The Best (Or Worst) Horror Movie Mothers

May 11, 20140 Comments

Happy Mother’s Day!

Today is the perfect time to look back at some of cinema’s best (or worst) mothers in the horror genre. So, in no particular order…

1. Mother/Norma Bates – Psycho (1960) and Bates Motel (2013)

Mother was an unforgettable character in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, even though it turned out she was nothing but a corpse. Her impact on the horror genre is huge and continues to grow with Vera Farmiga who plays the living Norma Bates in A&E’s Bates Motel. When you think mother, you think Mrs. Bates.

2. Mrs. Voorhees – Friday the 13th (1980)

She seemed like a sweet old lady when she first pulled up in her vehicle, but Mrs. Voorhees proved that looks are deceiving. We learn that her son, Jason, drowned years prior at the camp and that she’s been killing counselors for revenge. She’ll do anything to avenge her son and keep the camp closed. She truly loved her child, unlike some of these other mothers, which makes this tale quite tragic.

If Scream taught you anything, it’s that Jason was not the killer in Friday the 13th.

3. Mrs. White – Carrie (1976)

She has a serious mental problem in which she thinks everything is sinful and she’s not afraid to take it out on her daughter, Carrie. When she wasn’t quoting the Bible to her daughter, she was hitting her with it. Carrie may have been the result of marital rape and Mrs. White projected a lot of her own emotional insecurities onto her child. In the end, the other kids did laugh at her, but Carrie definitely got some revenge.

Now go to your closet.

4. Mum/Vera Cosgrove – Dead Alive/Braindead (1992)

When Lionel’s mother is bitten by a Sumatran rat-monkey from Skull Island (home of King Kong) she gets sick and dies. However, that’s only the beginning of this hilariously, bloody flick from Peter Jackson. Mum comes back to life, killing and eating dogs, nurses, friends, and neighbors. I highly recommend the film. It’s like New Zealand’s version of Evil Dead.

Your Mother ate my dog!

5. Lucy Harbin – Strait-Jacket (1964)

Lucy Harbin (Joan Crawford) has been in an asylum for 20 years after axing her husband and his mistress who were having an affair. What’s worse is that her young daughter Carol witnessed the murder. While trying to renew ties with Carol, who is now a young woman about to be married, heads begin to roll again.

Is Lucy repeating her past?

6. Mommy – The People Under the Stairs (1991)

When a little boy named Fool learns that his landlord is evicting everyone from their apartment complex, a family friend decides to break into the landlord’s home and steal their belongings. However, Fool learns that these sadistic parents aren’t husband and wife, but actually brother and sister. They kidnap children and keep them locked up in their basement.

Run when you see a gimp suit.

7. Joan Crawford – Mommie Dearest (1981)

Joan Crawford twice!? Well, kind of. This film is based on the book about Hollywood actress Joan Crawford written by her adopted daughter Christina Crawford. Joan decides to adopt children to fill a void in her life. Yet, her problems with alcohol, men, and the pressures of show business get in the way of her personal life, turning her into a mentally abusive wreck seen through the eyes of Christina and her brother Christopher. “The Most Beautiful House in Brentwood” houses a lunatic.

Oh, and don’t use wire hangers unless you like beatings.

8. Mother – Mother’s Day (1980)

Three girls discover that two men are willing to do anything to impress Mother and what impresses Mother is watching these guys commit heinous acts. The movie is directed by Charles Kaufman and produced by his brother Lloyd Kaufman and Troma Entertainment. Since it’s a Troma picture, expect a lot of violence, nudity, and absurd comedy.

9. Mama – Mama (2013)

Annabel and Lucas are faced with the challenge of raising his young nieces that were left alone in the forest for 5 years…. but were they really alone? This horror film is produced by Guillermo del Toro and directed by Andres Muschietti. I would have enjoyed it more if it weren’t so CGI heavy.

10. Rosemary Woodhouse – Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Rosemary and her struggling actor husband, Guy, move into an apartment building in New York where the neighbors are a little odd. Despite Rosemary’s suspicions and the weird noises that she keeps hearing, Guy starts spending time with Roman and Minnie Castevet. Soon, Guy lands a big Broadway role and Minnie starts showing up with homemade treats for Rosemary. When Rosemary becomes pregnant after a nightmare of being raped by a beast, the Castevets take a special interest in her welfare. The terrifying truth is revealed only after Rosemary gives birth.

Aren’t you his mother?

Honorable mention:

Ripley – Aliens (1986)

The more action-packed sequel to Alien finds Ripley returning with some Marines to the planet where her crew first encountered the Xenomorph. The planet had been colonized, but appears abandoned. The only survivor they find is a little girl nicknamed Newt. While Newt may not be Ripley’s real daughter, Ripley’s maternal instincts kick in and she becomes a badass “mother” figure.

Get away from her, you bitch.

There have been a lot of crazy mothers throughout motion picture history. Which are some of your favorites?

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