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Pregnancy in film

Related: film - pregnancy

Pregnancy in film: Mom and Dad (1945) - Rosemary's Baby (1968) - Demon Seed (1977) - The Brood (1979) more pregnancy in film

More pregnancy in film

Baby Bitches from Hell: Monstrous-Little Women in Film (1993) - Barbara Creed

Monstrous little women, mad moppets, deadly dollies, deranged daughters, sinister sisters--call them what you will, there is no doubt that multifarious images of the evil girl-child haunt the celluloid corridors of popular cinema. A far cry from her innocent sisters, the monstrous little woman is capable of truly shocking crimes. Images of evil children, circulated in posters and film books, are predominantly of feminine furies: Regan, from The Exorcist, murdering clerics, spewing green bile and rotating her head full circle on her neck; Carrie, an avenging monster, drenched in pig's blood, burning up the entire school; and Lolita, the child-woman, sunning herself in her bikini, supremely indifferent, yet fully aware of her devastating effect on the wretched professor. --Barbara Creed, http://www.cinema.ucla.edu/women/creed/creed1.html

[A]s the sub-genre of the monstrous-child films gathered momentum, an increasing number of films were given titles which referred directly to the womb--or its progeny--as the originating point of horror. These include Polanski's classic, Rosemary's Baby (1968), in which a woman gives birth to the Devil's offspring; Demon Seed (1977); Bloody Birthday (1980); and Devil Foetus (1983).

The majority of horror films, which draw a connection between the monstrous child and its mother, deal with female offspring. In those films in which the monstrous infant is male (Rosemary's Babv, It's Alive, It Lives Again), little emphasis is placed on the mother-son relationship. The monstrous little girl threatens, however, because she has inherited the propensity for evil while in the womb. These films are not concerned with the "heredity versus environment" debate. Rather, they argue that, due to some form of deadly contamination in the womb, or genetic predisposition, the infant--particularly the female--is likely to be born bad. It is the mother's seed--not the father's--which implants evil in these children.

In films discussed previously--from The Bad Seed and Curse of the Cat People to Carrie and The Brood--we see a similar pattern, an uncanny relationship between mother and daughter. Freud (1919) defined the uncanny as those things that arouse a sense of "dread and horror" in the subject. One of the three groupings he specified as uncanny, relates to the womb. The uncanny, or the unheimlich, is "that class of the frightening which leads back to what is known of old and long familiar." (220) A central place in the history of all subjects, which is "old and long familiar" is the womb--the unheimlich, that which once was heimisch. Freud also defined the uncanny in terms of that class of things that relates to the double such as twins, a doppelganger, a ghost, or repetition of an act. Film about the monstrous-little woman bring together the womb and the double as a twin source of horror.

The monstrous little woman of horror terrifies because she, in a sense, is the double of the mother. Many of these films endow the daughter and a maternal figure with similar features: both develop skin sores in The Brood; both are "born" killers in The Bad Seed; both possess a destructive imagination in Curse of the Cat People; and both are religious outcasts in Carrie. These daughters horrify because they testify to the power of the mother, through her uncanny womb, to give birth to a diminutive double of herself. There is no boundary between mother and daughter, between the double and its double, only a bond. What a bond it is! --http://www.cinema.ucla.edu/women/creed/creed8.html [Mar 2005]

Riget/The Kingdom (1994) - Morten Arnfred, Lars von Trier

Riget/The Kingdom (1994) - Morten Arnfred, Lars von Trier [Amazon.com]

Riget (English title: The Kingdom) is a six-episode Danish television mini-series, created by Lars von Trier in 1994. The mini-series has been cut together into a five-hour movie for distribution in the United Kingdom and United States.

The series is set in the neurological ward of Copenhagen's Rigshospitalet, the city's main hospital, which literally translates into English as "Kingdom Hospital". The show follows a number of characters, both staff and patients, as they discover a number of supernatural phenomena. The show is notable for the muted, sepia colour scheme, a sort of "Dogme"-lite shooting style (with added jump cuts), and the dishwashing kitchen staff in the basement who have Down syndrome and discuss the strange occurrences in the hospital as the plot develops.

Most episodes end with Swedish neurologist, Stig Helmer, looking out to Sweden from the hospital roof and yelling "Dansk Jävlarna" ("Danish scum"), and director Lars von Trier appears over the end credits of every show offering enigmatic observations about the plot. The comic elements and perceived "weirdness" in the series have led to comparisons with Twin Peaks.

The first series ended with numerous questions unanswered, and in 1997, the cast reassembled to produce another mini-series of six episodes, Riget II (The Kingdom II). This series continued exactly from where the first finished, and kept the trademark sepia colouring and shaky camera-work of the first series. Von Trier continued to appear over the end credits. This second series ended with as many questions unanswered as the first series, and a third series was planned. However, due to the death in 1998 of Ernst-Hugo Järegård (who played neurosurgeon Stig Helmer) and the subsequent deaths of Kirsten Rolffes (Mrs Drusse) and the actor who played the male dishwasher, the likelihood of a third series is now very remote. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Kingdom [Mar 2005]

There is no shortage of odd and intriguing subplots as well. Pathologist Bondo (Baard Owe) goes to incredible lengths to obtain a specimen of a rare liver tumor, with unsettling results. Med student Peter "Mogge" Moesgaard (Peter Mygirnd) finds himself immersed in vivid nightmares of ghouls and cannibalism (The nightmare-cannibalism scenes would make George Romero proud) while participating in a sleep study. The severed head of an anatomy-class corpse keeps turning up at the worst possible moments (though is there ever a good moment for a severed head to make an unexpected appearance?) A ghost ambulance makes eerie midnight runs, a bloody hand clawing at its window. Neurosurgeon Judith Petersen (Birgette Raaberg) experiences a pregnancy that makes Rosemary's Baby seem like a blessed event. [...] --Charles Avinger dvdmaniacs.net

It's Alive! (1974) Larry Cohen

It's Alive! (1974) Larry Cohen [Amazon.com]

Larry Cohen came to prominence with It's Alive (1974), a horror film about an epidemic of fanged, predatory babies. Though cheap, it is notable for its satirical black humour (the hero's son slaughters the medical staff at birth) and for its exploration of the parents' dilemma: the hero, who has fathered one of the creatures, at first disowns it but later tries to protect it despite its obvious anti-social tendencies. It's Alive is also noted for being scored by Bernard Herrmann. Cohen made two sequels, It Lives Again (1978) and It's Alive III: Island of the Alive (1987). They are among the select number of film sequels which equal or improve on the original. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Cohen [Jul 2005]

It's Alive was a 1974 horror movie written and directed by Larry Cohen. In the movie, a couple's infant child turns out to be a vicious monster that kills when frightened. Notable talents involved in the movie were Bernard Herrmann for the score and Rick Baker for makeup and puppet effects.

The film was re-released in 1977 with a massive TV publicity campaign which featured a trailer showing a basinette with the creature's claws hanging out one side. Many considered the trailer more frightening than the actual film, which is regarded by many as campy.

Surprisingly, in view of the fact that some countries (Finland among them) banned the film, the movie received a PG rating in the United States.

As of 2005, Cohen has bought the rights for a remake of the film but so far nothing more has been heard of this. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It%27s_Alive_%28movie%29 [Nov 2005]

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