It began like any other maternity photo shoot.
The smiling father is shown standing behind his partner with his hand lovingly placed on her rounded belly. In another shot, he’s shown kneeling and kissing her stomach as they pose in a scenic pumpkin patch.
As the series progresses, however, the charming maternity shoot takes a very dark and very unexpected turn.
Inspired by the iconic “chestburster” scene in the 1979 science-fiction film “Alien,” Todd Cameron’s wife Nicole pretends to give birth to a grotesque alien creature fittingly named “Burston.”
The photos show the couple from Nanaimo, B.C. reacting in horror as a long snake-like creature with sharp teeth appears to pierce its way out of Nicole’s belly in a gruesome bloodbath.
Following its “birth,” the alien creature looks like it is slithering through the pumpkin patch before Cameron is able to catch it.
The album ends with the parents-to-be cuddling the newest addition to their family, which has been outfitted with a fuzzy blanket and pacifier, no less.
“Me and Nicole are really just centred on having fun and being silly. As my wife has been known to say many times ‘If you’re not laughing on a regular basis then it’s not worth it,’ and this has definitely brought a ton of laughter not only to us, but to a lot of people around the world,” he told CTVNews.ca on Thursday.
The horror-themed photo shoot has gone viral since Cameron shared it on Facebook on Tuesday evening. Since then, the post has already received more than 100,000 reactions and more than 225,000 shares.
Cameron said he came up with the idea when he came across an unopened model of the infant “Chestburster,” or Xenomorph, at a garage sale in early August.
“I brought it home and put it together and painted it up and as I was doing that I kind of had this idea for a possible maternity shoot because she [Nicole] was saying how much her baby bump felt like an alien – there’s elbows and different things coming out in every direction – so I thought it would be a fun idea,” he explained.
Luckily for Cameron, his wife wasn’t set on having a traditional photo shoot anyway. With their baby due on Oct. 17, they decided a Halloween theme would be perfect.
“We’re both super into Halloween. We met each other on Halloween. Nicole was dressed as a super awesome zombie – best one I’ve seen – and I was dressed as Ace Ventura the Pet Detective with the full tutu so we’ve always done awesome handmade costumes and dressing up,” he said.
On a drizzly afternoon earlier this month, the couple and photographer Li Carter set out for McNab’s Corn Maze in Ladysmith, B.C. for the now-famous photo shoot.
“It was so hard not to laugh,” he recalled. “I have to give Nicole the hero credit for being barefoot in a flimsy nightgown in the wet and cold and still being able to laugh and put herself through all that just to get some good pictures.”
It’s not the first time the couple has gone all out for a photo shoot.
Cameron said they’ve been working with Carter for five years on various projects, including three “Back to the Future”-themed shoots, a spread where he dressed up as a sasquatch, and a “Big Lebowski”-inspired series where he recreated the movie in 40 different shots for his 40th birthday.
None of those other photoshoots have garnered quite the same response as the maternity one has, however. Cameron said he’s received messages from people all over the world, including numerous media outlets in the U.S.
“We just wanted to share something for our friends and family and this has just kind of taken off like crazy,” he said. “It’s exciting.”
As for what’s to become of little “Burston” when the new baby arrives, Cameron said it will still be allowed to stay in the home.
“It’s going to hang out with me… much to my wife’s probable trepidation,” he said.
In fact, the alien creature even has its own Instagram account already.
“We’re just going to show what it’s like the life of raising a Xenomorph in the modern tech era.”
“With a baby in the house, it’s not the safest plan,” he added with a laugh.