Of course, this led to the movie becoming a critical failure and cult classic among viewers. Who among us hasn’t yelled “NO WIRE HANGERS!” at some point in our lives?
In honor of
Content Warning: This article discusses content surrounding mental, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. Reader discretion is advised.
Pamela Voorhees (
Friday the 13th)
Pamela Voorhees is the genesis of scary modern slasher moms. Mrs. Voorhees was the original killer in the
Mrs. Bates (
Norman Bates’ mom manages to be frightening, even though she’s dead. She abused her son mentally and emotionally and, although not explicitly stated in the movie, possibly sexually as well. As an adult, she continues to live in Bates’ head, prompting him to continue his murderous exploits. Their unsettling (to put it mildly) connection to each other is the real horror of
Mary Lee Johnston (
A scary mom doesn’t have to be undead or a killer. Unfortunately, some TV and film moms reflect some unsavory parents in the world.
Mary is emotionally, verbally, and physically abusive and uses her grandkids for financial support. Actress Mo’Nique portrayed her with such shocking gravitas that she won a Best Supporting Actress award for the role.
Margaret White (
Carrie’s mom is yet another all-too-real feeling mom, even though this story has a supernatural horror foundation. She’s so deeply entrenched in religious fanaticism that she locks her daughter up for the “sin” of having a menstrual cycle. You know, something that happens to billions of people worldwide. Oh, and she also tries to kill Carrie for being an alleged witch. This disturbing mother/daughter relationship certainly inspired many scary movie moms to follow.
Lady Tremaine (
I don’t care what anyone says. Lady Tremaine totally killed Cinderella’s uber-rich dad right after marrying him. She married him to get more money and then made his daughter become her maid because she was a hater. Then, when poor Cinderella wants to go to the ball, Lady Tremaine cruelly convinces her daughters Anastasia and Drizella to destroy Cinderella’s dress.
Cersei Lannister (
Game of Thrones)
Almost everyone on
Constance Langdon (
American Horror Story)
Lucy Harbin (
Well, this is certainly an interesting coincidence. Mommie Dearest herself, better known as Joan Crawford, stars as Lucy, a woman who kills her husband and his lover in front of her toddler daughter. Lucy goes to a psychiatric hospital for two decades. She gets out and killings start once again… but with a sinister twist. Crawford’s real-life persona as a mother may be up for debate but she certainly plays a killer mother well.
Debbie Salt/Mrs. Loomis (
Debbie’s motive to kill Sidney Prescott wasn’t ‘90s. She just wanted “good old-fashioned revenge.” You can’t have a scary moms list without Billy Loomis’ mother. (Love the reference to Nancy Loomis.)
She goes from annoying reporter to vengeful mom in the blink of an eye. Being a cold killer aside, Mrs. Loomis abandoned her son after his father had an affair with Sid’s mom. And, despite her son killing people, she doesn’t blame him for his actions. Very fine parenting.
Poor Amelia. She’s technically not a bad, terrible, nor scary mother at first. She’s a widower trying to raise her troubled son Sam. But she soon becomes terrifying, although not of her own volition. She becomes a victim of the titular Babadook, spiraling into a dark, paranoid existence with increasingly violent and disturbing behavior. Thankfully, she doesn’t stay that way, which makes her an even scarier (and tough) mom.
Of course, this is only a sample of the many scary mommas. Some of them are truly disturbing in nightmarish, manipulative ways while others are willing to kill for an array of reasons. Either way, scary moms are a part of every entertainment genre and will never go away.