5 Old Lady Slashers That Prove Age Is Just A Number
Slashers are my comfort horror subgenre. Whenever I’m having a day, only watching a group of campers catch hatchets in the chest turns my frown upside down. However, as a feminist, I cannot help but note the majority of them are focused on young folks, and the gender disparity found in villains is hard to miss. So I love it when I run across old ladies who kill. As an aspiring older woman, I find it inspiring to see that not all of us get banished from society at 25 as Hollywood would like us to believe. Quite a few of us are still active, sharp, and apparently deadly from the looks of this list. So, while the media likes to assume all grannies are packing hard candy, I’m here to tell you some are putting those knitting needles to work.
I hate the term “psycho old biddy” which is the category movies like Whatever Happened To Baby Jane and Dead Ringer often fall under. However, I love the movies that hide within that wildly problematic subgenre. They are filled with comfortable shoes, perfectly styled hair, and mature women tired of talking and ready to get down with the sickles. As I watched a few of these titles to help me map out my 10-year plan, I figured I should present my findings as a streaming guide. Pop a Werther’s Original and stay for a spell, kids. I’m going to tell you where to see some of the toughest old broads in the business. The murder business, that is.
Die! Die! My Darling! (1965)
Tallulah Bankhead as Mrs. Trefoile
Where You Can Watch: Tubi
A religious fanatic holds her deceased son’s ex-fiancée against her will. Mrs. Trefoile isn’t having any of the logic that anyone is offering her. She’s off the rails and has blamed this woman for her son’s death for years. While she’s not the deadliest lady on the list, she definitely takes a few stabs at it and deserves our respect. The film is also known as Fanatic and is one of Donald Sutherland’s first film roles.
Content Warning: There are multiple attempts at sexual assault in this movie.
Friday the 13th (1980)
Betsy Palmer as Mrs. Voorhees
Where You Can Watch: Max
Camp counselors’ attempts to reopen a summer camp with a deadly past get derailed when a killer starts picking them off. While Betsy Palmer thought the movie would be a dud and only took the job to get a new car, she actually became one of the most iconic ladies to ever wield a knife in a slasher. Her cable knit sweater and eyes filled with rage are still inspiring vengeful mothers in horror today.
Grandmother’s House (1988)
Ida Lee as Grandmother
Two teens are sent to live with their grandparents after their father’s death. However, they soon suspect their grandparents are more into murder than bingo. This movie is a misdirect, but it doesn’t stop Grandmother from doing very shady things that would have CPS called immediately. While she and her husband tag team hiding bodies and trying to keep the ultimate secret, this isn’t a list of murder marriages. It’s a list of older ladies who kill!
Mountaintop Motel Massacre (1983)
Anna Chappell as Evelyn
A woman fresh out of the mental asylum returns to work at her motel and begins a murder spree. This movie is just three choices in a trench coat. However, watching Evelyn cut the dead weight around her motel is kind of fun. This movie inspired many movies that came after it, which means we should show more respect for this sickle-wielding older woman. Otherwise, she’ll make turndown service hell.
Mia Goth as Pearl
Where You Can Watch: Showtime
A group of filmmakers find trouble while trying to make an adult movie in Texas. Pearl is the most recent character to pick up the Old Ladies Who Kill baton. She’s interesting because she’s the first one (on this list) who gets to be sexually frustrated and outwardly jealous of the youth. She’s not murdering people for noble reasons like vengeance. That sets her apart from the other malevolent matriarchs.
Night Watch (1973)
Where You Can Watch: Plex
A woman witnesses a murder, but no one believes her until it is too late. While Elizabeth Taylor was only in her 40s at the time, Hollywood usually casts women over 30 as moms of guys older than them. So, I get to count this because the twist at the end of this movie is so delicious. Bonus points because seeing Liz Taylor scheming and slashing added 10 years to my life.
Did your favorite murder grandmommy make the list? Is she currently streaming somewhere? Then let me know at @misssharai because I can always use more older women to look up to.