Serial Mom Screen 5 articles

Serial Mom

1994

Serial Mom Poster
  • Like much of Waters’ later work, with the exception of the family-friendly and Broadway-adapted Hairspray (1988), Serial Mom tends to get overlooked when compared with the rest of Waters’ oeuvre. . . . And yet Serial Mom is one of Waters’ most personal and autobiographical works. Not only has Waters repeatedly called the film one of his best, it captures better than any of his other movies save maybe Female Trouble the central thesis of his work: in America infamy and fame are the same thing.

  • The power of the absurdities of Serial Mom have been dulled, mildly, by the proliferation of properties such as The Real Housewives franchise and the various dysfunctional families on E!, USA Network and TLC, whose every flaw is presented for us to judge (without asking that we hold ourselves accountable). But Serial Mom, perhaps a predictor of this kind of audience obsession, challenges the belief that such judgment should be levied in the first place, sans contrived narrative trauma.

  • Opening on a sunlit suburban breakfast table surrounded by a stereotypical white middle-class family, John Waters’ Serial Mom (1994) proceeds to unrelentingly and hilariously skewer small-town community “values” through the story of Beverly Sutphin (Kathleen Turner), a smiling, stoic, and devoted wife and mother who dabbles in serial murder on the side.

  • ++

    Cine-File Chicago: Jim Gabriel
    April 22, 2016 |

    You don’t seek out Waters for visual felicity—his suburban hell is Sirk-fed, but his blocky compositions look like something trapped in Jane Wyman’s TV in ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS—but the editing has zip, and the narrative economy is really something; Waters writes features with the same point-to-point, high-density punch of a one-reel back yard Super-8 shocker... SERIAL MOM is sunny, zippy trash, and terribly funny; seeing it in concert with cocktails and a costume contest seems a neat fit.

  • Neither as energetic and assured as his Hairspray (1988) nor as lackluster and formulaic as his Cry-Baby (1990), John Waters's Serial Mom alerts us to the fact that the impresario of outrage is getting older and wiser, without ever letting us forget that he still has some fight in him.