Here it is Mother’s Day again. What better way to say I love you, Mom, than to treat her to some horror films with a matriarchal theme? It may seem as if women have gotten the shaft as far as horror films are concerned. But I think there are plenty out there that celebrate our attributes as well as our downfalls. And let’s not forget that without women, no one would be here.
That’s right, boys, we are the shit. You know this. Mothers have been portrayed in many different lights throughout the history of horror films. Some are the protectors and some are the influence of evil. Let’s explore a few.
Women are often strident protectors of their families as a whole, not to mention their children. A woman may be as docile as a lamb but if you even feign interest in going after her offspring she will take you out tout de suite. Think of films like The Hand that Rocks the Cradle or The Guardian. In both of these examples it is another woman who poses the threat.
No mother will take that lying down. In both cases, she was a little naive but quickly learned that if anyone was going to save their young, it would have to be them. Rawhead Rex is one of my favorite examples of empowered motherhood. When Rawhead is inadvertently released from imprisonment, he wreaks havoc on the small Irish town and no man can stop him. In the end, only the power of a woman can bring him down.
Rosemary’s Baby is another film that involves the power of a mother’s love. I am not a mother myself so I cannot readily say I would wish to raise the devil’s spawn. But then a mother’s love is stronger than any other, so who can say? You could even look to the alien mother in Aliens in this sense. Although I think she straddles the fence between evil and guardian. She is merely searching for a way to ensure the survival of her species.
Isn’t that really what being a mom is all about? And let’s not leave out Serial Mom. Beverly envisions a world of perfection where everyone gives thank-you waves in traffic and remembers to rewind their videotapes. God help you if you spurn her daughter for Traci Lords. She also lives on the cusp between the two extremes. Killing is bad, but I’ll be damned if I can fault her for all of those deaths.
Now to the other end of the spectrum with dangerous mother figures like Mrs. Voorhees. Sure she is grieving for the loss of her son, but the calculated killing of those that are not really responsible goes a little farther than having a chat with the school bully. There are also mothers who perpetuate the evil in their broods.
These include movies like the obvious Psycho. Norman’s mother was twisted herself and is the reason her son ended up the consummate bachelor. Talk about not getting along with your mother-in-law. He makes this task even more difficult by BEING his mother. You can no longer just avoid her at Sunday dinner.
To continue this trend, Carrie White’s mother is another whose personal life bleeds into her child, causing all sorts of damage. Carrie is not evil, but her mother has made her life so difficult that she can finally take it no more. She is ostracized by her classmates to the point of retaliation, than turns the tables on her mom to complete her cycle of revenge and cleansing.
These are just a few of the mother inspired horror films out there. But there are many more to choose from like Mother’s Boys for example. So if you are wondering how to let the child bearer in your life know that she is loved, sit her down to one of these and either praise her for being like them or thank her for being the complete opposite. No matter what you decide, I can think of no better way to celebrate being a woman in all its glory than some wholesome gore and violence. I know that would make my day.