20. VIVECA LINDFORS of CREEPSHOW plays a creepy greedy mom with three daughters in A BELL FROM HELL who sends her nephew to the looney bin (or so he thinks) to collect his inheritance. Is she really evil? Who cares! It’s VIVECA LINDFORS and she’s scary as hell.
19. WENDIE ROBIE as “Mom” in THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS lost a few points due to the fact that she’s not actually anybody’s mom and has kidnapping to thank for her offspring. In any case, she does run a tight ship and her twisted delivery of the line calling for “Total spring cleaning” cinches the deal.
18. Remember how the real nightmare in NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: THE DREAM WARRIORS was Kristen Parker’s (PATRICIA ARQUETTE) nag of a mom Elaine (BROOKE BUNDY)? Even a severed skull couldn’t stop the swinging single from squealing scoldings!
17. With FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC you get two depraved banshees for the price of one. VICTORIA TENNANT and LOUISE FLETCHER duel it out to see who can be the most hands-off guardian imaginable and turn parental negligence into an art form.
16. At first glance WILLARD‘s (ski slope nosed CRISPIN GLOVER) mom Henrietta (JACKIE BUROUGHS) is more pitiable than menacing, but soon you realize her whiny wails hit harder than any mallet. Hanging outside the bathroom Willard occupies and demanding to know what exactly is going on inside shoots her way up the list!
15. BLANCHE BAKER‘s turn as Ruth Chandler in THE GIRL NEXT DOOR is the newest mommy on our list, but trust us she deserves her position. This bitch is so ice cold that if you lick your television screen while she’s on it, your tongue will stick!
14. After spending fifteen years in a funny farm being cured of her cannibalistic ways, FRIGHTMARE‘s Dorothy Yates (SHEILA KEITH) is released to rejoin polite, mostly non-cannibalistic society. Old habits (and some victims) die hard. Here’s one momma who ditches gloss for gritty believability.
13. Don’t mess with RUTH ROMAN in THE BABY! She makes MA BARKER look like BOB BARKER. She’ll do anything to protect her full grown “baby,” (decidedly adult DAVID MOONEY) from dirty outside influences, in what has to be the most deranged cinematic offering from the seventies. (Now, that’s saying something!)
12. Is there anyone meaner than Rosemary Bower (CAROLYN PURDY GORDON) in DOLLS? Step-mommys already have a bad name thanks to Disney propaganda, and she has the nerve to throw her step-kid Jody’s (CARRIE LORRAINE) beloved teddy bear (named “Teddy” natch) into the forest to be lost forever? Sleep well knowing all bears know their way around the woods and that Rosemary Bower is indeed taken down to size!
11. Stand back and gawk at the amazing maternal ferocity and take no prisoners fearlessness of SUSAN TYRRELL in NIGHT WARNING a.k.a. BUTCHER, BAKER NIGHTMARE MAKER! Lame title issues and a questionable “video nasty” ban may have kept this offbeat gem from reaching some viewers but a forthcoming long overdue DVD release is sure to change that. The truth is, SUSAN TYRRELL delivers what may very well be the greatest unheralded horror performance of the last 30 years or so and it’s high time everyone knew about it. DE NIRO eat your heart out!