Chest Burster

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Leggo of my spleen!

Body Horror where an alien parasite or a Fetus Terrible within someone else decides it's about time to move out and find a body of its own. Often times, it does this in a fairly messy, painful and always fatal manner.

It can also often be a Painful Transformation along the way, before actually getting rid of the parasite, and the trope exists to be Nightmare Fuel.

Related to Orifice Evacuation (where the alien leaves not quite as violently), Orifice Invasion (where any alien wants in), Face Full of Alien Wingwong (how these alien pregnancies start), and Spawn Broodling (often the point of this).

Not to be confused with Chest Blaster or Chest Monster.

Examples of Chest Burster include:

Advertising[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Parodied in the 2004 Nik Naks advert where the eater of the Nik Naks (crisps) has a giant one explode out of his chest, as everybody around him is splattered with dusty cheese. After an awkward moment they all start dancing.


Anime & Manga[edit | hide]

  • HUMANOID Szayel Aporro Grantz does this in Bleach, thanks to his Naughty Tentacles. He impregnates the victim with himself, being "reborn" fully grown upon death. Believe it or not, that's not the most squicky part of this scene or its aftermath.
  • The Six Gates World franchise is fond of this. In Mon Colle Knights, Oroboros does this to its host, the Dread Dragon. In Majuutsukai No Shoujo, Kashe uses her own body as host for a demon, which ends up growing through her skin from all sides and eventually around her. After overcoming its mindrape from the inside, Kashe then chestbursts from it.
  • This is how Yuca Collabel resurrects himself after a two month gestation period. He probably wouldn't have fit out the normal way since he had already aged to the form of a prepubescent boy in utero.
  • Several of Berserk's nastier monsters are born this way, such as the Trolls of the Qlippoth and the demon soldiers of Emperor Ganishka.
  • The USBM from Bio-Meat: Nectar.
  • Parodied in the final episode of Bobobo-Bo Bo-bobo.
  • Parodied in one of the omake for Blue Exorcist. Rin hides his tail under his shirt and uses it to mimic the chest burster scene around Shiemi, who passes out from shock. Yukio is not amused.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • In one of the first issues of Spawn, the hellion comes up against a heavily armored cyborg. As Spawn notes, that armor is like a safe: meant to keep people out, not in. And now he has an array of reality altering powers at his command....

Spawn: Ever see Alien?

Film[edit | hide]

"Oh, no, not again!"

  • Species 2 had a wonderful scene with a woman who just had sex becoming visibly pregnant almost immediately, and splitting open.
  • An homage appears to the chestburster scene in Shrek 2, when fighting Puss. Puss comes bursting out of Shrek's shirt at chest level, hissing and clawing.
  • Happens to Jesse in A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge, when Freddy cuts his way out of his body.
  • The first Xtro has a woman being impregnated by an alien entity, with the offspring (a fully grown man) exploding out of her the next day.
  • This is oddly the method in which The Devil possesses people in The Dark Side of the Moon, leaving a perfect triangle-shaped hole in their lower torso when he exits.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • The "shit-weasels" in Stephen King's Dreamcatcher have a particularly nasty exit: chewing out of people's butts.
  • Reneesme from the Twilight series. An odd version given that she is the daughter of the two lead characters. Yep. Pure. Unadultered. Horror. Written for teenaged girls. The character from whom she burst survives only by Emergency Transformation.
  • Implied of A.E. van Vogt's Ixtl.
  • In the first book of The Dresden Files, Harry has to investigate a series of murders in which the victims' chest cavities exploded and their hearts flung out.
    • In addition, in one of his short stories he goes up against the grendel, a super-powerful beast from norse mythology that has to make itself fertile with mead and rape a virgin to reproduce. The offspring comes is said to rip its way out of the womb, killing the victim.
  • In Speaker for the Dead, it is revealed that infant piggies eat their way out of their mother's body as a natural part of their reproductive cycle. This is actually one of the less weird aspects of their biology.
  • The eponymous Rawhead Rex from one of Clive Barker's short story anthology was mentioned as having a reproduction cycle that involved impregnating human women and having their young burst out of their bodies.


Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • One episode of The X-Files contained a parasitic fungus that made its victim burst open, spreading spores to surrounding people. All the scarier, since because this was an early episode, the concept exists in Real Life. Admittedly, it parasitizes ants, but...
  • This is how the Magog reproduce in Andromeda
  • The TV Show Fringe really enjoys this one, and in just one and a half seasons has featured monster larva, monster parasites, giant slug/monster viruses, and monster babies all bursting out of unwitting human hosts.
  • Stargate Universe had these in "Time," repeatedly popping out of the away team's bodies after burrowing in to eat their juicy insides. They got better.
  • Happened in CSI, of all places. To clarify, it was a rat that burst out of a drowned body's squishy chest (freaking out Grissom and Doc Robbins) and ran amok in the lab. Robbins intially thought it was the gas that normally builds up during decomposition, but it wasn't.
  • Angel: The episode "Lonely Hearts" had a parasitic demon that lept between victims, coming out of the chest of the old host, and burrowing into the back of the new one, after it had sex with the next victim.
  • Done at least once on Stargate SG-1 with a Go'auld which had to exit one host and transfer to another in order to survive. (Tanith, the seeming Double Agent turned triple agent.)


Mythology[edit | hide]

  • Good ol' Zeus has survived more than his fair share of this trope: first, when Athena sprang (fully formed and clad in armor) out of his head, and another time, when Dionysus was born out of his leg (though in this case Zeus had actually stitched him up in there beforehand).


Newspaper Comics[edit | hide]

  • Parodied in The Far Side, which shows a xenomorph family sitting down for dinner and one of the juveniles playing with the food—actually, in the food.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • In Mortasheen, this is the creature Depraven's main attack.
  • The alien scene is spoofed in Warhammer Fantasy Battle adventure Castle Drahenfels.
    • Warhammer 40,000 had rules in earlier editions that allowed genestealers (think xenomorphs minus the acid blood) to implant eggs into models in close combat. A young genestealer could hatch from the model on later turns, presumably Alien's style. There's also a Tyranid Hero Unit, called the Parasite of Mortex. It allows you to replace an enemy model with a ripper swarm.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons, one breed of Slaadi reproduces in this way (the adults have eggsacks in their finger and can implant an egg through a successful claw attack. The new slaad then grows inside the victim).
    • Carrion crawlers also lay their eggs inside other creatures, though they kill the creatures immediately prior to doing so. Typically, they paralyze their victims a couple days before laying eggs, and kill them right before the laying so the corpses will provide a reasonably fresh meal for their spawn.
    • One prestige class called the Blood Magus has, as it's most powerful ability, the power to teleport between the locations of any two living beings, with the option to deal damage to the destination creature. Guess how?
    • The Ixtl-Expy xill and an obscure creature called a gryph have a similar modus operandi.
    • In the Monster Manual II, there was also the Neogi, strange spider-like evil slavers whose method of reproduction involved laying eggs in aged demented Neogi called Great Old Masters. Said masters exist in constant rage and pain until they start spitting neogi spawn, which eat their way out of the thing's body.


Theatre[edit | hide]


Videogames[edit | hide]

  • One of Q-Bee's EX Special Attacks in the Darkstalkers series has her sting the enemy and encase them in a cocoon, whereupon she dies (she's a bee, after all) and another Q-Bee bursts out of the victim's back and continues the fight.
  • Parodied in Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti, the NES-only Super-Deformed sequel to Splatterhouse. At one point Rick encounters an unconscious girl on an operating table: suddenly, the girl's belly inflates and bursts, releasing lots and lots of little spiders. When Rick kills all of the spiders, the girl wakes up, being perfectly fine, and goes away!
    • In the first level of Splatterhouse 2 a boreworm enemy ejects itself from a zombie's chest in this fashion, effectually re-killing it.
  • In Resident Evil 2, either Ben or Chief Irons gets one of these from the mutated William Birkin.
  • Don't get kissed by the Xenomorph-lookalike in Space Quest II, or it will impregnate Roger with one of these, hatching out of him near the end of the game.
  • Chryssalids, in X-COM Enemy Unknown. First, they inject you with an egg, which zombifies you and makes you attack other humans. Once zombie you has been killed, or the Chryssalid inside you matures enough, your entire body splits open, revealing a Chryssalid. The only way to prevent this is to kill the zombies with fire.
  • Devil Survivor has the boss battle with Belzeboul and his maggot minions, who spawn eggs in your party members and their demons. It's implied that this trope is at work when an egg hatches, because not only does a squad of maggots spawn next to the victim, the victim takes massive damage.
  • In Fate/stay night Heaven's Feel route, True Assassin comes to being by "eating" Assassin from inside.
  • One of Guile's special attacks is to teleport his wand into the enemy's stomach and then cause it to fly out.
  • Zuul reproduction in Sword of the Stars can result in this. They are marsupials, and the mothers' milk is a potent narcotic. As long as the mother is alive and produces milk, her children are in dreamland inside her pouch. If she dies, or becomes unable to produce milk... She becomes their first meal. More commonly (and less fatally to the Zuul), the Zuul mother removes the children from the pouch and leaves them near a suitable source of meat.
  • In Conkers Bad Fur Day Heinrich bursts out of the Panther King's chest after his defeat.


