Have a complicated relationship with your mom? Put it into perspective with this Mother’s Day movie lineup of horror flicks.
Mother’s Day is almost upon us, and while many of us are out buying Hallmark cards and bouquets of roses, others are thinking about that time our mom lured a group of young camp counselors to their murder at a summer camp to avenge our own watery death…
Or maybe not quite that bad.
Unless you’re Jason Vorhees. Then sorry, buddy.
But the fact is lots of us have complicated relationships with our moms. Maybe exploring the most terrifying mother-child relationships is how you want to spend your Mother’s Day.
Here’s a short list of great horror films to get you in the right state of mind on that special day.
1. The Babadook (2014, Jennifer Kent)
Six-year-old Sam is increasingly obsessed with destroying a monster he believes lives in the home he shares with his overworked, depressed, single mom. When a mysterious book called Mister Babadook shows up, Sam’s and his mother’s fears become all too real. This film, in addition to being a horror classic of minimal gore, is also strongly feminist in its depiction of the isolation caused by single motherhood and the strength of its female leads.
BEST SCENE: The mom and the bedroom door. You’ll get it when you see it. Yikes!
2. Goodnight Mommy (2014, Veronika Franz)
When the mom of twins Elias and Lukas comes back from a facial reconstruction surgery with only her eyes and mouth visible under bandages, they’re convinced she’s been replaced by a sinister imposter. Their mother’s erratic and cruel behavior cements their suspicions and leads to a showdown. I won’t reveal much else, but I promise you’ll never look at superglue the same way again.
BEST SCENE: While playing a game of “Who Am I?” the twins choose “Mama” for their mother and she gets everything about herself wrong.
3. The Brood (1979, David Cronenberg)
Hal is a psychotherapist with an experimental technique that allows people to let go of their anger through changes in their bodies. Nola is a patient struggling with mental illness and in a custody battle for her young daughter. Then the murderous, humanoid children show up to take this cult classic to new disturbing ground.
BEST SCENE: Murderous humanoids dress up as children in winter clothes, and murder.
4. Rosemary’s Baby (1969, Roman Polanski)
A young couple move into a dilapidated but ritzy apartment in Manhattan, despite the stories about the former occupant. They meet some interesting, friendly older occupants, and suddenly things start to go so much their way they decide to have a baby — whom the wife is pretty sure is the spawn of Satan and a sinister plot by a coven based in the apartment building! But I’m sure his forehead will have that awesome baby smell, so it’s probably okay anyway.
BEST SCENE: The kid has his father’s eyes.
5. Friday the 13th (1980, Sean Cunningham)
Hey, Mom? Mom? Can I go swimming? No big deal that I don’t know how because when I drown you’ll just go on a remorseless murdering spree of anyone even tangentially related to the occupation of the people you blame for it. And then when you end up getting murdered, I’ll come back from my watery grave to avenge you, too! That’s mother-son love right there.
BEST SCENE: Saved by that nice old lady who lost her kid at the camp and lobbied to have it closed down, and what are you doing with that machete?
6. Carrie (1976, Brian De Palma)
Legend has it that Piper Laurie, who played the stringently religious, abusive mom in this horror flick about a young girl with a horrible life and a psychokinetic gift, thought her character was so over-the-top that it was a comedy movie. She calls breasts “dirty pillows,” she talks about sex and menstruation as a sin, and she prays and prays and prays. But prayers aren’t enough to stop Carrie when she finally goes on the rampage that we all know is going to happen.
BEST SCENE: That prom got awfully bloody awfully quickly.
7. Dead Alive (1992, Peter Jackson)
Possibly the most lighthearted movie ever to feature a possessive mom whose vagina eventually tries to take her child back to the womb… Oops, did I give away too much already? Well, this film is the pinnacle of Peter Jackson’s pre–Lord of the Rings campy horror work. Most of it revolves around a hapless young man’s efforts to keep his beloved, yet horrifying, mom alive after she’s bitten by a zombie. And 40,000 gallons of fake blood. And a lawnmower and a zombie baby. And a priest who yells, “I kick ass for the Lord,” while fighting zombies with kung fu. In short, an excellent film.
What horror flicks would you add to your freakish Mother’s Day movie lineup?