• R, 1 hr. 33 min.
  • Drama, Horror, Comedy
  • Directed By:    John Waters
  • In Theaters:    Apr 13, 1994 Wide
  • On DVD:    Jul 13, 1999
  • HBO Video

Serial Mom Reviews

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cosmo313 cosmo313
Super Reviewer
½ June 18, 2006
A cheerful, seemingly perfect suburban housewife in the vein of June Cleaver is secretly a viciously vengeful killer in this delightful romp from John Waters.

Finding a nice middle ground between subversion and the dignified mainstream (with a touch of camp), this is an alternate take on some of the same territory mined by Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers that same year, though done far less seriously, and not chaotically experimental. It is blatantly a satire, and yes, the acting is that way on purpose. I guess some people just weren't in on the joke, hence why this seems to generate a lot of mixed opinions.

I'll admit this isn't the greatest movie, but it is fun. You have to be in the right frame of mind for Waters's style and shtick, but I think it works well with this type of ludicrously over the top subject matter. It's so silly and ridiculous, but that's what makes it fun. This is a woman who will murder someone just for making a fashion faux pas or insulting one of her kids, yet she maintains a facade of being the most wholesome mom ever.

The performances are great. Kathleen Turner steals the show in the lead role, and this is easily one of her best performances, if not the absolute best. She really gets the tone, character, and ideas Waters was pushing for. Though not quite as good or memorable, Sam Waterston, Ricki Lake, and Matthew Lillard are all pretty decent as the killer mom's husband and kids respectfully. We also get appearance from Waters regulars like Mink Stole and Patricia Hearst, as well as cameos from Suzanne Somers and the band L7 (performing under the name Camel Lips.

All in all, this is a fairly decent piece of work. It is goofy, but if you can't understand that it is tongue in cheek by design, then I can't help you.
AJ V
Super Reviewer
½ September 6, 2010
My favourite John Waters movie so far! This is one of those horror movies that are so outrageous they're hilarious, or in other words a black comedy (which is slightly more scary than funny). I highly recommend this movie.
FiLmCrAzY FiLmCrAzY
Super Reviewer
September 29, 2007
It is funny in places, but i got a bit confused as it said at the beginning of the movie that it is a movie based on real events which i find really hard to believe, which is just as well as it was a gag by john waters who said the whole thing was made up!!
Just as well it was made up because it is very hard to believe she didnt get caught and then when she did get caught she got lit off!!
it is funny and i like kathleen turner in this movie she played the part really well but its not that fantastic i guess worth the watch though!!
ScoopOnline ScoopOnline
Super Reviewer
December 11, 2009
Christ, Kahtleen Turner was Brilliant as Psycho Mom. Anything that annoyed her, got vanished!
puffchunk puffchunk
Super Reviewer
½ October 23, 2007
Now chip, you know I don't like the brown word.
mwilliams078 mwilliams078
Super Reviewer
September 13, 2008
Serial Mom, directed by the crazy John Waters makes this movie sooo damn funny. A regular Martha Stewart on the outside (Kathleen Turner) has many secrets in her personal life. People would be shocked and scared about the horrible things she thinks and does. One od my very fav scenes in this movie is of Turner making a prank phone call to her neighbor..."pussy willows....dotty" she would just say that over and over...it is too funny.
Cassandra M
Super Reviewer
January 8, 2008
An uproariously witty satire on "petty" bourgeois American values, John Waters brings his own distinctive madness to the screen by focussing on cardboard cut-out caricatures of pop culture Americana.

Turning his outrageous gaze on an archetypally perfect housewife and mother from the Baltimore suburbs in Maryland, supportive to her loving husband and teenage kids and possessing a real tlent for cooking, it appears that she is everything a stable, hard-working business man could want. However, there is a slight catch. She is also a serial killer.

Mom's tendency to take bloody revenge on any poor neighbouring housewife who fails to observe her rigid socially acceptable guidelines, like not recycling rubbish or driving too fast, is so barmy you are sure to find it absurdly and darkly funny. Kathleen Turner, alternating between dizzy, unquestioning devotion to her family and clinically cool, yet psychotic anger to offending neighbours, either appears to possess a martyr's yellow halo above her head, denoting divine lightness and freshness, or a focussed smile as she carefully contemplates her next victim.

