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Chest Burster

"The truth is Earth citizens are no longer willing to do these dull, labor-intensive tasks. We tried using illegal aliens instead, but they kept bursting out of people's chests."
Plan 7 of 9 from Outer Space

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. This is achieved in a messy, painful, and almost always fatal manner.

Related to Orifice Evacuation (where the alien leaves not quite as violently), Orifice Invasion (where an alien wants in), Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong (how these alien pregnancies start), and Spawn Broodling (often the point of this, and the weaponized version of this). Sometimes preceded by a Painful Transformation.

Not to be confused with Chest Blaster or Chest Monster.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • 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 
  • HUMANOID Szayel Aporro Grantz does this in Bleach. He impregnates the victim with himself, being "reborn" fully grown upon death.
  • 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. While it isn't born this way, during the Eclipse an unusually small Apostle bursts out of Gaston's head in a similar manner.
    • Being raped by a Troll runs the horrific risk of getting a woman pregnant with multiple troll spawn. These young trolls grow quickly in the woman, until they claw and rip their way out of her stomach, than eat her still warm body.
  • The USBM from BioMeat.
  • 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.
  • In Hunter × Hunter the Chimera Ant King bursts out of his mother the Queen this way, shredding most of her internal organs in the process. The Queen eventually dies despite the Hunters' medical intervention but Colt is able to save her last unborn child who turns out to be Kaito reincarnated.
  • Played With in Hakkenden Touhou Hakken Ibun as Murasame bursts out of Shino's arm. And that's more to do with that is where he resides as Shino is his vessel.

    Comicbooks 
  • 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?
  • In the Accursed volume of The Darkness, Jackie creates a woman out of The Darkness to satisfy his needs. She ends up becoming pregnant with a child made of pure darkness, which, naturally, emerges by ripping her stomach apart.

    Fan Fic 

    Film 
  • The Xenomorph life cycle in Alien is the Trope Namer and Trope Codifier in modern media.
  • Spoofed in Spaceballs, when a spoiled sandwich in a greasy spoon diner resulted in a chestbursting alien that then grabbed a top hat and cane and made a further parody of Michigan Frog from Looney Tunes. Made even funnier by the fact that the guy it happened to was played by the same actor.
  • Species II 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.
  • In Prometheus, the Deacon skips the Xenomorph's Chest Burster stage and rips its way out of the Engineer's chest already a humanoid.
    • And that thing came from a chestburster that very nearly killed Shaw had she not quickly gotten it removed- made all the worse by the fact that her crewmates actively refused to help her, and she had to resort to the use of a machine programmed for men which cut her open and removed it while she was still fully conscious.
    • And before that there's a strange, facehugger-like creature apparently coming from mutated worms. When confronted, this thing will latch onto its victim, and much like the facehugger, getting it off is easier said than done, since attempting to remove it only causes it to tighten its grip, and cutting it releases a highly corrosive acid. Then the creature in question actually works it's way into the victim's mouth and in the process causes them to suffocate to death while it does... something in their body- probably reproduce.

    Literature 
  • The "shit-weasels" in Stephen King's Dreamcatcher have a particularly nasty exit: chewing out of people's butts.
  • In The Cat From Hell, a cat crawls into a hitman's mouth, and then is seen the next day having clawed a hole out of the stomach.
  • 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 Voyage of the Space Beagle.
  • The Dresden Files: In the first book Harry has to investigate a series of murders in which the victims' chest cavities exploded and their hearts flung out.
  • 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. The way it's phrased, it's not clear if this is actually necessary for it to reproduce, or just something it does because it's misogynistic to the extreme and considers this a form of punishment and expression of power. Oh, and the rape dynamics in that description are definitely intentional.
  • Given a Shout-Out in both the novel K-PAX and its film adaptation when prot[sic] first tells Dr. Brewer he's from another planet.
  • '50s science fiction author Zenna Henderson is best known as the creator of The People, full of Christian ideology and sugary goo, but she could write psychological horror with the best of'em. In "The Last Step", she almost casually described alien invaders with zap guns that give you a little prick. In a few hours it swells up to the size of an orange and is extremely painful. Cutting it open relieves it, and also releases a zillion tiny creatures with pointy little feet— which scramble out and run everywhere, pricking your skin (and everybody else's) on the way. And then those pricked places...
  • One of Brian Aldiss's stories has a non-lethal example: the crew of a spaceship are horrified when a parasitic worm burrows its way out of a man on a planet they're visiting. The victim is pretty sick, but survives.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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: Crime Scene Investigation, of all places. 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 initially thought it was the gas that normally builds up during decomposition, but it wasn't.
  • Similar to above, an escaped pet boa constrictor emerged from its owner's corpse on Bones, having curled up inside the mangled body's chest cavity because it was warm in there.
  • 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.)
  • Invoked in Sanctuary. Abby is infected with an abnormal parasite that will soon take over her body entirely. Magnus concocts a risky solution: Implant another abnormal into Abby's body which will cause the parasite to stop trying to convert Abby and jump to the other abnormal. It then escapes Abby's body chest burster-style.

