It's Hallmark's favorite time of year and while there are plenty of films extolling the virtues of moms and all that they instill in us, I thought I'd go the other way with this list. You won't find the slightly comic, neglectful mothers (a la Anne Ramsey's Mama Fratelli in The Goonies or her equally brilliant turn in Throw Momma from the Train), stepmoms are ruled out altogether (there goes every fairy tale) and even Kathleen Turner's Serial Mom didn't make the list since it's a comedy. The following are 10 films spotlighting mothers (human, animal, and extraterrestrial) in more serious films that you should take care never to cross … ever.
10. 'Flowers in the Attic'
© Starz / Anchor Bay
So you think it'll be fun for Mom to drop you off at Grandma's? Think again from that locked room she put you in. Oh, your mother will come by now and then, but she's got far more interesting things to worry about than you.
This movie is centered on the title character but Mom plays a big part in shaping who Carrie becomes. Locking her in a closet and espousing religious fanaticism didn't do anything to mitigate the issues boiling within. Bonus: Prom season is upon us so this fits two timely themes.
© Paramount Pictures
This movie makes this list solely thanks to the source material (I recommend reading the story more so than sitting through the film). Grendal's mom may seem MILF-like when she comes in the guise of Angelina Jolie
, but one should always do a thorough background check before being seduced by a monster's mother. Chances are some of that aggression and psychology was passed down in one way or another.
7. 'Animal Kingdom'
© Sony Pictures Classics
portrayal as the matriarch of a family embroiled in a number of criminal aspects is tremendous. She exhibits that sweet exterior you'd expect from your own grandmother but as events unfold, the nastiness underneath bubbles up and every smile is then tinged with a scary, scary edge. The movie was a bit overlooked in 2010, you can help change that.
© Universal Studios Home Entertainment
There’s no question that the filmmakers believed in nurture over nature when it came to Norman Bates and the upbringing he received. Even past her expiration date, Mom's imprint controlled him completely. This reminds me that I'd like to take a trip soon … and will definitely be skipping any motels along the way.
© Lionsgate Films
picked up the Best Supporting Oscar for her role as this all-around abusive mom. Not content to rely on the strength of her fists alone, she picks up frying pans and even a television to 'parent' her child. The scariest thing about it all is that this is grounded in reality. That makes her far more frightening than even your more egregious horror film mom.
© New Line Productions
Although some may wonder if I was just looking ahead to the parenting skills of Arwen once she and Aragorn start popping out kids (Liv Tyler
and Viggo Mortensen
to the non-nerds who remember those names), the inclusion here is for Shelob, the giant spider. Frodo (Elijah Wood
) almost meets his end in her clutches … and she's a GIANT SPIDER. Gives me the willies on definition alone. I don't know how Australians do it.
© Warner Bros Pictures
Pamela Voorhies loves her son. That much is obvious. Though considering he was the target of abuse at summer camp at Crystal Lake, maybe this would be a more direct message to the youth of today instead of the documentary, Bully
, with its much hyped ratings war. Either way, be nice to the people around you. Just because they can't stick up for themselves doesn't mean someone else won't do it for them.
2. 'Mommie Dearest'
Faye Dunaway's portrayal of Joan Crawford is probably not the first choice for movie night at an orphanage. Based on her adoptive daughter's memoir, it paints a very bleak portrait. The performances are spectacular … and chilling … spectacularly chilling?
© 20th Century Fox
"Game over, man." "Why don't you put her in charge!" Bill Paxton definitely was speaking for the audience in what I consider to be James Cameron's
finest film (a sliver ahead of T2
). If you learn two things from this movie, it's stick close to Sigourney Weaver
on a hostile planet and better yet, try not to piss off the Alien Queen by roasting her eggs. Notable Runners-Up: Dead Alive
(slightly too comic, not a major character), Coraline
(Mom does a creepy spider thing at one point and already had Shelob), Sleepwalkers
(would have made this list but I keep seeming to run across it no matter the theme and had to take a stand).