Pregnancy is a miraculous event - a time of uncertainty, anticipation, and hopefulness that, for most, marks a major turning point in life. Still, despite the cravings, the cramps, and general discomfort, the promise of new life typically trumps even the most challenging hurdles.
Yet, for everything we know about it, there's plenty that can go wrong in those nine months - especially in the fictional world of movies. After all, if it wasn't essential to our continued survival, growing a future human inside of another person might otherwise sound like a horrific science experiment. As a result, it's no surprise that Hollywood has dreamed-up countless sci-fi and horror twists on pregnancy to make us think twice about any newly-formed life that might be growing inside.
To coincide with the release of the latest movie pregnancy-gone-wrong, Devil's Due, we bring you our picks for the 10 Most Disturbing Movie Pregnancies.
Short Version: Facehugger Alien + John Hurt = Chestburster Alien.
The Pregnancy: After discovering a chamber of extraterrestrial eggs on uncharted planetoid, LV-426, Executive Officer Kane (John Hurt) is attacked by a face-hugging alien life form. For days the creature clings to his face - before eventually detaching (and subsequently dying). Kane resumes consciousness as if the ordeal was over but hours later he experiences crippling chest pains - as a humanoid alien xenomorph bursts violently through his ribcage.
The Legacy: The Alien chestburster remains one of the most disturbing sci-fi horror ideas ever put to film - taken to its absolute most disgusting in Alien vs. Predator: Requiem when the Predalien uses a maternity ward full of expectant mothers to birth a horde of alien newborns.
The Brood (1979)
Short Version: Parthenogenic/psychoplasmic reproduction.
The Pregnancy: After years of neglect and abuse by her parents, Nola Carveth (Samantha Eggar) begins practicing a form of psychoplasmic therapy (i.e. letting go of trauma through changes to the physical body). However, in the process, she unknowingly creates a group of dwarf-like children through asexual reproduction in an external womb - children that, bonded to Nola through a psychic connection, attempt to kill anyone who upsets their mother.
The Legacy: In spite of its heady (or convoluted) explanation, few viewers will ever forget the image of Nola and her external womb (a byproduct of her pyschoplasmic sessions), her homicidal, toothless, and asexual offspring, or the story of abuse-fueled rage that underlines any standard horror film tropes.
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Short Version: Zombie woman gives birth to zombie baby.
The Pregnancy: For Andre (Mekhi Phifer) and his pregnant wife, Luda (Inna Korobkina), the joy of expecting parents is cut short - when a zombocalypse erupts around them. After days of running and fighting for survival, Luda is bitten. In the hopes that his wife can still deliver their baby (before she turns into a zombie), Andre ties his infected wife to a bed and stands watch over her. Luda dies (and reanimates) while attempting to birth the unborn child - a daughter that, as it turns out, is already undead.
The Legacy: The birth scene in Dawn of the Dead pulls double duty as a heartbreaking character moment (showcasing the emotional toll of living in a zombocalypse) while also pushing the boundaries of the zombie genre with a downright horrifying reveal - one that ends with a poignant moment of gut-wrenching drama.
Short Version: Austrian bodybuilding (er American gynecologist) man gets pregnant.
The Pregnancy: In an effort to test their new drug, Expectane, which promises to reduce the chance a pregnant mother will miscarry, gynecologists Dr. Alex Hesse (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and Dr. Larry Arbogast (Danny DeVito) devise a plan to secretly impregnate Hesse with a human embryo - skirting an FDA regulation against testing unapproved drugs on pregnant women. Nine months later, Hesse goes into labor and delivers a daughter, Junior, through caesarean section.
The Legacy: Sure, most of the other films on our list fall into the horror or sci-fi genre but what could possibly be more disturbing than watching Arnold Schwarzenegger with a baby bump, complaining about sore nipples, and discussing menstrual cycles?
A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)
Short Version: Freddy Krueger reborn in an unborn child.
The Pregnancy: After surviving the events of A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, Alice Johnson (Lisa Wilcox) discovers that her boyfriend, Dan Jordan (Danny Hassel), was killed in a suspicious car wreck and that she is pregnant with his child. However, when other friends begin dying in equally horrific ways, Alice realizes that Freddy Krueger is back - and using her unborn child as a link to once again terrorize Springwood, Ohio.
The Legacy: In addition to Alice's haunted pregnancy, The Dream Child also features the "rebirth" of Freddy Krueger - who erupts from mother Amanda, as a wrinkled and slimy creature, before skittering into his iconic red/black stripes. Growing back into full adult size, Krueger was then able to terrorize moviegoers for three further films (plus a remake).
