If there’s one thing the Marvel Cinematic Universe—known for dutifully imitating every genre from heist comedies to paranoid thrillers of the 1970s—has conspicuously lacked so far, it’s body horror. Despite a focus on transformations and newly-discovered superpowers that would seem to make the Cronenberg treatment a natural fit, the franchise has mostly steered clear of anything too disgusting. Of course, there’s only so much anyone can do while maintaining a PG-13 rating. But Venom, the upcoming film from Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer, isn’t quite an official Marvel Cinematic Universe product—it’s a spin-off from Spider Man: Homecoming, and part of Sony’s Marvel Universe instead of Marvel Studios’. As such, it’s allowed to aim for an R rating. So what does a Marvel film look like when it’s allowed to embrace body horror?
In a word: gross. Tom Hardy plays journalist Eddie Brock, who falls victim to an alien symbiote that gives him great powers while simultaneously being really disgusting. Hardy’s nemesis, Riz Ahmed’s Carlton Drake, is a Silicon Valley bioresearch scientist who’s a really big fan of Alien, if you see what I mean (I mean he keeps feeding people to these gross slimy alien things). Whatever Drake does to Hardy’s character, it causes really unpleasant-looking black tentacles to sprout from Hardy’s arms and spine, while wreaking even more havoc on Hardy’s face. Venom looks too transparently evil to support much of a Jekyll and Hyde-style moral dilemma on Eddie Brock’s part, but the film looks fun in a low-budget sort of way, and if everything’s got to be a superhero movie now, some of them may as well be icky. Venom will be in theaters on Oct. 5.