It’s a hand!: 12 gross things people have birthed in TV and movies

It’s a hand!: 12 gross things people have birthed in TV and movies

1. A Native American shaman

It’s hard enough being a single woman without having to worry about an ancient evil manifesting in your body and using you as a vessel to rebirth itself upon the world. In The Manitou, Karen Tandy (Susan Strasberg) has a problem: a large lump on her neck that keeps growing. One trip to the hospital and an X-ray later, doctors discover that under the skin, Karen’s neck lump is actually a neck fetus—the fetus, it turns out, of an evil Native American shaman named Misquamacus. Even in fetal form, Misquamacus is not to be trifled with, and any attempt to remove the creature before the “birth” fails. Karen finally delivers a stunted, menacing monster out of the nape her neck and upper back, and it takes the combined power of Tony Curtis (as a psychic), Michael Ansara (as a Native American), and Karen’s naked torso to defeat the beast in a light show that can only only described as “slightly more batshit than the rest of the movie.” [ZH]

2. A hand

Things sometimes got really bizarre and embarrassing during the WWE’s 5-year schlock-fest known as the “Attitude Era.” Take, for example, the time 77-year-old Mae Young, a pioneer of women’s wrestling, gave birth to a disembodied hand on live television. Her pregnancy wasn’t exactly what you’d deem safe for an expecting mother. She got squashed by a 500-pound man and slammed through a folding table—on two separate occasions—in the weeks leading up to the birth. When the time came, Young, holding a cigar and farting up a storm, wriggled around while a soul-patched EMT attempted to pull the baby out with some pliers. After a lot of screaming and cartoon stretching noises, the EMT yanked out a rubber hand covered in pink goo. One onlooker pretended to throw up. Another jovially asked everyone to “give Mae a hand.” You’d think it’s the kind of horror show WWE would want to forget about (you can’t find the footage anywhere except WWE’s own website), but the company has returned to the “joke” on multiple occasions, even having a guy dressed as a giant hand accompany Young as her grown-up son during Monday Night Raw’s 1000th episode. [MG]

3. A giant hoagie and some Sunkist

As the most sandwich-obsessed character since Blondie’s Dagwood, it was inevitable The Cosby Show would eventually see Cliff Huxtable crossing the line into an unnatural relationship with his hoagies. That line was “The Day The Spores Landed,” a 1989 episode in which the ingestion of a sausage grinder before bed leads to a nightmare in which Cliff and the other male members of the Huxtable clan become pregnant, thanks to some sci-fi mumbo jumbo about volcanic microorganisms in the drinking water. Of course, the set-up doesn’t really matter, as it’s just an excuse for Cliff, Theo, et al. to waddle around acting hormonal. Their crying and carping culminates in a disturbing hospital scene, where each man gives birth to the thing they cherish the most. For Cliff (aided by Dr. Elayne Boosler), that’s an enormous sandwich and a bottle of orange soda—an in-dream delivery of his real-world food-baby that prompts Cliff to wake and declare women the “most wonderful people on the face of the earth.” Because pregnancy is basically like being really, really full, right? [SO]

4. A scary, sentient, half-vampire, half-human hybrid

Giving birth is already scary enough, but at least normal babies don’t use their vampire strength to break their mother’s spine on the way out. That’s what happens in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Pt. 1 (or just Breaking Dawn, if you’re only talking about the books.) Bella and Edward’s baby gestates quickly inside its mother, making her wan, ill, and thirsty for blood. She’s ultimately born not in a sweet, quiet hospital room but in a room in the Cullen’s house, killing Bella (for a second, at least) as she comes into the world, torn from her human mother’s stomach by her vampire dad’s teeth. Baby Renesmee (ugh) emerges as not only a weirdly old baby, but as one that can communicate thoughts through touch; who is half-vampire, half-human; willing and able to survive on both blood and food; and almost instantly romantically bonds with Jacob, Bella’s shape-shifter wolf friend. Hey, at least potty training was probably a breeze. [ME]

5. A full-grown man

Every mother wants to see her baby boy grow and mature into a loving, responsible, happy adult. But what if he comes out that way? The literally gut-wrenching idea of a woman giving birth to a full-grown man has appeared often enough in films and on TV to be a full-fledged trope, sometimes played for laughs (Childrens’ Hospital, Upright Citizens Brigade, Rachel Dratch birthing a nude and petroleum jelly-smeared Will Ferrell on SNL), and sometimes for shock value (Takashi Miike’s Gozu, the unjustly obscure 1983 alien-invasion movie Xtro). It’s enough to make The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button seem downright desirable—at least he was a tiny old man. [KR]

6. Some smoke

In the HBO series Game Of Thrones and the books they were based on, pregnancy gets magical. Specifically, Melisandre, the red-haired priestess that works with Stannis Baratheon, plots revenge against Stannis’ enemies by birthing a smoke monster. She did have sex in order to get knocked up (with Stannis himself), but gestation is awfully fast, and the smoke demon thing only lives long enough to complete its dire mission. A lot is left unexplained with this particular magical spell—is the smoke monster alive at all? Does it have Stannis’ DNA? Do they only kill pretenders to the throne?—but it does make for one of the more terrifying scenes of the second season. [SS]

