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Serial Mom (1994)

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A sweet mother finds herself participating in homicidal activities when she sees the occasion call for it.

Director:

John Waters

Writer:

John Waters
1 nomination. See more awards »

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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:

At least she meant well 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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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 April 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Los asesinatos de mamá 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
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Wil Wheaton auditioned for the part of Chip, which ultimately went to Matthew Lillard. See more »

Goofs

When Beverly goes to Chip's school for a P.T.A. meeting, Mr. Stubbins says Chip is "off to a fine start this year". However, a card in the opening scene established that the day is Friday, May 14, 1993, which would be nearing the end a school year, not the beginning. See more »

Quotes

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

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Features The Joan Rivers Show (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Tomorrow
Written by Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin
Courtesy of Edwin H. Morris & Company
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Frequently Asked Questions

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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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