Oooow-eeee, oooow-eee! Oooow-eeee, oooow-eee! Calls Beverly Sutfphin to the birds in her garden. Mrs Sutphin looks like butter wouldn’t melt, but she harbours a dark secret. She simply cannot abide bad manners. And if someone ticks her off, or upsets her family, she’s likely to take it personally, and there will be blood.
I first saw Serial Mom at a sleepover when it was first released on video, I must’ve been about 13 or 14, and my friends and I absolutely loved it. We all grew up watching Kathleen Turner in films like Romancing the Stone, Jewel of the Nile and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? so we found it an absolute hoot to see her in something so different. Thankfully, when I watched Serial Mom again a few days ago, I found I still liked it. What a relief!
I can imagine that Serial Mom won’t be to everyone’s taste – our protagonist is a homicidal housewife who offs her acquaintances without remorse – and does so in high camp fashion (this is a John Waters film, after all). I can also imagine that there are those among you who won’t appreciate murder being given the comedy treatment, and that’s fair enough. That said, Turner is wonderful and takes on her role with great relish, which makes it all the more fun for us.
Not only is Serial Mom great fun but it puts a unique spin on the serial killer sub genre. Waters makes some interesting comments on the nature of celebrity and how the public’s fascination with people who commit these gruesome acts, is itself sick and barbaric. Beverley becomes a celebrity and the fools in the gallery are actually rooting for her!