    Mythology 
  • 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 
  • 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 
  • In Mortasheen, this is the creature Depraven's main attack.
  • Warhammer: The alien scene is spoofed in 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. This rule was later incorporated into a different Tyranid, the Hero Unit called the Parasite of Mortex, after the nature of the genestealers was tweaked.
    • The Barbed Strangler weapon which, in early rules, would instantly kill the target due to a seed pod instantly growing into a sentient mutated vine cluster from inside the body and scything through people nearby.
  • 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.
    • The phaerimms from the Forgotten Realms setting reproduce like some wasps. They paralyze the target with a sting, then inject an egg.
  • In Deadlands, Prairie Ticks are giant ticks which somehow have mouthpieces too weak to penetrate skin. So, they crawl down a person's mouth into their stomach to suck blood from their softer innards. And seeing as how the basic tick is about the size of a fist and, like a normal tick, they expand to 200 times their original size, when they detach and crawl back out, it usually kills the host.

    Theatre 

    Video Games 
  • 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.
  • In Resident Evil 6, we get the Rasklapanje, a creature similar to the Regeneradors from Resident Evil 4. They infect others by drilling a hole into the victim's face and planting a parasite, which, in seconds, bursts out from the victims chest, fully grown.
  • 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.
  • X-COM Enemy Unknown:
    • Chryssalids. 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.
    • Tentuculats in the sequel work the same way. Except they're flying brain squids, but worse.
  • Devil Survivor has the boss battle with Belzaboul 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 Eternal Darkness, Bonethieves have a disgusting habit of forcing themselves into the body of a victim and using it as a cheap suit to attack the bearers of the Tome of Eternal Darkness. When the host bodies have taken enough damage, the Bonethief will blow its way out in a shower of gore, greatly damaging your Sanity and proceeding to attack you. It kills you, it gets a new host. Maximillian's ravings and paranoid fear of the Bonethieves are quite justified in-game, as it's revealed that at least one of the servants he slaughtered was indeed a Bonethief host.
  • 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.
  • The facehuggers in Alien: Resurrection implant the player character with these, just like in the films, and you have only a short time to find an Auto Doc before they hatch.
  • Covetous ends this way, with the parasitic twin emerging from its brother's stomach, killing him.
  • Starcraft II Heart Of The Swarm: in one mission Kerrigan implants a Zerg larva into a Protoss prisoner then allows her ship to "rescue" her. Once it's on board the larva bursts out of her chest and starts sneaking around the ship infesting and bursting out of several lab animals until it accumulates enough biomass to mutate into a Brood Mother.

    Webcomics 

    Web Originals 

    Western Animation 
  • 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.
  • In the first episode of Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi 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"
  • Parodied in Family Guy, a video about talking about gay people had scene where a gay man was syringed by a doctor he suddenly spouted acid blood, and a full grown Xenomorph burst out of him attacking the doctor.
  • Parodied twice in the "Summerween" episode of Gravity Falls. Firstly, Grunkle Stan tries to pull one of these in his attempt to scare some snarky Trick Or Treaters, but it turns out unsuccessful; the fact that he used a cute and cuddly pig might have something to do with that. Later on, Soos eats his way out of the Summerween Trickster and comes out in a similar fashion.
  • The title characters of Sanjay And Craig fake this as a distraction to sneak into a hospital, with Craig (a snake) bursting out of Sanjay's shirt.
  • Robot Chicken has this happen to Elroy in a sketch where an alien invades The Jetsons' house.
  • Parodied in the Codename: Kids Next Door episode "Operation: L.I.C.E.", in which a giant lice parasite bursts though Numbah Five's hat.

    Real Life 
  • The Real Life scientific term for a creature (usually an insect species) that does this to other species is a parasitoid.
  • Several insects reproduce in this way, planting their eggs inside another insect.
  • 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.
  • 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 said, "Get this 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).
  • 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.
  • 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 eventually leaves the ant as a husk. It will then grow out of the ant's 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.


Came from the SkyAlien TropesCrop Circles
Butt BiterAnatomy AgonyClip Its Wings
Cessation of ExistenceOlder Than DirtChild Eater
Centrifugal GravitySpeculative Fiction TropesSpawn Broodling
Built with LEGOImageSource/OtherColor-Coded Wizardry
Bug WarEvil Is VisceralSpawn Broodling
The Chain of HarmHorror TropesSpawn Broodling
Bizarre Sexual DimorphismBizarre Alien BiologySpawn Broodling

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