The Best Foreign Films With Very Unappealing Mothers
Happy Mother’s Day (to our UK readers at least). Enjoy the day spoiling your mother, wife, or being pampered by your own children. The lucky ones amongst us will have been raised by wonderful mothers, but there are some women out there who were not born with the maternal gene, or who would not generally be considered a particularly good influence on the next generation.
Many of these have been represented in film, a selection of which can be found below. So for anyone not appreciating their mother enough, a quick view of what you could have ended up with might change matters…
06. Braindead (New Zealand, 1992)
Long before epic blockbuster and tales of giant monkeys and hobbits, Peter Jackson began life in the world of low-budget schlock horror, a prime example of which being Braindead, dubbed one of the goriest movies of all time. Lionel (Timothy Balme) lives with his domineering mother (Elizabeth Moody), who disapproves of Lionel’s choice of girlfriend and thus sets about snooping on the pair.
As is almost inevitable in such situations, she is bitten by a Sumatran Rat-Monkey (a creature which, according to legend, came into being from the rape of tree monkeys by plague rats). Turned into a zombie, Lionel maintains his duty to look after his mother, while attempting to stop her eating the townsfolk and trying to build a relationship with his unaware girlfriend. A multi-award winning treat which includes some truly unforgettable scenes, particularly of the now monstrous mother and a lawnmower.
This crime-drama has two potential entrants for the list. Lead character Joshua’s (James Frecheville) mother dies early on from a heroin overdose, leading to the protagonist being placed in the care of his estranged grandmother, Janine (Jacki Weaver). Arguably an even more deserving candidate, who happens to be the head of a notorious Melbourne crime family. Janine’s terrifying mix of homely matriarch with bloodthirsty menace is truly a site to behold and earned Jacki Weaver an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress – missing out to The Fighter’s Melissa Leo.
04. Inside (France, 2007)
France’s Inside (A L’interieur) was one of a number produced by the New Wave of French extreme horror cinema, a genre which gained significant traction and attention overseas. It tells the story of heavily pregnant and soon to be single mother Sarah who, on the eve of her delivery, is visited by a mysterious woman claiming to have been in a crash and wanting to use the telephone. Refusing to let her in, things quickly spiral out of control with the stranger identified as being interested in a certain package Sarah is carrying – and unwilling to wait for a natural delivery in order to receive it.
Without doubt, one of the most relentlessly brutal and unforgiving horror films from anywhere in the past decade, Béatrice Dalle makes for a terrifying psychopath, desperate for motherhood.
There are not too many films in which, within the first five minutes, you are left to wonder if someone is not playing a hoax on you with regards to the translation of the subtitles. However, such confusion is clarified when realising the parents are actually seeking to ‘protect’ their offspring by teaching them that words they may come across actually have different meanings. This is just one small part of a larger mission, which effectively involves keeping their children (all well into teenage years) completely shielded from the outside world, with barely any contact with anyone from beyond the core family of five.
Dogtooth is a unique, bizarre, and yet very poignant film which aims to explore parenthood. All too often, we are bombarded with information from the media about the various horrors that await us in the outside world, thus seeking to protect the young from such potentially harmful stimuli may not seem to be the worst idea. However, as this film shows, the building of such an empire can itself be immensely damaging, as well as somewhat disturbing. While true that the mother character in this film is perhaps less forceful and frightening than some of the others, her willing complicity throughout the various acts underlines her suitability for such a list.
02. Mother (Korea, 2009)
Just how far would your mother be willing to go in the event of a gross miscarriage of justice? When Hye-ja’s intellectually disabled son is falsely implicated and imprisoned for a murder he did not commit, she sets about proving his innocence. A process which starts simply enough but takes on a toughness, violence and grittiness which previously would have been unexpected.
Hye-ja perhaps receives a pass, given her noble intentions which were missing from so many other characters listed here – nevertheless, she remains a terrifying and formidable individual you certainly would not want to get on the wrong side of.
One of the cream of the crop in terms of K-horror – no mean feat given some of the other films to have originated from that country – A Tale Of Two Sisters is the highest grossing Korean horror film and was the first to have earned a screening in American cinemas.
A Tale Of Two Sisters is a tough film to give a synopsis without providing spoilers – suffice to say, if you have not seen it, then please rectify that immediately. It offers no less than three potential candidates for a spot as an unappealing mother, although for fear of introducing spoilers, I will leave finding out who, and exactly why, to your own viewing.
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