There are a surprising number of pregnancy related horror movies given that the nine-month period is generally thought to be uniquely wholesome and happy. But there are several inherently terrifying aspects of pregnancy that have naturally been discussed through the medium of horror. To start with, pregnancy makes a person more vulnerable. While becoming physically weaker, pregnant people also have an additional life to protect as the pregnancy develops and the parent/s are closer to meeting their offspring face to face. It’s simply much harder to run or hide from a villain when you have a large baby bump or a crying infant to consider.
As Alice Lowe’s Prevenge (2016) points out, there’s also the loss of control many women feel as the body they’ve lived in for decades suddenly changes. Pretty much any pregnancy is real life body horror for the person who is pregnant. While babies are usually a welcome addition to the lives of their parents, becoming pregnant and having a fetus inside you can also feel overwhelming and creepy — especially the idea of being impregnated by a villain and being forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term. Many horror movies play off the parasite-like way a fetus feeds off of its mother or use demonic possession as a metaphor for the out-of-control feeling of being ruled by one’s changing body.
Horror that deals with the female body — from virginity to pregnancy, motherhood and menopause can be placed in the subgenre known as gynaehorror. This list will deal specifically with horror movies that center pregnancy in its scares. Here are the best horror movies about pregnancy:
Best Pregnancy Horror Movies
Disgraced director Roman Polanski adapted this psychological horror movie from the novel by Ira Levin. The film follows the title character, Rosemary (Mia Farrow), as she moves with her husband, an actor, into a big old apartment building in Manhattan said to have a dark history of murder. Rosemary’s new neighbors, Minnie and Roman Castevet, give her a pendant. On another night they deliver a handmade chocolate mousse that tastes “off” to Rosemary and she passes out. When she wakes, her husband casually mentions that he has raped her while she slept (because, he didn’t want to miss “baby night”) and she becomes pregnant. Rosemary’s Baby received critical acclaim upon its release and Ruth Gordon won an Oscar for best supporting actress for her role as Minnie Castevet.
NBC remade Rosemary’s Baby in 2014 with Zoe Saldana playing Rosemary and the apartment set in Paris instead of New York.
A birth gone monstrously (sic) wrong. Los Angeles couple Frank and Lenore Davis have already had a healthy child and are expecting another. When it is born, the infant immediately kills everyone in the operating room except for a horrified Lenore. While Frank and Lenore’s lives are turned upside down, the newborn escapes the hospital and goes on a murder spree.
Warning: explaining why The Brood is a pregnancy movie involves spoilers, so if you haven’t seen it skip ahead. Made by David Cronenberg after his own divorce, The Brood centers on a man, Frank Carveth, who is in the process of divorcing his wife, Nola Carveth. Nola is under the care of a shady psychiatrist who believes that expressing her emotions will change her physical body (a good thing, he says). Frank and Nola are fighting over custody of their five-year-old child who is also plagued by the appearance of violent and bizarre child-like humans. In the end, Nola’s rage (about the abuse she experienced as a child) that she was supposed to be processing with the psychiatrist was so powerful her body birthed children in order to carry out her emotions in the physical world — like murdering her child’s teacher and her own mother (who had been Nola’s childhood abuser). The titular “brood” are Nola’s emotion-children.
Also directed by David Cronenberg, this sci-fi horror movie features journalist Veronica “Ronnie” Quaife (Geena Davis), who is asked to document the work of scientist Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum). While drunkenly playing with his device, Brundle accidentally fuses himself with a fly at the “molecular-genetic level”. Ronnie becomes pregnant and is horrified by not knowing what kind of human-insect hybrid she will give birth to.
After surviving the events of A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, final girl Alice Johnson starts dating Dan, also from the previous film. She graduates high school, discovers she is pregnant with Dan’s child and starts getting ghostly visits from a little boy named Jacob. Also, Freddy’s back. Alice has to figure out how Freddy came back and protect herself, her friends, and her unborn child from falling asleep and becoming Freddy Kreuger’s next victim.
A French horror movie about a woman named Yanka, the wife of an abusive and cruel circus owner. Yanka finds herself at the mercy of a parasite who invades her body through her uterus and demands she feed it human blood. In 2008, a sequel was released titled Lady Blood but reviews of that film are much less favorable.
Inside takes place on Christmas Eve where Sarah, an overdue expectant mother, prepares to give birth the following day. A strange visitor shows up with a very sharp pair of scissors and all hell breaks loose. Inside is a gruesome and bloody example of French new wave horror. The subtitles are worth watching the French version for, the film was remade in English in 2016 but viewers tend to agree it retains the violence while losing the magic of the original.
