Pregnancy can be one of the most emotional life experiences for a woman, so it's probably not the best time for an expecting mom to watch some gory horror flick -- especially one involving traumatic childbirth scenes or potentially demonic fetuses.
The debate of whether or not to watch gnarly horror flicks while pregnant is a familiar one for local cult film guru Andrea Beesley, who's both a longtime horror movie buff and an expectant mother.
The "Midnite Movie Mamacita" and fiancé Jeremiah Wilkerson are less than six weeks away from becoming parents, and she has a few words of movie wisdom to share with moms-to-be.
Beesley's spent plenty of time watching horror movies, and is getting ready to launch her new online horror film series, The Dr. Diabolic Show, where she and Wilkerson will recreate the b-movie programs that used to dominate UHF TV stations of yesteryear and show throwback slasher flicks on the Web.
6. Prometheus (2012)
Ridley Scott's quasi-prequel to Alien involves a plotline where (spoiler alert) protagonist Elizabeth Shaw somehow becomes impregnated with an otherworldly offspring and attempts to remove it, which Beesley describes as a "disturbing" scene to watch.
"She has this alien fetus inside her that kinda looks like an octopus or squid or something and has to abort it herself with the aid of a highly advanced robotic machine," she says. "It's quite ridiculous and over-the-top and traumatic. She gets all stapled up and has to kick ass after aborting this creature."
5. Dead Alive (1992)
Braindead clip 'Baby Kitchen' by Horrorant Peter Jackson's comical cult horror flick (released in his native New Zealand as Braindead) has been described as "one of the goriest films of all time." There's plenty of slapstick action to go along with the blood and guts, including the hijinks of a zombie infant running amok.
"Its like this demon thing that causes all this chaos," Beesley describes. "The heroine tries killing it with a blender but it flies out the window and hits some guy in the nuts. In the ending, the hero also gets sucked into the womb of his mother, who's become a huge zombie, and he has to break out her uterus." Needless to say, its a nutty film, which Beesley says isn't for everyone. "Its kind of hilarious and I can't be scared by that at all, but others might find it a bit too much."
4. Inside (2007) While Beesley hasn't seen this French horror film, after watching the trailer and hearing about it from friends, she's pretty certain that it's something that most expectant mothers wouldn't want to see.
"I've just heard about how disturbing it is. Like, its really quite graphic. I remember seeing the trailer with these really sharp, pointy scissors," she says. "It's basically about a demented person chasing after a lady who is pregnant and wanting to cut out her fetus and take her baby."
3. Grace (2009) What if your baby was born as an undead creature that desperately craves blood instead of milk? Such is the scenario of this indie horror flick starring Jordan Ladd as a mother named Madeline who'd do anything to feed her monstrous infant.
"There's this car accident where the baby dies but she decides to keep it inside her. It turns out that it survives and needs blood to survive, so the mother essentially she starts feeding the baby raw meat and eventually kills someone for their blood," Beesley says. "It goes to show the undying love of a mother that will go to any lengths to feed and care for her child. There are also plenty of creepy images where you see the baby breastfeeding except instead of milk its drinking blood. That's pretty gross."
2. Dawn of the Dead (2004)The remake of George Romero's iconic zombie flick features an expectant mother among the survivors trapped in a shopping mall and fending off the undead.
"Oh, how convenient - there's a pregnant woman as part of the group who gets infected and gives birth to a zombie baby that winds up getting shot. You don't see the baby die, since it cuts to a longshot of the mall and you hear the gunshot ring out," Beesley says. "That was especially traumatic because you'd like to think that even in the zombie apocalypse there's gotta be new life. But in this case, there isn't. And it's pretty sad."
1. Rosemary's Baby (1968) Roman Polanski's landmark horror film of a naïve mother giving birth to the antichrist is upsetting for many reasons. One of them, Beesley explains, is that the Satan-worshiping witchcraft practitioners want to claim the titular character's baby for themselves.
"A lot of mothers fear not having control over the birthing situation and this film plays into those anxieties," Beesley says. "It's also disturbing because everyone's against Rosemary and in the end she has to submit and go along with raising Satan's child, which is kind of depressing and weird. It's almost absurd that even though her partner has made a deal with the devil and she's surrounded by all these Satan worshippers, her maternal instincts are so powerful that she decides to care for the child."
Wilkerson and Beesely (who plays the role of Dr. Diabolic and Nurse Narcotica, respectively) will also stage monthly screenings of scary movies at venues like the Phoenix Art Museum. Beesley says lineup probably won't include any movies involving horrific pregnancies.
"That's probably the last thing I'd want to see right now," she says, laughing.
Dr. Diabolic's Traveling Roadshow and Fun-Time Variety Hour takes place at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 6, at Phoenix Art Museum. Admission is $10.