John Waters’ SERIAL MOM Is a Perfect SCREAM Prequel

Recently, Pink Flamingos and Cry Baby director John Waters’ hilarious horror-comedy Serial Mom with Kathleen Turner, Sam Waterston, Ricki Lake, and also Matthew Lillard turn 27. And so I thought what better time to give the flick another look. After all, I don’t think I’d seen it since I was a kid. And I f*cking glad I did!

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For those of you out there that might not know, Serial Mom tells the tale of happy housewife Beverly who has a charmed life – a beautiful suburban home, a successful dentist husband, and two normal teenagers. However, when her son’s teacher speaks disparagingly of the boy at a PTA meeting, Bev runs him over in the school parking lot. Now she has an insatiable taste for murder. And serval horrific homicides later, the cops get wise to her crimes. Will she go down? Not without a fight.

Here’s the trailer if you’ve never had the pleasure.

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Serial Mom was one of the first (and only) horror movies I watched as a kid. Along with Wes Craven’s meta slasher masterpiece Scream. Both were witnessed (go figure) at sleepovers. And re-watching John Waters’ cult classic dark-comedy the other night made me noticed something news. It’s a perfect prequel to Scream!

Where’s why.

Obviously, Matthew Lillard stars in both films. But that’s just the beginning. First, it makes sense that Stu from Scream would have had a mother that was a psycho too. I mean just look at Bully! His mom ended up being the killer in Scream 2. So, yes, it makes sense Kathleen Turner’s Serial Mom would be the mother of Stu. The family just changed their name after the events of Serial Mom (in 1994) and moved to Woodsboro for the events of Scream (in 1996). After all, we never see Stu’s parents… And, not you ruin Serial Mom, but Turner is alive and free at the end of the film.

RELATED: Matthew Lillard Teases Stu Survived SCREAM

But here are some other connections.

First Mathew Lillard’s Serial Mom character is also obsessed with horror movies – just like Stu from Scream. And Kathleen Turner’s Serial Mom loves to torture her victims on the phone – something her son picked up on and uses later in Wes Craven’s slasher. It all fits, methinks. But one of the top reasons Serial Mom and Scream feel connected is Matthew Lillard and Kathleen Turner’s powerhouse performances.

Both swing for the fences at every moment. No crazy-eye is left unused, no maniacal giggle left un-giggled. But we all know how great Lillard is in Scream. Very well. So whether you dig this Serial/Scream theory or not, you still need to give Serial Mom another day in court. If only to witness Turner’s equally unhinged performance.

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Roger Ebert infamously gave Serial Mom 2/4 stars, saying while Waters’ satire was effective, Turner’s performance was “miscalculated at a fundamental level.” Ebert said, “Turner’s character is helpless and unwitting in a way that makes us feel almost sorry for her—and that undermines the humor. She isn’t funny crazy, she’s sick crazy.”

And as much as I loved (and how much I miss Roger Ebert) this is, again, one of those instances where he’s just plain, old-fashion wrong. Kathleen Turner’s Serial Mom performance is a pure pleasure to behold. The way she switches on a dime from Stepford Wife to full-blown insane foul-mouthed Chucky doll is repeatedly impressive.

It freaks me out to think Waters originally wanted someone other than Turner to play the lead. I mean, can you image Serial Mom with THE Serial Mom. Some of Waters’ alternates were admittedly impressive. Such as Meryl Streep, Kathy Bates, and also Glenn Close. But I still think, in this instance, Turner was the 100% perfect choice for the role. Her trademark deep voice alone is enough to make her the best choice.

RELATED: Horror History: SERIAL MOM with Kathleen Turner Is Now 27 Years Old

Anyhow, all said and done, if you find yourself looking for a fun double feature in the near future, look no further than the one-two punch of John Waters and Wes Craven’s 90s horror comedies. And while we’re still here, if for some reason you don’t already own the two movies on Blu-ray or DVD (or hell VHS), you can stream Serial Mom – for FREE – over on Peacock. And Scream is currently streaming over on HBO Max.

Do you dig our theory on John Waters’s Serial Mom being a perfect prequel to Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson’s meta-slasher masterpiece Scream? Did I miss any clever connections? Whatever the case might be you can always be sure to let us know what you think in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram! You can also feel free to hit me up at any time on Twitter @MikeSpregg325.



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