If you are on the lookout for some perfectly vibrant, yet malicious black comedy, subscribe to "Serial Mom", one of the most ruthless, patronising skits on good manners and nosey, voyeuristic neighbours ever to hit the screen. If you like Waters' latest irreverent venture into visceral, cutting black humour, then get all his other movies, because they are all even more extreme and grotesque - "Pink Flamingos", "Hairspray", "Cry Baby" - all kitschy, underrated classics in their own right.
Stephen M
Super Reviewer
December 3, 2007
A bit too slick, safe and mainstream for some Waters die-hards, this is still a great vehicle for Kathleen Turner. Some of it works splendidly, for example the old woman getting murdered while watching "Annie" is a hoot. Basil Poledouris' terrifically schmaltzy score suits proceedings perfectly. Favourite line: "Help me, Betty! He's worse than the dentist in the "Marathon Man!""
thmtsang thmtsang
Super Reviewer
August 26, 2007
Very funny movie about a housewife who becomes a serial killer in order to protect her family and make the neighbourhood a better place.
Lafe F
Super Reviewer
July 14, 2007
This movie is a hilarious piece of cinema! A classic! Kathleen Turner is hilarious as the mom with a nasty side to her. It's suburban life turned upside down. Sam Waterston is hilarious as her husband who is slowly catching on that something is up with his wife. The kids Ricki Lake and Matthew Lillard are hip and cool. There are so many good and naughty scenes in this movie; my friends have a chuckle discussing all of them.
garyX garyX
Super Reviewer
½ December 10, 2006
This enjoyably tasteless comedy from John Waters is easily his most commercial film. A fun suburban satire in a similar vein to Heathers.
Cindy I
Super Reviewer
May 21, 2007
John Waters strikes again. Not nearly as disgusting as Pink Flamingoes nor as much fun as Crybaby, but listening to Kathleen Turner talk dirty to people on the phone while she's dressed like June Cleaver is pretty funny.
Michael G
Super Reviewer
½ November 23, 2006
Funny as all hell. The last John Waters movie that was actually great.
John B
Super Reviewer
September 25, 2012
Not my favourite Waters effort. It is nonetheless blessed with some funny moments. Ideal for a sketch but not for a complete picture.
Sylvester K
Super Reviewer
July 21, 2011
Absolutely hilarious, simply the best of John waters... Katherine Turner is crazier than ever. The close ups of her face expressed the insanity within
Laurence C
Super Reviewer
May 17, 2009
This typically Waters-esque smackdown of a Stepford-lite suburban community is slightly routine but thoroughly enjoyable. Resolutely thin on the satirizing altogether, the film nevertheless remains tight and focused enough to keep its momentum, and draw more than just a few big yuks along the way. The biggest reason to see this is obviously Kathleen Turner's fierce, devilishly amusing performance. Well worth checking out.
littlecharmer1959 littlecharmer1959
Super Reviewer
November 12, 2008
Best part is the scenes between Kathleen Turner and Mink Stole.

Dottie Hinkle: Hello?
Beverly Sutphin: Is this the Cocksucker residence?
Dottie Hinkle: God damn you! Stop calling here!
Beverly Sutphin: Is this 4215 Pussy Way?
Dottie Hinkle: You bitch!
Beverly Sutphin: Now let me check the zip code. Two-one-two-fuck-you?
Dottie Hinkle: The police are tracing this call this very minute.
Beverly Sutphin: Well, Dottie Hinkle, then why aren't they here, huh, fuckface?
Sunil J
Super Reviewer
½ August 24, 2008
Wow. This was a pretty fun movie that I've always meant to see but just never got around to. It's pretty funny and Kathleen Turner is charming as a serial killer.
Chosen 7
Super Reviewer
½ December 16, 2007
Good film, very entertaining.
D M April 29, 2012
Serial Mom (1994) 3/5
A John Waters film which ventures into the horror genre with his brand of satire and wit firmly intact. Kathleen Turner plays the titular character (her family includes Sam Watterson and Waters' fav Ricki Lake), a seemingly normal housewife who murders when she feels slighted. Soon her family starts to suspect her deeds, but she contuinues to kill even when the heat is on. A lot of cameos (strange ones like Traci Lords and Patty Hearst). Watch this with "Parents" and "The Burbs" and maybe even "Meet the Applegates" or "My Mom's Werewolf."
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