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Celebrate Mother’s Day with Horror’s 11 Most Memorable Moms

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Celebrate Mother's Day with Horror's 11 Most Memorable MomsIt’s that time of year again when we take a moment to honor our moms. And how great they are, right? Well, here at Dread Central we can turn even the most loving moms into something horrific, and in celebration of Mother’s Day, we bring you Horror’s 11 Most Memorable Moms!

Read on… and eat your vegetables for chrissake!

Okay, so not all the moms on this list are psychotic killers; some are heroes, and some fall somewhere in between. But they’re all great for their own reasons. As usual, we’ll start out with some honorable mentions, and we certainly have some remarkable moms to speak about. We’ll start with Estelle Collingwood (played by Cynthia Carr) in the original Last House on the Left. Only a mother’s love could drive a person to bite a guy’s Johnson off as an act of revenge! Another great justice-seeking mother was Kate (played by Vera Farmiga) in Orphan. When she realized what Esther was doing to her family, she showed her no mercy.

We also have a few psycho moms to mention, including Mommie Dearest herself, Joan Crawford (played by Faye Dunaway). Yes, it’s technically more drama than horror, but any time a film contains a wire hanger beating, it qualifies as horror. Barbara Hershey was a delightfully overprotective mother to the point of instability in Black Swan, and as mentally broken mothers go, it’s hard to top Charlotte Gainsbourg as a character simply referred to as “She” in Antichrist. However, deciding to carry your dead baby to term may just top it all as Madeline Matheson (Jordan Ladd) did in Grace. The film shows why that’s a really bad idea.

And we’re almost obligated to throw some love to the two moms from Troma’s Mother’s Day (1980) and Darren Lynn Bousman’s 2010 remake, Rose Ross as Mother and Rebecca De Mornay as Natalie “Mother” Koffin, respectively.

And when you’re wishing your own mom Happy Mother’s Day this year, thank her for not being an “Octomom,” ridiculously tanned mom or “Plus 8.” Talk about horrors!

Celebrate Mother's Day with Horror's 11 Most Memorable Moms

Mother Firefly (Karen Black in House of 1,000 Corpses and Leslie Easterbrook in The Devil’s Rejects)
Played by not one, but two memorable actresses, Mother Firefly had the unenviable task of trying to keep the Firefly clan in line. You could say she did a pretty good job of it, but considering they spent most of their time raping and murdering people, you might think there was some delinquent parenting going on here somewhere. Regardless of that, though, Mother Firefly was nothing if not impressive, and her over-the-top, sultry “way with men” made her an outstanding character and a top mom for sure!

Sarah Scarangelo (Alysson Paradis in Inside (À l’intérieur)
Sarah was a mom just about to give birth to her first baby… and then she showed up. Sarah is confronted by one of the most psychotic women ever captured on film, and she holds up quite well for a woman who’s nine months pregnant. Well, she holds up well for a really long time. But Beatrice Dalle’s antagonist, known only as La Femme, is simply too much to withstand, and Sarah’s motherhood is short-lived.


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Donna Trenton (Dee Wallace in Cujo)
Stephen King has made a career out of disturbing his readers. And he often does this by placing his characters in trapped, claustrophobic situations. He never achieves this more perfectly than in Cujo, putting Donna Trenton in a tiny hatchback with her child while a rabid St. Bernard does everything he can to get at them. And not only did Dee Wallace play a great character in the film, according to her daughter, Gabrielle Stone, her portrayal of Donna helped Gabrielle feel safe in her own home because of how badass her mom was in the film. Grrr!

The Woman (Pollyanna McIntosh in The Woman)
You might think that if we were going to highlight a character from The Woman in a top moms list ,then that nod would have to go to Angela Bettis as Belle Cleek. Although Bettis gave her usual wonderful performance, the mother we chose to honor was The Woman herself. Some mothers build their families the traditional way while other have families thrust upon them, as was the case with this cannibalistic, feral woman. She begins the film as something of an antagonist, but through the brilliance of Jack Ketchum’s writing and Lucky McKee’s direction, she morphs into the victim and then the hero of the film. And as the dust settles, The Woman finds herself with a new family which she decides to lead. A great ending to a very impressive film.