One of the most criminally overlooked horror movies, House of the Devil, is set in 1983. A college student desperate for money takes a sketchy babysitting job at a house in the woods on the night of a lunar eclipse. When she arrives, she’s told there aren’t actually any children to babysit, and things get creepier from there. Unfortunately for our protagonist, pregnancy plays an especially cruel role in the final act of this film.
A psychedelic horror movie starring Natasha Lyonne, Chloë Sevigny, and Meg Tilly. Lou (Lyonne) is a stoner who regularly experiments with drugs and lives in a trailer in Michigan. She becomes pregnant after trying a new drug and discovers she isn’t the only one in town this has happened to.
Prevenge is a British comedy slasher that was written and directed by Alice Lowe (who also stars as Ruth) while she was actually pregnant making it a completely unique entry into gynaehorror. Ruth is expecting her first child but was unable to tell the father before he was killed in a climbing accident where he was cut loose by the other climbers. As she reaches full term, she begins to hear her baby speaking to her and telling her to kill.
While not centered around matriarch Evelyn Abbott’s (Emily Blunt) pregnancy, A Quiet Place does a great job illustrating the additional horror of being pregnant in any horror movie setting. She has to make sure she can survive in an alien apocalypse along with her existing children and her husband as well as the additional care her developing baby requires. Additionally the malevolent aliens are hypersensitive to sound, leading up to an incredibly suspenseful scene where Evelyn silently labors alone in a bathtub.
Ilana Glazer co-wrote this script with director John Lee. She also stars as Lucy, a woman who has been unsuccessfully trying to conceive with her husband, Adrian, for two years. They decide to ask Adrian’s former teacher, a popular fertility doctor, inseminate Lucy using his “special technique”. Lucy indeed becomes pregnant, but as her pregnancy progresses she becomes more and more wary of the doctor and her husband.
Titane is a French body horror movie about a woman who tries to hide her pregnancy as she starts a new life as a grieving father’s son. Complicating matters is the issue of her unborn baby’s father being an inanimate object — a car. Her pregnant body leaks motor oil instead of breast milk or blood. Writer and director Julia Ducournau did a masterful job and instead of being goofy, these bizarre elements work together to create a weird and moving horror film. Titane premiered at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival where it was given the highest honor at the festival, the Palme d’Or.
More Horror Movies About Pregnancy
- Beyond the Door (1974) is about a pregnant San Francisco housewife who becomes demonically possessed.
- Dawn of the Dead (1978) both the Romero original and Zack Snyder’s excellent 2004 remake have pregnant characters living in the zombie apocalypse.
- The Seventh Sign (1988) Demi Moore stars as a pregnant woman who isn’t a believer until she meets a man who might be Jesus.
- The Hand that Rocks the Cradle (1992) a shocking and iconic thriller about the aftermath a woman who was sexually abused by her obstetrician.
- The Astronaut’s Wife (1999) an especially creepy subplot of this sci-fi horror movie is about the titular character’s pregnancy.
- Blessed (2004) an infertile couple is desperate to have a baby, so they move to a new town to try out an experimental fertility clinic.
- Mother! (2007) is a painful Darren Aronofsky film about a pregnant woman married to a narcissistic husband that neglects her experience and their child for the sake of his “art.”
- The Unborn (2009) a woman is haunted by her unborn twin, Jumby.
- The Clinic (2010) an Australian horror movie about a pregnant woman who is abducted and wakes up in a bathtub full of ice with a Caesarean scar.
- The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011) in this Twilight installment Bella (a human) becomes pregnant with the immortal daughter of vampire boyfriend and she clings to life as her unborn child feeds on her body.
- Devil’s Due (2014) a woman becomes pregnant after being kidnapped and blacking out on her honeymoon from hell. This was Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett’s first feature length film.
- Honeymoon (2014) the premise of this creepy isolation movie isn’t about pregnancy, but there is one horrifying scene in particular where one of the main characters… “gives birth” to something.
- Don’t Breathe (2016) a horrifying example of how scary and upsetting a “forced insemination” storyline can be in the scope of a larger story that has nothing to do with gynaehorror.
- The Wind (2018) a “supernatural western” about a couple on the American frontier in New Mexico and their creepy new neighbors.
- Impetigore (2019) an Indonesian horror movie about a woman named Maya who travels to her ancestral home in the hopes of making money and learns of a disturbing number of newborn deaths in the area.
- Snatchers (2019) a horror comedy about a high schooler girl who becomes pregnant with an alien child.
- Anything for Jackson (2020) a supernatural horror movie about a couple that abduct a pregnant woman hoping to put the essence of their deceased grandson (the titular “Jackson”) into her unborn child.