I DISMEMBER MOTHER

 

May 10th is Mother's Day and I would like to thank all the wretched cinematic mothers out there for giving me nightmares during my formative years. You ladies have awakened more fear in this growing boy than I knew possible. In honor of this special greeting-card-inspired holiday, I am going to shine a light on just a few of the truly special women in my life.

Psycho Cover

Norma Bates - Psycho (1960)

This lady knows how to keep her son in check. She may appear overbearing, but she means well and is quick to point out, "A boy's best friend is his mother." She technically never hurt a fly, but Norman may cry foul. Olivia Hussey (Psycho IV) brought her to life with surprising intensity and Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel) can be pretty damn intimidating. Here's a special shout-out to two bad mothers from Psycho II: Lila Crane (Vera Miles), who just couldn't let it go and manipulated her daughter into terrible acts, and Emma Spool (Claudia Bryar), who meddled with the wrong family and spilled her tea all over the clean kitchen floor!

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Friday The 13th Cover

Pamela Voorhees - Friday the 13th (1980)

A woman so devastated by the loss of her son at the careless hands of others that she deliberately destroyed countless families by slaughtering their innocent children. Betsy Palmer gives a stunning performance with minimal screen time. In an Honorable Mention, I'd like to single out the wretchedly wonderful Ethel (Carol Locatell, A New Beginning) for making the best goddamn stew in the whole wide world. On the flip-side, I'd like to extend a hearty "thumbs down" to Diana Kimble (Erin Grey, Jason Goes to Hell) for knowing her family's dark secret and insisting on staying in town to work a crummy waitressing job well into her late 40s, until her brother could come back for a final killing spree.

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Carrie Cover

Margaret White - Carrie

Never has a mother done so much for an ungrateful child than Margaret. Her daughter recklessly hurries into puberty and blames her sinful feelings on "telekinesis", which is likely a euphemism for Satan. No matter how many trips to the prayer closet, young Carrie is still a lost cause. Patricia Clarkson (2002) is fine in the role and Julianne Moore (2013) brings a dangerous emotional edge, but the part lives, breathes and dies with the unparalleled performance of the legendary Piper Laurie (1976).

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A Nightmare On Elm Street Cover

Marge Thompson - A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Marge is too busy looking for happiness at the bottom of a bottle, and cannot be bothered with taking responsibility for her part in the torching of a neighbor all those years ago. Even though her child was safe at home during the time, Marge jumped at the chance for some private justice when the fat and famous judge let the notorious Fred Krueger walk due to a technicality. Speaking of technicalities, why does Marge (Ronee Blakley) not only participate in the murder, but keep his blood-stained weapon as a kinky souvenir?! While some may give her a pass for being a cowardly broken woman, there are two other mothers in the franchise that are even worse. Elaine Parker (Brooke Bundy, Part 3) can't stand her daughter's embarrassing cries for help and wants her to snap out of it… ándale! The other bitch-on-wheels mother-of-the-year is Greta's mom (Valorie Armstrong, Part 5), whose attitude toward eating disorders is to suck it up, attention whores!

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Mothers Day Cover

Mother - Mother's Day  (1980)

Mother knows best when it comes to how to keep her boys in line. She obviously goes with physical, mental and emotional abuse. Rose Ross gives an unsettling performance as the leader of a family of serial killers, and you should think twice before crossing her. The only fate worse is meeting up with her sister Queenie! Rebecca De Mornay did a fine job in the 2010 version, a film that should have been a standalone terror instead of an "in title only" remake.

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Scream 2 Cover

Debbie Salt - Scream 2 (1997)

Debbie (Laurie Metcalf) has a secret and soon it will be more than just Mickey who knows it. Spoiler alerts tend to expire as they leave their teens, so after eighteen years I risk losing readers with the reveal that Billy's mother has a chip on her shoulder. This particular chip is the size of the girl who murdered her son.

