1. Utch hides inside a cow, The 158-Pound Marriage (1974)

The unnamed protagonist of John Irving’s third novel, about two couples who switch partners, extols the patience and forbearance of his Austrian-born wife, Anna. Both her patience and her nickname, Utch (taken from the Georgian slang for “cow”), are traced back to the day in WWII when her mother, rightfully fearing her fate at the hands of the occupying Russians, sewed the 7-year-old child inside one of their remaining milk cows. Knowing that, as Irving puts it, the Russians were renowned for being “awful with women and kind to children,” Utch’s mother (already victimized repeatedly by the Germans and her own townspeople) takes no chances. Killing the cow, she slits it open, pulls out the intestines (leaving them to bake in the sun), then seals her daughter inside with a “long, slim bottle of chamomile tea and honey” for nourishment, carving out the cow’s anus for her to breathe through. The child lies silently inside the rotting cow for two days and nights—draped with the putrid intestines by her mother—as the invaders use the barn for all manner of thankfully unheard atrocities, only emerging once the soldiers’ attempt to remove the decaying corpse cause her to slide out, covered in gore, and looking like nothing so much as a newborn calf, born from a dead mother. Thankfully, the Russian commander sees the girl as a child, and adopts her, but Utch’s experience makes her eminently wary—and certainly sensible enough to cope with her husband, whose more self-serving entry into polyamory she eventually sees through, and flees. [Dennis Perkins]

2. Mick gets the jump on Wally by hiding inside a skinned croc, Crocodile Dundee II (1988)

Mick Dundee was a babe in the woods in Crocodile Dundee, a hearty cherub of a man navigating rough and tumble mid-’80s NYC, armed with only naive charm and epically phallic knife. While foreign concepts were baffling (cocaine, prostitutes, street traffic), he was resourceful enough to disarm hostile pimps and crowd-surf crowded subways for loving reconciliations. In the second act of Croc II, Mick whisks his love Sue to Australia to protect her from South American drug lords, and the baddies don’t stand a chance as Mick uses his outback know-how to disarm them with bat guano and crocodile carcasses. Mick uses the latter as a clever ruse to steal the affable Wally away from the cartel, hiding inside the perfectly skinned pelt for an underwater attack/rescue. The disemboweling/skinning takes place off screen, but for the ever-resourceful Mick, the plan works perfectly, as he receives nary a bloodstain or scratch for his trouble. [Drew Fortune]

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3. Luke Skywalker survives via tauntaun, Star Wars: Episode V—The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Animals provide their owners with many things: loyalty, companionship, a place to keep warm after they’re dead. When Han Solo takes advantage of that last quality in The Empire Strikes Back, it’s not the first instance of someone (real or fictional) slicing open the belly of his pack animal to prevent another man from freezing to death, but it’s certainly the most famous. In one of the only times a non-Jedi gets to brandish a lightsaber, Han uses Luke Skywalker’s weapon to spill out the dead tauntaun’s guts on the snow like boiled noodles, thus making plenty of room for his dying friend to stay toasty until someone can rescue them. While not the most scientifically accurate scene, it’s one of the more iconic moments in Empire and unquestionably belongs in the “guys burrowing inside dead animals” hall of fame. Also, it inspired a cool (and cute!) sleeping bag. [Dan Caffrey]

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4. Hugh Glass snuggles up inside a dead horse, The Revenant (2015)

It’s one thing to understand the concept of a fictional character sleeping in a dead animal, but it’s another thing all together to see them actually prep said animal for habitation. That’s the case in a much-talked-about scene in The Revenant when Leonardo DiCaprio’s Hugh Glass takes a nasty fall off a cliff on his horse, only to find his trusty steed has perished after taking the plunge. Rather than let a good warm dead body go to waste, Glass gets to work cutting open the horse, then thumps each of its vital organs out on the snowy ground in a set of visuals that make viewers keenly aware of just how big a horse’s liver can be. Once the whole thing’s empty enough for his liking, Glass strips down and hops in before the scene fades out. Viewers see him again only when he wakes in what we assume is the morning and finds himself both surprisingly warm and covered in a thin glaze of congealed dead horse goo. There’s probably a lesson in there somewhere, but what it is beyond “you can sleep in a horse if you’re really desperate and have a big knife” is anyone’s guess. [Marah Eakin]

5. Bart and Homer Simpson take refuge in kangaroos, The Simpsons (1995)

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In the season six classic “Bart Vs. Australia,” the Simpsons travel to Australia because Bart has fun afoul of the nation’s government after pulling a prank on some of the unsuspecting hill folk who live there. (Australians are portrayed as comically backward.) Naturally, the situation only escalates once the Simpsons reach Australia, where Bart and Homer end up being pursued by an angry mob. Thinking they’ll make a fast getaway by hopping into the pouches of kangaroos, Bart and Homer learn a slimy lesson: Those gooey pouches are made for kangaroo babies, not oafish Americans. “Eww, it’s not like it is in the cartoons,” Bart says. “Yeah,” replies Homer, “there’s a lot more mucus.” [Kyle Ryan]

6. Rob Roy gets intimately familiar with a dead cow’s insides, Rob Roy (1995)

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If someone’s forced to hide inside an animal carcass, chances are they’re at a pretty low point in their life. In the case of Scottish highlander Rob Roy MacGregor (Liam Neeson), his cattle, land, and wife have all been defiled by English aristocrat Archibald Cunningham (Tim Roth), whose troops pursue MacGregor after he’s managed to escape. Luckily (or unluckily), he finds a suitable hiding spot inside a dead highland cow, its corpse lying bloated in a stream. Since the camera shows the interior of the animal after MacGregor’s gutted it with a piece of wood and removed its innards, the viewer becomes privy to all the nasty anatomical details: the graying stomach, the ropy entrails, the swarm of maggots wriggling inside and out. Tripe, anyone? [Dan Caffrey]

7. Hyenas skulk from inside an elephant skull, The Lion King (1994)

At first, an elephant graveyard seems like the ideal place for lion cubs Simba and Nala to go exploring, a playground where the slides are swooping tusks and the tunnels are enormous ribcages. But what begins as thrilling quickly becomes horrific as hungry laughter echoes from inside one of the dead animal’s skulls. Three hyenas emerge from its various sockets, sending the cubs dashing across the graveyard and into the hollowed stomach cavity of another skeleton. It probably doesn’t smell great, but it’s far better to be inside the belly of a dead elephant than a live hyena. And since The Lion King is a Disney film, the nightmare ends quickly once Simba’s imposing father, Mufasa, rescues them. [Dan Caffrey]

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8. A mariner is intentionally swallowed by a whale, “The Mariner’s Revenge Song” (2005)

The title character in one of The Decemberists’ most beloved tracks doesn’t exactly plan to get swallowed by a whale, but, unlike Geppetto and Jonah, he embraces it once it happens. That’s because he’s in pursuit of the rake who took his mother’s money, then abandoned her when she got sick; a rake who’s left as the only other survivor of the whaling disaster. As his two creations sit facing each other, frontman Colin Meloy lays out the architectural features of the giant mammal with characteristically dark humor—its ribs are ceiling beams, its guts are carpeting—before the hero tells the villain exactly who he is and exactly what he’s going to do to him. It’s as if Herman Melville and Quentin Tarantino teamed up to pen a bizarro maritime epic, with Melville responsible for the adventure and Tarantino responsible for the seaweed-thick tension. [Dan Caffrey]

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