Mothers from hell.

Jacki Weaver in the movie Animal Kingdom is the latest in a line up of memorable movie mums from hell.

I thought it would be fun to look back at some others.

Angela Lansbury – The Manchurian Candidate. (1962)

Lansbury was nominated for an Oscar for playing the domineering mother of a soldier who has been brainwashed to carry out an assassination plot for the Soviet communists. Lansbury has a chilling scene where she is seen kissing her son (Laurence Harvey) directly on the lips – long before Jacki Weaver’s infamous kiss. Lansbury was 36 at the time, only 2 years older than Harvey who was 34.

Rosalind Russell – Gypsy. (1962)

The mother of all stage mothers. In this adaptation of the hit Broadway show  (from the memoirs of Burlesque queen Gypsy Rose Lee) Russell plays a pushy single mother trying to make a star out of her youngest daughter baby June – when June runs away to elope she turns to her other daughter Louise who eventually becomes the famed stripper. Ethel Merman originated the role on stage.

Piper Laurie – Carrie. (1976)

Piper Laurie was nominated for an Oscar playing the religious nutty mother of poor tortured teen Carrie,  Margaret White is very harsh on her child – telling her to cover up her “dirty pillows”, shoving her in a closet to pray and trying to kill her with a carving knife – she certainly gets her comeuppance in the end.

Betsy Palmer – Friday The 13th. (1980)

Playing the homicidal over-protective mother of the infamous Jason Voorhees, Palmer was decapitated during the shock climax. It was a very clever twist making her the killer – the surprise “Carrie” ending spawned many sequels.

Mo’Nique – Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire. (2009)

From the list this is probably the most real monster mom. Monique won the Oscar for playing Mary – the mother of Precious. She turned a blind eye allowing her husband to sexually abuse their daughter. She herself physically and mentally abuses Precious to cover up her own guilt. Horrendous!


Divine – Female Trouble. (1974)

Poor Taffy, born out of wedlock after her mum Dawn Davenport  is raped. Dawn is hardly the mothering type. She finds her child pesky and annoying and is constantly telling her she is hopeless and to shut up and leave her alone. Striking her with a car ariel, cutting up her skipping rope and knocking her unconcious with a chair (while being photographed like a fashion model). But Taffy does egg her on, playing car accidents in the living room and even becoming a Hare Krishna to torment her mum.

Faye Dunaway in Mommie Dearest. (1981)

Arguably one of the most infamous monster moms. After adopting her child Christina, film star Joan Crawford continually tormented her. She goes absolutely mental when she sees that Christina has been hanging her clothes with wire hangers, shouting out “no wire hangers ever”, making the scene legendary. In a very camp, over- the- top, brilliant performance Dunaway has never really recovered since.


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1 Comment

Filed under movies

One response to “Mothers from hell.

  1. Wanda

    Wonderful stuff, Babs. There’s a PhD or two in this…

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