The approach of Mother’s Day gives us a chance to stop and reflect on the women who have raised us, expressing gratitude for all they’ve sacrificed to shape us into the people we are. While there are plenty of women who have donned the role of lovable mother on the big screen, monster matriarchs have also had their share of screen time, terrorizing their children with physical and emotional abuse, neglect and overall indifference.
Here are some terrible movie mothers who make us especially thankful for the ladies we call mom.
Joan Crawford from Mommie Dearest
What makes Faye Dunaway’s portrayal of monster matriarch Joan Crawford even scarier is that it’s based on the reality that Christina Crawford says she faced at the hands of her adopted mother, a well-known Hollywood actress. The younger Crawford alleged her mother spent years torturing her for the slightest offenses, beating her for hanging a dress on a wire hanger and cutting off chunks of her hair to humiliate her. Dunaway’s depiction of the unhinged mother is truly chilling.
Margaret White from Carrie
Being a high school senior is hard, but having a domineering, fanatical mom who locks you in closets sure does make it harder. Carrie, a shy and unpopular 17-year-old, has a skewed view of the world thanks to her mom’s extreme religious views. But when Carrie discovers she has telekinetic powers, she goes on a murderous rampage against all those who have tormented her, including her monster of a mother.
Kate McAllister from Home Alone 1, 2
It’s one thing to lose your son once, but twice? That’s going to take some serious therapy to get over. While Kevin McAllister was industrious enough to escape the hands of robbers through a series of elaborate traps, you would think mom Kate would learn how to keep better track of her kids.
Mary Jones from Precious
It’s difficult, nay, impossible to find anything redeeming about Mary, the abusive, lazy, emotionally manipulative mother of Precious. Not only is Mary physically violent towards her teen daughter, but she also takes every opportunity she can to tell Precious she’ll never amount to anything, all while fraudulently collecting welfare and spending her days smoking and watching TV.
Zinnia Wormwood from Matilda
Child genius Matilda rarely got any love from her parents, who just couldn’t understand why in the world she would want an education. Matriarch Zinnia chooses looks over books and when she wasn’t deriding Matilda, she was busy neglecting her so she could watch TV or play Bingo. The end of the movie finds her giving away her daughter to a teacher she’s met once, with only one question asked: if anyone has a pen so she can sign the adoption papers.