Mother’s Day is a time for reflection; for thanks. That is why for Mother’s Day this year Diabolique would like to honor the screen mothers that scared us the most: the most blood curdling, maniacal, and horrific representations of mothers in cinematic history. So here they are, in no specific order, some of our favorite horror-Mothers.


Beverly Sutphin in John Water’s Serial Mom (1994)

Imagine June Cleaver with a meat cleaver and a Charles Manson mentality and you get Kathleen Turner’s Beverly Sutphin in John Waters’ wickedly under-appreciated “Serial Mom.” What’s to love about Bev? If you don’t rewind your videotapes, you get knocked over the head with a rack of roast beef. And if you’re caught wearing white shoes after Labor Day, consider yourself next on her s(hit) list.

Chosen by Assistant Web Editor Jeremy Kibler 

Natalie Koffin in Darren Lynn Bousman’s Mother’s Day (2010)

Horror fans will remember Beatrice Pons’ Mother from Troma’s down-and-dirty “Mother’s Day,” but I much rather prefer Rebecca De Mornay’s take on the maternal role in the 2010 redo. Her Mother is maternal, funny, unhinged, touching, malicious, and quietly menacing all at once without ever ripping the scenery to shreds. Oh, and she knows how to get answers of you with boiling hot water!

Chosen by Assistant Web Editor Jeremy Kibler

Mrs Bates in Alred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960)

Of course we can’t leave out Mrs. Bates, what kind of a list would it be if we did? But, the real question would be who gets the credit: Norman or Norma? Perhaps, in this case, it is fair to call it a draw, and award the crown to each. Hitchcock revolutionized the horror industry, and set the precedent for many films to follow. Without Mrs. Bates, where would horror mothers be today? Oh, and because a boy’s best friend is his mother….

Chosen by Founder Dima Ballin 

Margaret White in Brian De Palma’s Carrie (1976)

Including Piper Laurie’s Margaret White, in De Palma’s Carrie, goes nearly without saying. Her performance is stunning, and helps solidify the film’s place as a classic representation of 1970s horror.

Chosen by Founder Dima Ballin 

Mara in Dario Argento’s Profondo Rosso aka Deep Red (1975)

Ideologically speaking, Argento’s Deep Red is far from a perfect film, but it is perhaps in its flaws that we find its glory. Coupled with one of Goblin’s best scores, the film exudes the tension needed for the mystery-slasher genre. Clara Calamai’s performance as Marta, the murderous mother of Carlo, is without a doubt one of the scariest depictions ever to grace celluloid. One only needs to look at a snapshot of her to know something sinister lurks beneath the veneer.

Chosen by Web Editor/Managing Editor Joe Yanick

Vera Cosgrove in Peter Jackson’s Dead Alive aka Braindead (1992)

Elizabeth Moody captured something truly brilliant in Jackson’s 1992 comedy-horror classic Dead Alive. Her performance,  channeling Anne Ramsey’s Momma Lift (Throw Momma from the Train), is as frightening as it is funny. A movie equally gross as it is funny, Moody’s performance contributes to many of the film’s greatest moments.

Chosen by Web Editor/Managing Editor Joe Yanick


Pamela Voorhees in Sean S. Cunningham’s Friday the 13th (1980)

While the Friday the 13th franchise is inseparable from the iconic hockey-masked killer Jason Vorhees, true horror fans will know that the origins were not with the monstrous killer, but with his tragic mother. Despite often being only a footnote in the franchise’s history, Betsy Palmer’s performance as Pamela Voorhees will always remain one of the best murderous-mothers ever to be captured on film. Pamela Voorhees brings new meaning to the strength of a mother’s love.

Chosen by Web Editor/Managing Editor Joe Yanick