7. Meat Cat

Liz Lemon’s love of food is one of her most defining characteristics. In fact, the very first time we meet her is when she’s buying all the hot dogs at a stand to stick it to a line-jumper—a true act of heroism in her eyes. As 30 Rock went on, Liz’s hunger almost became sentient. Her stomach not only growled, but demanded food in a terrifying low rumble like it had just swallowed Tom Waits. Liz’s constantly dissatisfied appetite became a plot point midway through season four when her love of disgusting snacks made her hallucinate. She has a dream—or more accurately, a nightmare—in which she gives birth to Meat Cat, the Cheesy Blasters animated mascot. 30 Rock being 30 Rock, though, the weirdest thing about the entire scene is Jack Donaghy acting as Meat Cat’s surrogate father. [CF]

8. Udo Kier’s head

The 1994 Danish television miniseries The Kingdom was conceived by producer-director Lars Von Trier as, essentially, Twin Peaks in a hospital. The four-episode first season lived up to that premise with storylines involving corpse mutilation, a ghost child, and the rapidly accelerated pregnancy of Dr. Judith Petersen (Birgitte Raaberg). The birth of Petersen’s possible demon-spawn provides the first season with its shocking final image as she goes into labor, the head of her baby emerges, and it looks a little too big and oh my God, it’s Udo Kier’s head. Viewers would have to wait three years to see this cliffhanger resolved in the follow-up miniseries that found Kier’s “little brother” growing a massive, deformed, Silly Putty-like body, becoming a source of revulsion for most but bonding with his mother in an oddly touching manner. [SVD]

9. A tiny egg

In the fourth and final season of Mork & Mindy, things moved quickly in the relationship between Mindy McConnell and her longtime roommate, Mork, from the planet Ork: They got engaged in the season premiere, married in episode two, took their honeymoon in three, and then… well, let’s just say that it became evident what had gone on at some point during the previous episode when, in episode four, an egg unexpectedly emerged from Mork’s navel. Over the course of the episode, Mork helps incubate his embryo by sitting on it whenever possible, and just before the end of the proceedings, the egg—now the better part of six feet tall—cracks open to reveal the couple’s son, played by Jonathan Winters, causing Mork to excitedly announce, “It’s a boy!” Mindy replies in an decidedly more horrified voice, “It’s a man!” But it’s probable that some of the horror was derived from the contemplation of what might’ve happened if she’d been the one who’d gotten pregnant. [WH]

10. A crustacean Antichrist

At the risk of sounding chalice-half-empty, a word to the wise: If a coterie of wild-eyed, witchy women suddenly materializes and wants to hang out all the time, chances are they aren’t a knitting circle, but rather a demonic cult bent on using your womb as a boarding house for the Antichrist. Unfortunately, this is a lesson always learned the hard way, as is the case in The Lords Of Salem. Heidi (Sheri Moon Zombie) is seduced by an oddball landlady and her two sisters (Judy Geeson, Dee Wallace, and Patricia Quinn) and turned into a vessel for the hideous offspring of Satan through the corrupting power of music. It’s a fairly joyful labor, at least for one that takes place on a mountain of nude corpses and results in the birth of the embodiment of evil, which just so happens to look like a jumbo crawfish. [JA]

11. Horrific embodiments of emotions

Leave it to body-horror maestro David Cronenberg to take the miracle of childbirth and make it deeply, nauseatingly strange. The Brood, one of the Canadian director’s earliest assaults on good taste, concerns a woman (Samantha Eggar) whose unconventional therapy has provided her a novel method for dealing with her anger: It becomes physically personified as pint-sized mutant assassins, “rage babies” that escape into the world to do the bidding of her disturbed id. In the film’s gross-out money shot, Eggar throws back her robe to reveal a sack-like external womb, then bites it open and licks clean the bloody monster infant gestating inside. (Wouldn’t yoga be a healthier outlet?) Seven years later, Cronenberg would make a vain attempt to top the scene with another barf-bag birth, this one a nightmare sequence. Pregnant with the child of her lover, whose DNA has merged with that of a housefly, reporter Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis) dreams of squeezing out a squirming, baby-sized maggot. Abstinence advocates should really figure out a way to incorporate these clips into their scare tactics. [AD]

12. A really pushy xenomorph

Alien’s premise is simplicity itself: a handful of humans against a seemingly impossible foe. The twist comes from the way their enemy reaches them in the first place, in one of the most terrifying births in the movies. A tiny, ferocious alien springs, already self-aware, from an unwitting human host. (The baby’s actually a twofold horror: the impregnation by suffocating face-hugger is as violent and unstoppable as the monster that results.) But the phallic xenomorph emerging already screaming from John Hurt’s exploded chest isn’t even the worst of it: One of the reasons the scene’s become iconic is that it takes the usual cues of a horror-movie birth and flips the gender line. (The actual scene, including jets of blood, was such an intense effect that Ridley Scott filmed it in a single take, preserving everyone’s startled reactions). And if there’s any question as to just how creepy the bundle of joy was meant to be, designer H.R. Giger looked to Francis Bacon for inspiration for the little guy, including a bony tail, psychosexual silhouette, bulging eyes, and metallic spike teeth. Yikes. [GV]


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