Movie Moms You Wouldn't Mess With

Christine Jun

Striding through Canadian director Xavier Dolan's Mommy in pole-dancing pumps and plenty of tough talk, Diana “Die” Despres is a handful, but so is her teenage tyrant son Stevie (Antoine Olivier Pilon). Everyone should be able to identify with at least a few moments of Xolan's semi-autobiographical film: the shouty antagonisms, manic codependence veering dizzily between love and hate, and maybe even Diana's eventual decision to state institutionalize out-of-control Stevie. Moms seem to make the perfect popular film villains because it's unexpected and shocking when the woman who gave birth to you turns out to be a maniac. Sound familiar?

Here are ten more movie mommies you really wouldn't want to get on the bad side of:

1. Sarah Connor - Terminator 2

John Connor's warrior-mother (Linda Hamilton) is fit, fast, furious – and won't hesitate to put a cap in your ass should you stand in the way of her personal mission to prevent Judgement Day. Crytic mantras like “No fate but what we make” aside, her transformation since T1 is little cause for wonder. Who wouldn't be pissed off after surviving a cyborg attack and witnessing your hubby get blown away, only to be locked up for years in a mental hospital?

2. Dorothy Yates - Frightmare

If Norman Bates' mother were British and still alive, surely she'd have turned out to be as batty as matriarch Dorothy (Sheila Keth), a can't-help-herself cannibal with a fondness for electric drills. Released after eighteen years in the loony bin, she relapses into luring lonely young people to her home – promising tea and a tarot card reading – only to end the sessions with a violent "feast."

3.  Lilly Dillon – The Grifters

If small-time grifter Roy thinks he can easily part ways with his long-estranged, manipulating con-artist mater (Angelica Huston), he's sorely mistaken. After shooting Roy's older girlfriend (whom she takes an instant dislike to), Lilly has no qualms about trying to steal his loot or playing on his obvious Oedipal complex.

4. Pamela Voorhees - Friday the 13th

Don't worry if you got the real killer from this slasher film wrong – Drew Barrymore's character from Scream did too (and just look what happened to her). It turns out to be none other than Jason's sweet former camp cook of a mom who seeks revenge for his death. Like Pamela (Betsy Palmer), like son.

5. Joan Crawford – Mommie Dearest

“NO...MORE...HANGERS!!!" Who could forget Joan's (Faye Dunaway) most psychotic scene, when she rages into her adopted daughter Christina's bedroom in the middle of the night, face slathered in cold cream, yanking dresses out of her closet, before beating her with a wire hanger? Yikes.

6. Lucy Harbin - Straight-Jacket

After 20 years spent in the asylum for the axe-murder of her husband and his mistress, Lucy (Joan Crawford) is reunited with her adult daughter Carol, who seems oddly unaffected by the grisly murders she once witnessed. And that's when people mysteriously start turning up headless. Coincidence? I think not.

7. Beverly Sutphin - Serial Mom

As if you didn't always suspect there was something sinister behind your typical suburban housewife's sweet-as-pie smile. Properly caring for her dentist husband and two teenage children doesn't distract Mrs. Sutphin (Kathleen Turner) from enthusiastically scissor-stabbing, running over, and bludgeoning to death – with a leg of lamb – anyone who commits the slightest faux-pas. No wonder her family vows “never to get on her nerves.”

8. Mother – Mother

Convinced her mentally disabled 27-year-old son can do no wrong, the deluded widow (Hye-Ja Kim) of Joon-Ho Bong's arthouse horror flick is a truly formidable movie mom willing to go to murderous lengths to protect him. Her denial is so far-gone, she decides to acupuncture herself afterwards with a convenient “forgetting” herb, so she can still party on a tour bus like it's 1999.

9. Woman - The People Under The Stairs

She brought you into this world, and maybe she'll take you out. Like Mommie Dearest on crack, this fun urban fairy tale from Wes Craven stars a deranged mother (Wendy Robie) seeking daughterly perfection – even if she has to stab it out of her.

10. Mama - Mama

How did two young girls manage to stay alive for five years in backwoods country alone? Except, they weren't entirely alone...

As if rearing and rehabilitating their creepy nieces wasn't challenge enough, Jessica Chastain and Nikolaj Coster-Waldeau must also fend off an overpossessive ghost the girls call “Mama”: supernatural proof that a real mother's love never dies.

Follow Christine on Twitter: @ChristineCocoJ

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