Mrs Loomis, Scream 2 (1997)
Meet The Parents: In a rare example of a parent following their kids’ example, Mrs Loomis (Laurie Metcalf) becomes a serial killer because her son Billy (Skeet Ulrich, in the first Scream ) did. Thing is, he turned murderer because his mother abandoned him. So that’s a pretty awful mess of cause and effect.
Are The Kids Alright? As the villain of the first movie, Billy’s long dead by the time his mum turns up in the sequel.
Natalie Koffin, Mothers Day (2010)
Meet The Parents: If you judge a parent by the way their children turn out, Mother (Rebecca De Mornay) did a pretty awful job. Her three sons are on the run from the law, while her daughter is a mess of irrational anxieties. When Mother turns her attention to torturing the new inhabitants of her old house, all that anger and violence starts to make sense. Yikes.
Are The Kids Alright? Nope. And Mother’s even managed to pick up a new child by the end of the film.
Harry Cooper, Night Of The Living Dead (1968)
Meet The Parents: Mr Cooper (Karl Hardman) is the kind of father who doesn’t brook any disobedience – from his kids or anyone else. When the dead rise, he’s got a plan, and he’s determined to stick to it, no matter how little sense it makes to barricade yourself into a basement with no escape route and a child who’s been bitten by a zombie.
Are The Kids Alright? Ill and injured for most of the film, Karen (Kyra Schon, Hardman’s real life daughter) ends up turning and murdering her parents. So not so much.
Margaret White, Carrie (1976)
Meet The Parents: Puberty is a tough time for kids and for their parents, but Margaret White (Piper Laurie) handles it even more awkwardly than most mothers, telling her poor daughter that her period is a curse, and that her developing body is sinful. That’s a whole lot of misguided guilt to heap on an already troubled teenage girl.
Are The Kids Alright? You know how this one ends. Carrie (Sissy Spacek) ends up killing her classmates, her mother, and herself. Hard to imagine how it could’ve been worse, really.
Mum and Dad, Mum & Dad (2008)
Meet The Parents: Mum (Dido Miles) and Dad (Perry Benson) live in a terrifying house near the airport – any house with a dedicated torture room immediately qualifies as terrifying – and, not content with making their own children miserable, they also send them out to bring home “pets” to mistreat. There’s pretty much no atrocity these horrible parents won’t commit.
Are The Kids Alright? Funnily enough, after a lifetime of physical, mental, and sexual torture, not really.
Alan Russell, Oculus (2014)
Meet The Parents: After buying an antique mirror for his office, Alan Russell (Rory Cochrane) becomes seduced by an evil presence – or maybe his own latent mental illness? – and decides to chain his wife to the bedroom wall. Things just get worse from there, with both of the Russell children existing in constant terror for their lives.
Are The Kids Alright? Tim (Brenton Thwaites) gets sent to a psychiatric hospital, Kaylie (Karen Gillan) in care, and neither of them can get over the horror of their childhoods. So no.
Dorothy Yates, Frightmare (1974)
Meet The Parents: Not everyone’s mother is a great cook, but if Dorothy Yates (Sheila Keith) put dinner on the table, you might lose your appetite. She’s a cannibal, and despite spending years in an institution, she doesn’t seem to have got any better.
Are The Kids Alright? Unfortunately, it seems a taste for human flesh can be inherited. And despite Dorothy’s step-daughter’s desperate attempts to substitute steak for longpig, neither Dorothy nor Debbie (Kim Butcher) can be persuaded to give up their favourite food.
Jack Torrance, The Shining (1980)
Meet The Parents: Writer Jack (Jack Nicholson) reckons the remote Overlook Hotel is the perfect place to spend the winter with his family. But his new play isn’t working out, and they aren’t as alone in the hotel as they might hope.
Are The Kids Alright? Little Danny (Danny Lloyd) has a scary invisible friend and a tendency to croak incomprehensible but eerie phrases in the middle of the night, so although he escapes the hotel with his life, recovering from the whole ordeal might take some time.
Chris Cleek, The Woman (2011)
Meet The Parents: It’s not often you find yourself rooting for a backwoods cannibal to kill and eat someone, but in The Woman , the titular woman is far less of a villain than the supposedly civilised lawyer Chris Cleek (Sean Bridgers). But since he’s a rapist who terrorises his own family as well as random people he kidnaps from the woods, it’s hard not to be glad when he gets his heart yanked out.
Are The Kids Alright? It’s about 50/50. The Cleeks’ son, already showing signs of following dad’s example, gets killed by the Woman, but the two girls are embraced. Then again, does joining a cannibal clan in the woods count as “alright”?
Norma Bates, Psycho (1960)
Meet The Parents: The most famous of all bad movie mothers, Norma Bates (voiced by Virginia Gregg, Jeanette Nolan, and Paul Jasmin) was a little too close to her son. Her mental illness translated into violent over-protectiveness, and Norman (Anthony Perkins) soon developed similar symptoms.
Are The Kids Alright? After murdering his mother, Norman took to pretending to be her, and murdering other women. There’s really no way to put a positive spin on that.