23 Truly Twisted Movie Moms

This Mother’s Day, be grateful your mom didn’t make this list.

Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest (1981)


Played by: Faye Dunaway


Mother to: Christina (Diana Scarwid), Christopher (Xander Berkeley)


Terrible traits: Prone to sudden violent tantrums; psychologically and physically abuses Christina over imagined slights and minor infractions, like using wire hangers; admits to adopting her children for publicity


Redeeming qualities: Lavishes her kids with gifts, even though she eventually takes most away; gives Christina excellent material for her eventual autobiography


Paramount Pictures

Pamela Voorhees in Friday the 13th (1980)


Played by: Betsy Palmer


Mother to: Jason Voorhees (Ari Lehman)


Terrible traits: Homicidal, knife-wielding maniac; murders teenagers she blames for her son’s death, even if they weren’t actually responsible; ruins the prospect of post-coital cuddling with an arrow through the throat


Redeeming qualities: Truly protective and devoted to Jason; knows how to rock a sweater; never forgets her son’s birthday


Paramount Pictures

Madame Anna Sebastian in Notorious (1946)


Played by: Leopoldine Konstantin


Mother to: Alexander Sebastian (Claude Rains)


Terrible traits: Controlling and overbearing; Nazi sympathizer; convinces Alexander to slowly poison his new wife Alicia (Ingrid Bergman)


Redeeming qualities: Good at problem solving, particularly when her son is in trouble; knows how to murder someone and have it look like natural causes



Barbara Daly Baekeland in Savage Grace (2007)


Played by: Julianne Moore


Mother to: Antony (Eddie Redmayne)


Terrible traits: Serious boundary issues; deeply unhinged; seduces Antony and coerces him into an incestuous affair


Redeeming qualities: Well-mannered and classy, when the occasion calls for it; open-minded and supportive of her son’s sexual exploration; introduces Antony to naked Hugh Dancy


IFC Films

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