After seeing “Prometheus” last week, I started thinking. “Prometheus” isn’t the first movie to terrify would-be mothers. So, here are the top five horror films that will make you re-think childbirth:
1) “Prometheus” (2012): Look, I said it in my review. This tops the list. It preys on every unconscious fear women have about pregnancy (invasion of your body by a foreign life, bloody birth, fetal deformities), and turns it into the most memorable midway point of an R-rated movie this year. Every woman I have talked to about this movie has immediately referenced this scene. Nobody left unscathed. That’s how good it was.
2) “Rosemary’s Baby” (1968): Previously the list-topper, this film wins for what it implies. Not a horror movie by today’s gross-out standards, this early Roman Polanski film is nonetheless very scary. The film spans the entire course of Rosemary’s pregnancy. The conception is a hallucinatory terror. She begins wasting away instead of gaining weight (apparently this actually happens to some women), suffers crippling pain, gets cravings for raw meat, and eventually decides she must be carrying the antichrist (I’m sure this has run through more than one pregnant woman’s head). The birth itself is not bloody, but trust me that last scene will give you chills. While not make-you-jump scary, Rosemary’s Baby nonetheless encapsulates fears surrounding every stage of motherhood, from conception to birth to child-rearing. Thanks, Polanski.
3) “Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1” (2011): I know you’re going to give me crap for this. I’m giving me crap for this too. Yes, I’ve seen this scene (only this scene, because sparkly vampires? No thank you.) I’ve got to tell you, it’s unsettling. It borrows the emaciated pregnancy bit from Rosemary’s Baby, and the rapidly-growing baby bit, but goes a completely different route: when going into labor, Bella’s spine snaps in half! What the hell?? I’m pretty much positive that this can’t happen during childbirth, but now I have something else to worry about besides accidentally pooing (yes that’s a real problem). This entire series begs the question: what does Stephanie Meyers have against women? Also, is it just me or does a vampire-teeth-C-Section look like very uncomfortable oral sex?
4) “Aliens” (1986): This franchise just can’t stay away from the pregnancy scares. In the opening scene of this fantastic sequel, Ripley gives birth to a chestburster. Psych! It was a dream. While not the most horrifying moment of the series, it’s a shocking way to start the movie, and it sets up themes on motherhood that extend through the rest of the film. Plus you can see the thing moving around in her stomach! I know it’s fake, but that is so absolutely awful!! That’s not going to happen to me, right?
5) “The Fly” (1986): Ok, this one isn’t so much terrifying as it is gross. Gina Davis finds out that her husband is turning into a Fly Thing (he actually looks more like a walking tumor) and has a nightmare about giving birth to a maggot. Like I said, it’s gross. Plus when I watch it I’m reminded of the sperm baby from David Lynch’s acid trip of a movie, “Eraserhead.” Incidentally, this is the only remake on this list, so I have the opportunity to say that I highly recommend the original “The Fly” for campy 1950s horror.
6) (Bonus) Every Pregnancy From Every Splatter Film Ever: I hate this genre. Unfortunately, some slasher movies contain graphic scenes with pregnant women. Lowlights include a woman giving birth in a slaughterhouse, a zombie pregnancy, and a killer decapitating pregnant women. These films seem to ask, “How far can we go before we offend every woman in the audience?” and the answer unanimously seems to be “There are women in the audience? F*ck ‘em.” While the rest of the films on this list (yes, even Twilight) explore legitimate fears about pregnancy and motherhood, so-called torture-porn films exist only to offend. That I can’t abide.
So there you have it! Five movies that scare the pants back onto women everywhere and one sub-genre that thinks throwing pregnant women into dumpsters is fun. Have any movies to add to the list? Post them in the comments section below!