Movies About Motherhood
You Shouldn’t Watch
When You’re A New Mother
By Matthew Arcilla
Motherhood is a very personal experience for any woman. It’s a very trying time both physically and emotionally, so it’s probably not the best time to be watching movies about the subject, especially those featuring zombie fetuses, alien babies and terrifyingly heightened takes on postpartum depression.
Little conclusive evidence has been made about the effects of watching such movies on a new mother, but it’s probably better to be safe than sorry. Whether you’re expecting or have just given birth, it goes without saying to skip movie night if you’re friends have an affinity for terror, and if you’re a spouse or partner to one, for the love of God, don’t subject your partner to these 8 movies.
Maybe you think this movie is about admiring the miracle of life. Maybe you think this movie is about the gift of creation. Maybe you think that bit where Arnold proclaims, “My body, my choice!” is striking a blow for women everywhere. Maybe you think that bit with the Arnold-faced baby is hilarious. Or maybe you’re just fucking weird.
The Brood (1979)
A troubled woman named Nola undergoes an experimental psychological treatment to address her personal traumas. Meanwhile, her concerned husband cares for their five year old daughter. Featuring psychoplasm, parthogenesis and hereditary trauma, The Brood’s grotesque visuals aren’t new territory for director David Cronenberg. Still, it’s the terrifying climax that makes up the real nightmare fuel.
Outside of a fetish for the work of B-movie producer Roger Corman, there’s no real reason to watch Unborn. That is unless you want to scare an expecting mother into never ever visiting her ob-gyn again. In Unborn, a couple trying for a baby go for an experimental in-vitro program. The trial succeeds, but unusual things begin happening to the fetus. Surprise, the doctor is insane!
A widowed mother is always a great setup for pregnancy horror, if only to establish that the lead is on her own. Against all advice, new mom Madeline carries her daughter to term. It’s no motherhood miracle though, as the baby is undead and needs to feed on blood instead of milk to survive. Since Madeline can’t provide an endless supply of her own blood, she must look elsewhere to feed her child.
Hungry Hearts (2014)
This entry is less an exercise in gore and scares and more an emotionally fraught thriller. While mother-to-be Mina insists on keeping her son pure by rejecting modern medicine and treatments, husband Jude fights to save him from undernourishment. Intense and affecting performances from Adam Driver and Alba Rohrwacher make this a compelling but difficult watch, though making a mother watch this would only make them question how you see them.
Demon Seed (1977)
A scientist builds an extremely advanced computer intelligence called Proteus IV. It develops leukemia treatments, achieve self-awareness and longs to be free from its prison of transistors and magnetic tape. So how does it do it? Why, by forcibly impregnating the scientist’s wife of course! Proteus IV also employs emotional manipulation to ensure she will love their child.
While not strictly about motherhood, the original Alien saga is a terrifying paean to pregnancy. While the first movie is a classic for originating the visceral image of birth as a cause of death, all four tap into the body horror connotations of gestating a life inside you. It culminates in the fourth movie with an alien that possesses a human uterus and a human-alien hybrid baby that regards Ripley as its mother.
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Roman Polanski’s landmark horror film of a naïve mother is upsetting for many reasons, least of those are the Satanists and witches who want to claim the titular character’s baby for themselves. Rosemary’s Baby is a paranoiac’s nightmare that taps into fears that your husband might have less than noble – if not outright sinister – intentions and that your child might be the AntiChrist. Fifty years later, it’s the definitive pregnancy horror movie.
Can you name other such movies? Share them with us below!