Serial Mom

John Waters, USA, 1993, 93 minutes

The films which Waters made in the eighties and early ninetes, such as Hairspray and Cry-Baby, were slightly less harsh-edged than his eadiest work. In Serial Mom, he harks back in terms of violence to those earliest projects, although in other ways he moves more directly towards the commercial mainstream. Serial Mom particularly recalls Multiple Maniacs, which was inspired by the Sharon Tate murder and featured Divine as a mass murderer who dailies en route to damnation with a perverted nun. No Divine this time, but rather Kathleen Turner as an apparently immaculate mother and housekeeper who, as the title suggests, has latent psychotic tendencies.

As it has in common with his earliest films a tendency towards grotesquely and blackly humorous murders, Serial Mom matches Water's more recent work in terms of being slick and stylish. Turner is good as a sort of twisted Hyacinth Bucket with teeth, and the usual catchy sound track of Water's films adds to the fun. Waters, in some ways a Russ Meyer sans mammary obsession, here largely succeeds in marrying the style of his 1980s and 90s films with the carnal excess of his 70s work if somewhat toned down.

Great (if dark) fun.

Review by Iain Lang
Taken from EUFS Programme 1995-96