10 Most Frightening Mothers in Movies

Scary Mom

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This Sunday’s marathon is all about tough guys who love their mothers, but there’s no reason moms can’t be tough too. In this feature, we’ll take a look at the most frightening, violent mothers in movies.

10. Gladys Leeman, Drop Dead Gorgeous

When you want the best for your child, you’ll do anything to get it… even murder. That’s what motivates the villain of 1999 comedy Drop Dead Gorgeous to go on a killing spree in the hopes of helping her daughter Rebecca win a beauty pageant. She sure can work a sniper rifle!

9. The Bride, Kill Bill

Never get between a mama bear and her cub, especially if that mama bear has a samurai sword. Wait, I kind of screwed up that metaphor. Beatrix Kiddo, aka the Bride, slashes her way through her former Deadly Viper buddies to get her daughter back in Tarantino’s epic Kill Bill.

8. Beverly Sutphin, Serial Mom

Kathleen Turner was born to play the psychotic Beverly Sutphin in John Waters’ suburban horror-comedy. Whether it’s beating a woman to death with a leg of lamb or making harassing obscene phone calls to a woman who stole her parking space, she’s a seriously bad mother.

7. Sarah Connor, Terminator 2

When the future of humanity is riding on your ability to keep your kid alive, you better believe it brings out the best in a mother. Linda Hamilton was tough as nails as Sarah Connor in the second Terminator film, facing nuclear apocalypse and liquid metal androids with everything she had.

6. Pamela Voorhees, Friday the 13th

People sometimes forget that it wasn’t Jason swinging the knife in the first Friday the 13th movie – it was his mom. After her son drowned in Camp Crystal Lake, Ms. Voorhees was out for revenge on those irresponsible teens.

5. Samantha Caine, The Long Kiss Goodnight

Sometimes the violence in a mom’s life is bubbling just below the surface, as in this cult Geena Davis hit where she plays a small-town schoolteacher with amnesia. When her memories start coming back, Samantha realizes that she’s actually a seriously badass killer for the CIA.

4. Joan Crawford, Mommie Dearest

Real life is often more terrifying than fiction. This ’81 biographical drama – based on a best-selling memoir – tells the story of abusive actress Joan Crawford and her adopted daughter Christina. Give it a watch. You’ll never look at wire hangers the same way again.

3. Vera Cosgrove, Dead Alive

When an infected Sumatran rat monkey bites this New Zealand dowager, she mutates into a zombie killing machine capable of generating a tornado of gory mayhem. Peter Jackson’s early splatter flicks were so much better than the Lord of the Rings movies that it’s not even funny.

2. Ma-Ma, Dredd

As played by the brilliant Lena Healey, drug lord Madeline Madrigal (or “Ma-Ma” for short) in cult hit Dredd is a vicious, amoral criminal who has no qualms slaughtering innocents by the boatload to get Judge Dredd and his partner out of the way. She’s willing to bring down the entire apartment building she lives in as one last “F you” to law enforcement.

1. Ellen Ripley, Aliens

You don’t have to be a biological mom to be a mother, and Ripley’s fierce defense of her daughter Newt against the Alien Queen (a pretty badass mamma-jamma herself) pulls out all the stops. I can’t even count how much acidic blood she’s spilled over the course of the franchise.

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Weird Roles

Anthony Michael Hall’s Most Rotten Movies

Catch Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science on Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Universal/Everett Collection

Anthony Michael Hall was the quintessential ’80s nerd. We love him in classics like The Breakfast Club and National Lampoon’s Vacation. But even the brainiest among us has his weak spots. In honor of Weird Science airing this Rotten Friday, we analyze Hall’s worst movies.

Weird Science (1985) 56%

A low point for John Hughes, Weird Science is way too wacky for its own good. Anthony Michael Hall’s Gary and his pal Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) create the “perfect woman.” Supernatural chaos ensues. The film costars a young Bill Paxton, floppy disks, and a general disconnect from all reality.

