingivitis.
Ick Rating: 8. “The Red Death” may be lethal, but it’s Murray’s disgusting personal habits that really raise the “ick” factor.
Wealthy Jewish Prince Charton Heston (Ben Hur) is forced into slavery, becomes a champion chariot racer, seeks revenge on the man who wronged him and his family and becomes Jesus’ last BFF.
Disease: Ben Hur’s mother and sister are imprisoned and contract leprosy. When in the leper colony, do as the lepers do.
Ick Rating: 7. Although the faces and bodies of the lepers are mostly hidden in rags, the skin around their eyes and off their hands is peeling. Even Ben has to look away.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
High school slacker plays hooky with his sidekick best friend and hot girlfriend. They proceed to have the most awesome, epic sick day ever.
Disease: His “symptoms” include: clammy hands, fever, coughing and some really pleasant loud bathroom noises. Also, rumor has it that he needs a kidney transplant.
Ick Rating: Around a 4, since faking the flu never let us dance on a float or drive our dad’s Ferrari.
One very long singing/cry–fest that is only somewhat marred by the director trying to pass off a cardboard cutout of Russell Crowe as the real thing.
Disease: It’s 1800s France… everyone is sick with something. But let’s focus on tuberculosis.
Ick Rating: 5. At the end of the day, you did have to sell your hair. Also, you now have facial lesions.
Julianne Moore’s suburban housewife is such a hypochondriac that it becomes a disease.
Disease: Supposedly chemical sensitivity, but director Todd Haynes makes a good case that it’s all in her head.
Ick Rating: 3. The disease is implied by the shaky cam and zoom–ins, but its existence remains in question the whole movie. Suck it up, Julianne!
Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937)
Pretty 16–year–old girl shacks up with seven tiny old men. Nope, nothing strange here.
Disease: Flu, presumably? Maybe allergies? Sneezy’s clearly had this for a while.
Ick Rating: 2. Barely a sickness at all. Though we do imagine that Snow White uses a lot of disinfectant as she whistles while she works.
Saturday Night Fever (1977)
John Travolta being John Travolta.
Disease: Disco fever, baby!
Ick Rating: 1. Tight flared pants, blinding colors and some very questionable dance moves. Viewer discretion advised.