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H20 Cover

Laurie Strode - Halloween: H20 (1998)

Here's a woman who smothers her growing son for seventeen years in the most elaborate game of "I told you so" ever. What exactly she was preparing him for I do not know, as once her crazy brother shows up, the boy freezes like a deer in headlights. Jamie Lee Curtis scores mad points for coming back to the franchise that started her career. That being said, I've got some Jamie Lee Jeers for Halloween: Resurrection (2002) and the elaborate excuse for how Michael Myers tricked her into killing some random schmuck in a mask nonsense. The series could have scored big by simply stating Laurie has been committed for 20-years and everything post 1981 has been a psychotic delusion, including H20.

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Strait Jacket Cover

Lucy Harbin - Strait-Jacket (1964)

Lucy (Joan Crawford) has become something of a local legend in her community. She has just been released from a twenty-year stint in the local asylum, following her decision to murder her husband and his lover using a large axe in front of their daughter. Not long after her return to sanity, there is a sudden rise in axe murders and it looks like Lucy may not be cured after all. The real Joan Crawford gets a pass for being a legendary shitty mom, after listening to John Waters' mandatory commentary on Mommie Dearest, in which he lays out the case that Christina is the real nightmare in the family.

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Female Trouble Cover

Dawn Davenport - Female Trouble (1974)

Dawn (Divine) is a poor misunderstood teenager who cannot stand the indignities of life in Baltimore. She sets out on her own and is promptly raped by the disgusting Earl Peterson (also Divine). Nine months later, she is stuck raising daughter Taffy (Mink Stole), the worst child in the history of ever. Dawn and her friends pass the time thinking of new ways to commit violent crimes in hopes of getting the Academy Award for criminals, the electric chair! If you think Dawn's world is ugly, director John Waters returns to paint a rosier picture of Baltimore with Serial Mom (1994). Beverly Sutfin (Kathleen Turner) has a perfect life, a happy home and a beautiful family; everything that was denied Dawn Davenport. But like her cinematic predecessor, Beverly cannot stand the swill of the city and commits a series of crimes that quickly escalate from humorous to homicidal!

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Sleepaway Camp Cover

Aunt Martha - Sleepaway Camp (1983)

Following the death of her brother in a strange boating accident, Martha (Desiree Gould) agrees to raise his surviving child alongside her son, Ricky. She has always wanted a perfect little girl and Angela could not be a better gift. When the kids go away to Sleepaway Camp, trouble follows and it seems bad parenting may be to blame as not all children play nice. A series of creatively grisly murders shocks everyone and reveals a dark family secret. Gould puts a unique spin on this character, making Martha one of the most interesting movie moms ever to grace the silver screen. If you haven't seen this film before, do yourself a favor and check it out right now!

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The Ring Cover

Additional contenders least likely to win a Mother of the Year award include Rachel (Naomi Watts, The Ring), a woman facing death in seven days thanks to an analog-based curse. Instead of spending every waking moment with her son, Rachel assumes she can solve an intricate mystery with days to spare. She actually abandons her son for a while once he becomes infected by the same curse. Another fine candidate is Karen Barkley (Catherine Hicks, Child's Play), for giving her child a doll possessed by a serial killer. She may not have known about the voodoo defect, but she should know better than to buy obviously stolen goods from Peddler's Alley.

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Jaws 3d Cover

Scorned mothers are not limited to the human condition and I would like to extend a special nod to these under-appreciated ladies. The Queen (Aliens) retaliates when some gun-crazy, pint-sized terrorist human woman dares to massacre scores of her unborn innocents. The maternal instinct of the T-Rex is introduced in The Lost World when asshole peace-lovers kidnap her baby and force it to hug Vince Vaughn. Similar revenge tactics come into play in both Orca and the award-worthy Jaws 3D. To quote Oscar winner Lou Gossett Jr. in that film, "You mean we're talkin' 'bout some damn shark's mutha?!" Yes, Lou…yes we are. Happy Mother's Day.

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About The Author
ZigZag
Author: ZigZag
Staff Writer
ZigZag's favorite genres include horror (foreign and domestic), Asian cinema and pornography (foreign and domestic). His ability to seek out and enjoy shot on video (SOV) horror movies is unmatched. His love of films with a budget under $100,000 is unapologetic.
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