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The 13 Fiercest Moms in Horror

Absolutely do not f--k with these sometimes terrifying, always protective matriarchs of the macabre.

by | May 11, 2018 | Comments

Some of the best horror films ever made are about families — families in peril, families creating peril, families that are drooling space aliens and are creating peril. There is just something about the threatened, or threatening, family that taps deeply into the elemental fears that great horror films play on so well. At the head of these families we often find fierce and awesome moms. Moms that are ready to protect their brood from outside threats — no matter what. Even if that outside threat somehow creeps its way inside them.

This year, we’ve already seen one great horror mom do silent battle against toothy monsters in A Quiet Place, and in June, another great horror mom will join the canon with Toni Collette’s Annie Graham in the critically acclaimed Hereditary. Here we pay tribute to the great moms of horror past, wishing them a happy and shriek-filled Mother’s Day with our own special greeting-card message for each.


1. The Queen in Aliens (1986) 99%

(Photo by © 20th Century Fox Film Corp.)
Our Mother’s Day Card Message: Happy Mother’s Day from all 134,332 of us! We think you’re egg-celent! And don’t listen to all that human propaganda, mom. It’s not our fault we use them as incubators. Blame Mother Nature!
Motherly Advice: “Hissss!” — translated: “I’m not a bitch! I’m just protecting my children!”

2. Amelia (Essie Davis) in The Babadook (2014) 98%

(Photo by © IFC Midnight)
Our Mother’s Day Card Message: Thanks for the love, care, support, and fierce hugs. You’re a great mom. Oh, and thanks for the time you saved me from a horrific monster who popped out of an evil storybook. Pretty sure that’s what happened. Love ya!
Motherly Advice: “If you touch my son again, I’ll f***ing kill you!”

3. Margaret White (Piper Laurie) in Carrie (1976) 93%

(Photo by © United Artists)
Our Mother’s Day Card Message: Congratulations on being arguably the worst mother in the history of American horror cinema. No, seriously. You absolutely take the cake in this department.
Motherly Advice: “Pimples are the Lord’s way of chastising you.”

4. Grace Stewart (Nicole Kidman) in The Others (2001) 83%

(Photo by © Dimension Films)
Our Mother’s Day Card Message: Thanks for always leaving a light on for us, Mom. Although not literally, because we’re both so sensitive to light that we may get sick. That’s what you told us. Right?
Motherly Advice: “If you see a ghost, you say hello!”

5. Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn) in The Exorcist (1973) 85%

(Photo by © Warner Bros.)
Our Mother’s Day Card Message: All good mothers know what to do when their daughter starts going through changes, but you really went above and beyond, mom. Sorry about the sheets — I still don’t know what possessed me. xo
Motherly Advice: “You just take your pills and you’ll be fine, really. OK?”

6. Norma Bates in Psycho (1960) 97%

Our Mother’s Day Card Message: You always kept a watchful eye on everything I did, and it made me what I am today. Love, Norman.
Motherly Advice: “I won’t have you bringing some young girl in for supper! By candlelight, I suppose, in the cheap, erotic fashion of young men with cheap, erotic minds!”

7. Donna Trenton (Dee Wallace) in Cujo (1983) 60%

(Photo by © Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection)
Our Mother’s Day Card Message: Mom, I never understood why you wouldn’t let us get a dog until after I saw the movie. Now I do. Also now I know what happened to that ratty old Pinto. Thanks for getting me through a “rough” weekend. (Too soon?)
Motherly advice: “It’s not a monster. It’s just a doggy.”

 8. Rosemary Woodhouse (Mia Farrow) in Rosemary's Baby (1968) 99%

Our Mother’s Day Card Message: Dear mom, I’ve been researching our family tree online and I have a few questions. Tell the neighbors I send my best!

Motherly Advice: “Pain, begone, I will have no more of thee!”


9. Kendall Ryan (Selma Blair) in Mom and Dad (2018) 75%

(Photo by © Momentum Pictures )
Our Mother’s Day Message: Thanks for putting us through that. We truly appreciate how good we used to have it after being chased through the house by you and dad (Nicolas Cage). You literally trying to kill us, but we really were spoiled little jerks. Can’t wait to raise/chase kids of our own, someday.
Motherly Advice: “Do you mind not Facebooking when we’re driving together?”

10. Sarah (Alysson Paradis) in Inside (À l'intérieur) (2007) 83%

(Photo by © Weinstein Company)
Our Mother’s Day Message: Everyone tells me you had a very difficult pregnancy, but they refuse to give me any details about it. Weird. Thanks for keeping me safe though!
Motherly Advice: “Why me?”

11. Mother (Hye-ja Kim) in Mother (Madeo) (2010) 96%

(Photo by © Magnolia Films)

Our Mother’s Day Message: Thanks for doing everything you could to prove my innocence over that horrific crime. Only a mother would go that far for someone!
Motherly Advice: “My son didn’t do it!”


12. Nola Carveth (Samantha Egger) in The Brood (1979) 79%

(Photo by © New World Pictures)
Our Mother’s Day Message: You’re the best mom a throng of freakish, asexual, homicidal mutant Canadian toddlers could ever ask for!
Motherly advice: “I think I must be getting… stronger!”

13. Mother (Susanne Wuest) in Goodnight Mommy (Ich seh, Ich seh) (2015) 84%

(Photo by © RADiUS-TWC)
Our Mother’s Day Message: Get well soon, mom! Or should we say, “woman in bandages who is obviously posing as our mom.” We’ll get to the bottom of this!
Motherly advice: “I am your mother!”

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