Only about five people saw the 1989 flop My Mom’s A Werewolf. I was one one of them. But it did raise an interesting issue: mothers that kill! Here’s some of my favourites.
There’s been enough talk, certainly in British film recently, of an uncontrollable feral youth plaguing society – particularly the wholesome, educated values of the middle class – that we forget to look behind the curtain.
Back at home mum bakes cakes, does the ironing while watching Eastenders and has supper ready and on the table by six o’clock. It is all sweet smiles and flowery aprons. Or is it? Some mums aren’t programmed the same way as rational human beings. Sometimes they don’t know how to love, at other times they love their “little” ones too much. From time to time, Hollywood shines a light on female monstrosity as displayed by Mother. These are my favourite ten.
10. The Queen (Aliens, 1986)
James Cameron had to up the ante in Aliens after Ridley Scott’s classic original. He did it by upping the number of monstrous aliens and introducing us to their mum who has a momentous duel with superwoman Ripley leading to the classic line: “Get away from her you bitch!”
9. Mrs Loomis/Debbie Salt (Laurie Metcalf, Scream 2, 1997)
Another mother who loved too much – Billy Loomis’ mum takes revenge Mrs Voorhees style on the poor kids at Windsor College. She’s annoyed that her serial-killing son got a bullet in the head in Scream 1 so enacts a few horror film sequel clichés on her way to a similar demise.
8. Vera (Elizabeth Moody, Braindead ake Dead Alive, 1992)
Poor Lionel has to care for his bloodthirsty mother after she gets bitten by a Sumatran Rat-Monkey and turns into a ravenous zombie in Peter Jackson’s gore fest.
7. Mrs Mott (Rebecca De Mornay, The Hand That Rocks The Cradle, 1992)
After losing her baby during pregnancy, unstable widow Mrs Mott becomes the nanny to the family she blames for a multitude of things including failing to get her grubby hands on her dead husband’s money.
6. Beverly Sutphin (Kathleen Turner, Serial Mom, 1994)
John Waters turns his attention to the story of serial-killing suburban housewife Beverly Sutphin. It doesn’t matter how you cross her, whether you’re not doing your recycling properly or stealing her favoured car park spot at the local supermarket, it is off-with-your-head!
5. Nola Carveth (Samantha Eggar, The Brood, 1979)
Nola spends most of her time at crackpot psychotherapist Oliver Reed’s secluded institute birthing part-human children from a sac protruding from her stomach. These entities then go around killing various people in increasingly horrible ways.
4. Mother (Helen Horton, Alien, 1979)
The disembodied voice representing spaceship the Nostromo’s master computer system is curiously known as Mother. Like Hal in Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, this macabre, god-like controller of all things “life support” is unnervingly powerful in the great outer reaches of space.
3. Mrs Voorhees (Betsy Palmer, Friday the 13th, 1980)
The mother who loved her son too much. Mrs Voorhees is out for revenge, stalking the furiously horny teenagers at Camp Crystal Lake, blaming them for the death of her son.
2. Norman Bates’ Mother (Psycho, 1960)
The most infamous Mother is also the most incapacitated yet that doesn’t stop her. While we only get a fleeting glance at Norman Bates’ mom, it is enough to make her appearance a chilling memory.
1. Margaret (Piper Laurie, Carrie, 1976)
God-fearing fanatic Margaret would rather see her pubescent daughter Carrie White burn at the stake than have an orgasm. The scariest mother ever to grace the cinema screen is brilliantly brought to chilling life by Piper Laurie.
Written and compiled by Daniel Stephens.
Your turn – who are the scariest mothers on film?
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