The Caveman’s Valentine (2001) 46%

This ambitious drama starring Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t live up to its rich premise. Jackson plays Romulus, a Juilliard-educated, paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a cave. Hall co-stars as Bob, a rich man, who wants to see Romulus play the piano. The plot centers around Romulus investigating a murder, but with so much going on, the movie never quite finds its rhythm.

All About the Benjamins (2002) 30%

Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter who teams up with Mike Epps’ con man to catch diamond thieves. Hall plays Lil J, a small-time drug dealer. It’s definitely a role we’ve never seen Hall in, but overall the movie isn’t funny or original enough to justify its violence.

Freddy Got Fingered (2001) 11%

This showcase for Tom Green’s goofy gross-out comedy is often hailed as one of the worst films of all time. Green plays Gord, a 20-something slacker, who dreams of having his own animated series. Hall is Dave Davidson, a CEO of an animation studio who eventually helps Gord find success. Too bad Tom Green wasn’t so lucky.

Johnny Be Good (1988) 0%

Hall plays against type as Johnny Walker, a star quarterback. Robert Downey Jr. is his best friend and Uma Thurman plays his devoted girlfriend. Despite the support of a future A-list cast, the movie lacks central conflict and charm. Or, as TV Guide put it, “Johnny be worthless.” Ouch.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” Weird Science this Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Season 6: Episode 1: Pickathon

Binge Fest

Portlandia Season 6 Now Available On DVD

The perfect addition to your locally-sourced, artisanal DVD collection.

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End of summer got you feeling like:

Portlandia Toni Screaming GIF

Ease into fall with Portlandia‘s sixth season. Relive the latest exploits of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s cast of characters, including Doug and Claire’s poignant breakup, Lance’s foray into intellectual society, and the terrifying rampage of a tsukemen Noodle Monster! Plus, guest stars The Flaming Lips, Glenn Danzig, Louis C.K., Kevin Corrigan, Zoë Kravitz, and more stop by to experience what Portlandia is all about.

Pick up a copy of the DVD today, or watch full episodes and series extras now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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Byrning Down the House

Everything You Need to Know About the Film That Inspired “Final Transmission”

Documentary Now! pays tribute to "Stop Making Sense" this Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Cinecom/courtesy Everett Collection

This week Documentary Now! is with the band. For everyone who’s ever wanted to be a roadie without leaving the couch, “Final Transmission” pulls back the curtain on experimental rock group Test Pattern’s final concert. Before you tune in Wednesday at 10P on IFC, plug your amp into this guide for Stop Making Sense, the acclaimed 1984 Talking Heads concert documentary.

Put on Your Dancing Shoes

Hailed as one of the best concert films ever created, director Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) captured the energy and eccentricities of a band known for pushing the limits of music and performance.

Make an Entrance

Lead singer David Byrne treats the concert like a story: He enters an empty stage with a boom box and sings the first song on the setlist solo, then welcomes the other members of the group to the stage one song at a time.

Steal the Spotlight

David Byrne Dancing
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Always a physical performer, Byrne infuses the stage and the film with contagious joy — jogging in place, dancing with lamps, and generally carrying the show’s high energy on his shoulders.

Suit Yourself

Byrne makes a splash in his “big suit,” a boxy business suit that grows with each song until he looks like a boy who raided his father’s closet. Don’t overthink it; on the DVD, the singer explains, “Music is very physical, and often the body understands it before the head.”

View from the Front Row

Stop Making Sense Band On Stage
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Demme (who also helmed 1987’s Swimming to Cambodia, the inspiration for this season’s Documentary Now! episode “Parker Gail’s Location is Everything”) films the show by putting viewers in the audience’s shoes. The camera rarely shows the crowd and never cuts to interviews or talking heads — except the ones onstage.

Let’s Get Digital

Tina Weymouth Keyboard
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Stop Making Sense isn’t just a good time — it’s also the first rock movie to be recorded entirely using digital audio techniques. The sound holds up more than 30 years later.

Out of Pocket

Talk about investing in your art: Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz told Rolling Stone that the members of the band “basically put [their] life savings” into the movie, and they didn’t regret it.

Catch Documentary Now!’s tribute to Stop Making Sense when “Final Transmission” premieres Wednesday, October 12 at 10P on IFC.

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