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Margaret White (Piper Laurie in Carrie)
Now here’s a legendary horror movie mother, and Margaret White absolutely earned her way onto this list by being truly batshit crazy and driving her daughter mental as well with her Christian Fundamentalist beliefs and obsessive personality… bad combination. As Carrie becomes increasingly more distraught, Margaret’s madness worsens as well until the final bloody climax of the film. Piper Laurie’s portrayal of this psycho mom is one for the ages and helped make Carrie the legendary movie it became. Julianne Moore has some big shoes to fill in the Carrie remake, but we’re rooting for her to join Piper next year on lists like this one.

Tiff (Jennifer Tilly in Seed of Chucky)
Who says your child has to be flesh and blood to be a super mom? Of course we know Tiff showed up well before Seed of Chucky, but it was in this film where she officially became the great mom we all knew her to be. Sure, it was tough for her to quit killing people and act like a good mother, but she did her best. Tiff’s Glen/Glenda baby inspired the bloodthirsty plastic babe to go on the straight and narrow, but living a good life while trying to co-exist with Chucky is pretty much impossible, and Mama Tiff finds this out. Although she does manage to find her escape in the end.


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Phyllis (Traci Lords in Excision)
Excision was one of last year’s most impressive horror films, and much of the reason for that was the amazing performance of AnnaLynne McCord in the lead role of Pauline. However, Pauline would not have been the powerful character she was without the influence of her mother, Phyllis, brought to life wonderfully by Traci Lords. Phyllis is an absolutely cold and domineering mother who fails to realize just how disturbed her daughter Pauline has become. It all comes clear to her very quickly, however, during in the film’s thrilling climax.

Vera Cosgrove (Elizabeth Moody in Dead Alive)
Sweet Vera Cosgrove. She’s about as cuddly as a porcupine, and there couldn’t be a better patient zero for a zombie outbreak. After getting bitten by an infected Sumatran Rat-Monkey, Vera starts the rapid degradation from strong, domineering mother to blathering, slathering undead beastie. In a movie famous for its over-the-topness, Vera epitomizes the tone of the film and is roof-raisingly monstrous. She is a memorable mom in an unforgettable film, and there is always something to be said for a character that can shoot infected pus from her arm across a dinner table before eating her own ear. You go, Vera!


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Edith “Mama” Brennan (Javier Botet in Mama)
A film that portrays just how strong a mother’s love can be, Mama illustrates how powerful that love is. A specter of a distraught mother past, Mama is out to replace the child she lost and is willing to cross the lines between the living and the dead to do so. She’s one of the scariest mothers on this list. Mama builds to a crescendo as we learn just who this mysterious mother creature is.

Norma Bates (Legendary Psycho horror character and Vera Farmiga in “Bates Motel”)
“Why she wouldn’t even harm a fly.” Norma’s classic quote spoken through Norman at the end of Psycho perfectly ties up everything in the groundbreaking film. More recently, Vera Farmiga has resurrected Norma Bates in the popular A&E television series “Bates Motel”. Farmiga does a great job breathing life into the iconic matriarch in this television series that has viewers riveted to their TV screens to see just how things are going to work out for this strange mother-son pair.

Pamela Voorhees (Betsy Palmer in Friday the 13th)
Of course Pamela Voorhees tops this list. Pamela, the original hater of drug use and fornication amongst camp counselors, decided to take matters into her own hands to avenge the death of her boy, Jason, as the teens who were supposed to be watching him swim were screwing and smoking weed while Jason drowned. Her vengeful nature helped tie together a story that kicked off one of the longest running and most lucrative franchises in the history of horror movies. Not bad. Check out the moving tribute to Pamela Voorhees below featuring “My Immortal” by Evanescence.

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Scott Hallam

  • Shambling_in_Bandages

    No love for the alien queen from ‘Aliens’? She’s had more kids than any of these ladies.