Serial Mom (1993)

35mm film, Technicolor, 1.66:1
Dolby Stereo, English

An American comedy film with borderline horror elements directed by John Waters.

Plot Summary

A seemingly perfect middle class family harbours a dark secret – the mother is obsessed with protecting her family from even the slightest threat, even if that means resorting to serial murder. But the police are starting to close in on the “serial mom” and her perfect family is about to implode…


Directed by: John Waters
© 1993 Savoy Pictures
A Savoy Pictures presentation. A Polar Entertainment production. A film by John Waters
Executive Producer: Joseph Caracciolo Jr
Produced by: John Fiedler and Mark Tarlov
Associate Producer: Pat Moran
Written by: John Waters
Director of Photography: Robert M. Stevens
Edited by: Janice Hampton, Erica Huggins
Music by: Basil Poledouris
Sound Mixer: Rick Angelella
Costume Designer: Van Smith
Key Make-Up: Betty Beebe
Key Hairstylist: Ardis Cohen
Special Effects Coordinator: Joe DiGaetano
Production Designer: Vincent Peranio

Kathleen Turner (mom [Beverly R. Sutphin])
Sam Waterston (dad [Eugene Sutphin])
Ricki Lake (Misty [Sutphin])
Matthew Lillard (Chip [Sutphin])
Mary Jo Catlett (Rosemary Ackerman)
Justin Whalin (Scotty [Barnhill])
Patricia Dunnock (Birdie)
Mink Stole (Dottie Hinkle)
Patricia Hearst (juror #8)
Suzanne Somers (herself)
Scott Wesley Morgan (Detective Pike)
Walt MacPherson (Detective Gracey)
Lonnie Horsey (Carl Pageant)
John Badila (Mr [Paul] Stubbins)
Kathy Fannon (Mrs [Betty] Sterner)
Doug Roberts (Mr [Ralph] Sterner)
Traci Lords (Carl's date)
Tim Caggiano (Marvin Pickles)
Jeff Mandon (Howell Hawkins)
Colgate Salsbury (Father Boyce)

Alternative Titles

Los asesinatos de mama – Spanish title
Eema Sidratit – Hebrew Israeli title
Mamá, asesina serial – Argentinian title
Mamãe é de Morte – Brazilian title
Sarjamurhaajamutsi – Finnish title
Serial Mom – Warum läßt Mama das Morden nicht? – German title
Serial Mother – French title
La signora ammazzatutti – Italian title
Titkos gyilkos mama – Hungarian title

Includes extracts from
Blood Feast (1963)
Strait-Jacket (1964)
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

Extracts included in
In Bad Taste (2000)

See also
Basil Poledouris: His Life and Music (1997)
Death Becomes Her (1992)
Friday the 13th (1980)
Ghost Dad (1990)
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)
In Cold Blood (1967)
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Pee-wee's Playhouse (1986)
Zombi 2 (1979)



  • Box no.2 (June/July 1997) p.18 – review
  • epd Film vol.11 no.6 (1 June 1994) p.35 – review (Warum lässt Mama das Morden nicht? by Heike-Melba Fendel)
  • FilmMagasinet October/November 1994 p.12 – review (Gard Jenssen)
  • Première June 1994 p.62 – review (by Diasteme)
  • Premiere vol.7 no.12 (August 1994) pp.38-39 – illustrated article
  • Radio Times vol.299 no.3898 (24 October 1998) p.59 – illustrated article
  • Serial Killer Cinema: An Analytical Filmography by Robert Cetti pp.403-404
  • Sight & Sound vol.4 no.6 (June 1994) pp.60, 61 – credits, synopsis, review
  • Sight & Sound vol.4 no.10 (October 1994) p.59 – note
  • Sight & Sound vol.5 no.6 (June 1995) p.63 – note
  • Studio Special Cannes 1994 p.43 – review (by Michel Rebichon)
  • Studio June 1994 p.35 – review (by Michel Rebichon)
  • Télérama no.2315 (25 May 1994) p.44 – review (by Isabelle Danel)


  • A Capital, Guia TV 16 January 1998 – review (by Rui Brazuna)


  • Serial Killer Cinema: An Analytical Filmography by Robert Cetti p.403-404

Other sources

  • BFI Southbank Guide October-November 2018 p.28 – illustrated listing