6.8/10
26,764
123 user 67 critic

Serial Mom (1994)

Trailer
3:00 | Trailer
She's the perfect all-American parent: a great cook and homemaker, a devoted recycler, and a woman who'll literally kill to keep her children happy.

Director:

John Waters

Writer:

John Waters
1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kathleen Turner ... Mom
Sam Waterston ... Dad
Ricki Lake ... Misty
Matthew Lillard ... Chip
Scott Morgan Scott Morgan ... Detective Pike (as Scott Wesley Morgan)
Walt MacPherson Walt MacPherson ... Detective Gracey
Justin Whalin ... Scotty
Patricia Dunnock ... Birdie
Lonnie Horsey Lonnie Horsey ... Carl
Mink Stole ... Dottie Hinkle
Mary Jo Catlett ... Rosemary Ackerman
John Badila John Badila ... Mr. Stubbins
Kathy Fannon Kathy Fannon ... Betty Sterner
Doug Roberts ... Ralph Sterner
Traci Lords ... Carl's Date
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Storyline

A picture perfect middle class family is shocked when they find out that one of their neighbors is receiving obscene phone calls. The mom takes slights against her family very personally, and it turns out she is indeed the one harassing the neighbor. As other slights befall her beloved family, the body count begins to increase, and the police get closer to the truth, threatening the family's picture perfect world. Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

She's a fabulous, loving, caring mother, who er... ...happens to be a serial killer! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for satirical presentation of strong violence, vulgar language, and sexual episodes | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Julie Andrews was considered for the role of Beverly Sutphin. See more »

Goofs

In the main-title sequence, when Beverly swats a fly on a tray on the Sutphins' kitchen table, she brings back the swatter to an upright position as quickly as she swats the fly. However, in closeup in the next shot, the swatter is down flat on the tray. Once established, the swatter is pulled away more slowly than in the preceding shot, revealing the squashed fly. After the squashed fly is revealed, the director's credit appears. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Eugene Sutphin: That's a nice dress you're wearing this morning, Misty.
Misty Sutphin: Thanks.
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Crazy Credits

No flies were injured or killed in the making of this motion picture. See more »

Connections

References Basic Instinct (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Daybreak
Written by Barry Manilow and Adrienne Anderson
Performed by Barry Manilow
Courtesy of Arista Records, Inc.
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User Reviews

We all have our bad days...
8 August 2000 | by Rusty-61See all my reviews

I am a hardcore John Waters fan, but this is not my favorite film of his. I can't really think of anything I would want to change about it, however, other than maybe setting it in the 50's or 60's so Van Smith could have worked his costume magic. I personally consider this film and Pecker to be his weakest. However, even my least favorite Waters film beats most movies. If another director, say Robert Zemeckis or someone had directed this, then based on the subject matter, I probably wouldn't have had any interest in seeing it. But hey, any movie containing the credits "Written and Directed by John Waters" (in this case, the credit is superimposed over an image of a pulverized fly who has just been swatted by the title character...he always picks the best shots for his credit, doesn't he?) well, I'm there, no matter what the premise is. Waters' films often center on 'troubled' but lovable female characters, and this one is no exception. Kathleen Turner does a great job portraying Beverly Sutphin, a June Cleaver-esque, devoted happy homemaker who doesn't even allow gum in her house, but has a short fuse and keeps a secret scrapbook (I wonder if it was from Waters personal collection) of clippings about serial killers. We don't know how long she's been killing, but the first half of the film follows a week in her life and the various neighbors and acquaintances she dispatches simply because they pi$$ her off. Ever momentarily had an urge to kill someone when they stole a parking spot from you, badmouthed a member of your family, or committed an obvious fashion violation? We don't act on it (well, *I* don't anyway, maybe some of you have and I just don't know about it) but Serial Mom sure does.

Again, only Waters could have pulled this movie and subject matter off. If you're a Waters devotee, then you are well aware that criminal behavior, trials, and serial killers are subjects near and dear to his heart-this is a man who is a self-confessed "trial groupie". With any other filmmaker, it could have been boring. Many probably would have been extremely offended by a movie about a lovable serial killer played for laughs (especially those who knew the victim of a violent crime) but the tone of the movie is so light and over-the-top that only people with no sense of humor could think it might condone murder. Who else but Waters could think of a victim being bludgeoned to death with a slab of pork chop (because she made the mistake of not rewinding a movie before she returns it to the video store) while watching a videotape of "Annie"? This is not the funniest Waters movie I've seen, but it has its moments. Among the funniest are the scenes where Beverly torments her neighbor Mink Stole with hilariously obscene phone calls to drive her over the edge. Also very amusing are scenes where Beverly's whitebread manner ("oh honey, the only "serial" I know anything about is Rice Krispies!") contrasts with the horrified stares of her family and neighbors. Turner is best in the moments when she goes from a harmless Donna Reed to Charles Manson within seconds when someone makes the mistake of annoying her- just watch her face. Waters fans should also watch for cameos /small roles by Alan Wendel, Traci Lords, Susan Lowe, Mary Vivian Pearce (I only recognized her from her distinctive voice) and though he doesn't appear in the credits, Waters manages to work in Don Knotts.

This is one of the few Waters films that I rent from time to time rather than own, but it's still lots of fun. I'll take one of Waters less memorable films over a teen slasher flick or anything starring Jean-Claude Van Damme any day of the week.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 April 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Serial Mom See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$13,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,040,450, 17 April 1994

Gross USA:

$7,820,688

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$7,820,688
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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