Webcomics[edit | hide]

Dr. Rosencrantz: ...And to be honest, I'm less worried about seeing it in you than I am about seeing it out of you.

Web Originals[edit | hide]


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • In the first episode of Hi Hi Puffy Ami Yumi Show after Ami & Yumi get to the moon to ditch their Number 1 fan,she ends up bursting out of the front of Yumi's shirt.
  • Parodied in the "Itchy & Scratchy" segment in The Simpsons episode "Deep Space Homer"
  • Ace Ventura Pet Detective
    • In the crossover episode with The Mask Ace thinks an Alien is inside him, but it turns out Spike was in his clothes.
    • In the "Halloween Special" Ace does this with Spike and scares a high school principal.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • An urban legend speaks of a woman who went vacationing in South America and came back with what appeared to be a boil on her cheek. When the boil was lanced, it was revealed that a spider had laid its eggs in her cheek, and hundreds of newly-hatched spiders crawl out of the wound and across her face. Thankfully, no species of spider lays eggs in people.
    • Which was the basis for one of the stories in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.
  • If that qualifies.... Look up scabies. Mites burrowing into your skin and laying eggs which hatch to produce more mites that lay more eggs... also they periodically fall off and get all over everything, spreading them to everyone who dares to set foot anywhere you've been.
  • Several insects reproduce in this way, planting their eggs inside another insect. Voracious larvae eating their way out of a fat caterpillar are a fine Real Life example of Nightmare Fuel.
    • Or, better, spiders wasps. They paralize a spider with their sting and store it (some times, several) in a safe place, Before closing the entrance, an egg is laid on the victim. Once hatches, the larva will feed on the paralysed spider(s), and to make this terrifying not only the spider is alive while is being devoured, but also the larva avoids to eat soon the spider's most important organs (heart and nervous system), so it will not descompose so soon. In fact, it's stated they were the inspiration for this trope.
  • While not nearly as violent as some of the other examples, the Human Bot Fly certainly qualifies. As do a few other parasites that use human hosts.
  • There is a story about a man who became attached to his little bot fly. He decided to "carry it to term," so to speak, instead of having it removed. Then it started tearing its way slowly out and he basically said, "Get this freaking thing outta me!"
    • Leaving the thing in is actually often the better option, as killing it is likely to cause the wound to be infected unless the entire maggot can be removed (while alive it secretes antibiotics that keep the wound clean).
  • There is a type of fungus called Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, which possesses ants and controls them so it can make them crawl into a good spot to grow and reproduce in. After it forces the ant to go into a suitible spot it uses the sugars in the the ants body to live on and eventully leaves the ant as a husk. It will then grow out of the ants body, ripping it open.
  • Sea louse larvae do this to their mother.
  • The guinea worm is another example of this trope.
  • When a female Surinam toad lays eggs, the male fertilizes them and presses them into his mate's back. The eggs form pockets under the skin, and when they hatch, the tadpoles develop into mature frogs in these pockets. Eventually, the frogs burst from their mother's back. (WARNING: Not for the faint of heart.) Oddly enough, this is a completely benign example of the trope.