Short Version: Sex + Mutating DNA = Giant Face Hugging Squid Monster
The Pregnancy: After her partner, Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green), is exposed to a mysterious alien liquid, Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) becomes impregnated with his "child." Unfortunately, Holloway's mutation was already underway at the time of conception, and the pair's unborn offspring is not human. With something growing rapidly inside of her, Shaw decides to use a self-surgery machine - removing a slimy, tentacled, squid-like creature from her belly.
The Legacy: While it might not have answered questions that Alien fans were expecting from a prequel, Prometheus delivered an interesting twist on the series' iconic facehugger/chestburster creatures - as well as one of the most nerve-wracking "birth" scenes in movie history.
Rosemary's Baby (1968)
Short Version: What to expect when you're expecting Satan's son.
The Pregnancy: Young couple Rosemary (Mia Farrow) and Guy Woodhouse (John Cassavetes) decide to have their first child. Guided throughout the pregnancy by their neighbors, Rosemary experiences debilitating abdominal pains and abnormal cravings (ex. raw meat). A series of mysterious clues (and deaths) lead Rosemary to realize that she has been manipulated by her husband and devil-worshipping friends - but not in time to prevent the birth of Adrian, the son of Satan.
The Legacy:Rosemary's Baby set a high bar for demonic pregnancy - while also providing riveting character drama and intriguing mythological details. The formula was so strong that it inspired future storytellers to retrace similar lines (ex. American Horror Story) for a new generation of horror viewers.
Species II (1998)
Short Version: Sex + Alien DNA Infection = Tentacled Creatures and Hybrid-Alien Kids
The Pregnancy: After returning from a voyage to Mars, astronaut Patrick Ross (Justin Lazard), unknowingly infected with volatile alien material, ignores quarantine guidelines and has sexual intercourse with the Debutante and her sister. As a result of Ross' mutating DNA, both women undergo rapid pregnancies - resulting in the immediate birth of full grown children that burst out of each mother's abdomen. Later, fellow astronaut Anne Sampas (Myriam Cyr) suffers a similar fate - as a tentacled alien hybrid erupts from her belly and kills her husband.
The Legacy: The Species franchise came to an underwhelming conclusion in 2004's direct-to-video installment Species III but there's no doubt the pregnancy scenes in Species II stand as a cautionary tale for anyone that might be considering a future in space exploration (and unprotected sex).
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 (2011)
Short Version: A literal blood-sucking human-vampire hybrid.
The Pregnancy: After their wedding, Bella (Kristen Stewart) becomes pregnant with Edward's child - a half-human, half-vampire. Sick and weak from the hybrid baby growing, rapidly, inside of her, Bella resorts to drinking blood to nourish her unborn child. During labor, the baby wreaks untold havoc on Bella's body, fracturing her spine, breaking her bones, and draining her blood - forcing Edward (Robert Pattinson) to turn his wife into a vampire just to save her life.
The Legacy:The Twilight Saga gets flack but nothing was more disturbing (or boring) than watching an emaciated Kristen Stewart drinking blood for the majority of Breaking Dawn - Part 1 before she's torn apart from the inside by her own child. We're not even going to mention that, in the process, a teenage werewolf "imprints" on the sparkly-eyed hybrid vampire infant.
Short Version: Alien abductee creates an alien, who creates a man, who is actually an alien.
The Pregnancy: Three years after Sam Phillips (Philip Sayer) is abducted by extraterrestrials, a homicidal alien creature appears, killing several townspeople before attacking, and then impregnating, a local woman (Susie Silvey). Upon awakening, she discovers that her belly has swollen to an enormous size - and she subsequently dies giving birth to a full-grown adult version of Sam.
The Legacy:Xtro tells a bizarre (and confusing) story of reproduction and alien creatures but we left out one especially gross detail that ensured the film made our most disturbing list - the aforementioned woman who gives birth to Sam produces his full-grown adult double through traditional (read: vaginal) delivery.
We've listed our picks for the Most Disturbing Movie Pregnancies but there are plenty more that we didn't have a chance to include - and we want to highlight two of them.
- Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995) - Most disturbing birth scene (ever).
- It's Alive (1974) - Most disturbing (albeit misunderstood) newborn.
As mentioned the list is not all-inclusive, and we're interested to hear which movie pregnancies you think were the most disturbing. Share your picks and reactions in the comments!
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