When it comes to movie villains and bad guys, they’re usually… well… guys. Freddy Krueger? Guy. Jason Voorhees? Guy? Michael Myers? Guy. Yes, it would be easy to assume that men corner the market on evil. Well, this Mother’s Day, we take a moment to look at the most wicked moms in film history. In proving the psychopath doesn’t fall far from the tree, these bad mamma jammas have provided us with some of the more memorable roles in cinema history.
10. Ma Fratelli from The Goonies – Ma Fratelli from The Goonies wasn’t as evil as she was mean. The mother of two bumbling sons and a monster man, Fratelli had her is sites set on hidden treasure and wasn’t going to let a bunch of meddling kids get in her way. She came up short in one of the more epic pursuits of the ’80s, but that didn’t stop her from having the most memorable stink eye of the decade.
9. Mary from Precious – There are lots of moms on this list who were really good at being really bad, but only one actually won an Oscar for it. Mo’Nique’s performance as Mary in Precious isn’t just good. It’s soooooo good. The constant physical and mental abuse she heaps on Precious includes fights, an attempt to drop a television on her, allowing the persistent incestual rape of Precious and even intentionally dropping Precious’s 3-day-old baby. It’s easy to dislike the mothers on this list, but this is one mother you would actually want to reach into the screen and do bad things to… very bad things.
8. Mom from The People Under The Stairs – When you have a 13-year-old protagonist named “Fool” who breaks into a house co-owned by a homicidal dominatrix who only goes by the name “Mommy”, you know nothing good can come of it. And when Fool finds a herd of children under the stairs, complete with their ears clipped and tongues cut out, it’s game on! Sure “Daddy” does a lot of the chasing, but Mommy’s constant encouragement and maniacal laughter is enough to creep out the bogeyman.
7. Pamela Voorhees from Friday the 13th – We all know Jason Voorhees. He is the reason kids wear hockey masks on Halloween. He is the quintessential horror movie villain. He has superhuman strength, seemingly endless stamina, and he can play the machete just like aringin’ a bell. Still, in the first of the many Friday the 13th movies, we get a glimpse into Jason’s DNA through his mother, Mrs. Pamela Voorhees, who needed a front row seat at the wacky shack. Spending a good part of the film chasing counselor Alice with a machete and talking to herself in her dead son’s voice, we can see where Jason gets his shtick. It’s almost like watching a mother bird feeding a worm to her baby bird. Well, okay, maybe not really like that, but you get the idea.
6. Ellen Ripley from Alien Resurrection – Sigourney Weaver has been one bad mutha in all of the Alien films, but Alien Resurrection really drives the point home. As her character, Ellen Ripley, has been cloned and moved 200 years into the future to deliver a human / alien hybrid, she becomes a very different sort of mother indeed. During the cloning, however, her DNA and that of her unborn alien baby mixed and Ripley was suddenly in possession of newfound strength and healing abilities. Combine that with her already proven sense of cunning and you have one tough mother.
5. Margaret White from Carrie – You would think that a movie with such a memorable line as, “They’re all gonna laugh at you,” would be a comedy. Well, you would be wrong… dead wrong. While most movies involving heinous acts by women involve a certain degree of “a lover scorned”, that’s not the case with Carrie. Never mind Sissy Spacek’s role of a lifetime, it’s Piper Laurie’s performance in the role of Margaret, Carrie’s mother, that is the root of all evil in this film. It would be easier to label her a religious nutcase, but she’d be a nutcase anyway. It’s her religious-based off-kilter views on sexuality and sin, however, that are the spark to Carrie’s psychokinetic powder keg. When it all explodes, whoa mama!
4. Beverly Sutphin from Serial Mom – There has always been a fondness for vigilante justice in American culture. From militias of the Old West to Batman, the idea of taking matters into your own hands and righting the wrongs of the world have a certain appeal. In Serial Mom, however, Kathleen Turner’s character, Beverly Sutphin, may take things just a little too far. On the surface, she’s your average suburbanite super mom – a regular June Cleaver. Below the surface, though, is a serial killer who would kill you for not separating your recyclables. No, really.
3. Joan Crawford from Mommie Dearest – Have you tried to find wire hangers at the store recently? There is a reason for that. Mommie Dearest is perhaps the scariest film on this list because it depicts the real life horror of child abuse endured by Christina Crawford, adopted daughter of Joan Crawford. Combining serious anger management issues and an apparent obsessive compulsive disorder with regard to cleanliness and orderliness, Faye Dunaway’s portrayal of Crawford is monumental in the way it brings out the monster Christina must have seen her mother as. Still, both the book and movie were released after Joan Crawford’s death in 1977. Whether this was out of respect or fear, one can only speculate.
2. The Wicked Stepmother from Cinderella – There is a reason that stepmothers always come into a new family with two strikes against them, no matter how nice they are. It’s because of one particular stepmother: the Wicked Stepmother from Cinderella. Making Cinderella clean and toil all day, while her own daughters get the best of everything makes Cinderella feel like a slave in her own home. Cinderella makes out okay in the end, but you can be sure you-know-who isn’t getting a card this Mother’s Day.
1. Norma Bates from Psycho – Perhaps the most famous mother in cinema history is actually not a woman at all, but the evil alter-ego of inn keeper, Norman Bates. With incredible performances by Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh, as well as the directorial excellence of Alfred Hitchcock, it is difficult to credit any particular person with the effectiveness of Mama Bates. One thing can be said for certain, however, the shower scene (complete with violin-stab score) is more than just one of the most famous scenes in movie history; it is a part of the American cultural fabric.
Don’t get us wrong: we love and have the utmost respect for mothers everywhere—we just thought it’d be fun to show you the worst of the worst
All of us at StarCostumes wish a happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful and hardworking moms out there…especially ours!