10 Terrifying Horror Movies About Parenting
With the release of Orphan: first murder in August 2022, a 2009 prequel Orphan, the genre revisits parents’ worst nightmares. Being a parent can be scary, especially if horror movies have something to say about it.
Motherhood, fatherhood, parenthood and pregnancy have long fascinated audiences in horror cinema. Iconic movies from the 60s and 70s like Rosemary’s baby at modern A24 fare, parenthood itself is a major source of the horror seen in these films.
Based on the true story of Barbora Srklová, 2009 Orphan is about a couple, Kate and John, who adopt nine-year-old Esther from Russia. Recovering from a previous baby loss, Kate and John hope Esther will complete their family, but she turns out to be a troubled person with a dark past and dark secrets.
Orphan been the subject of criticism from adoption groups (e.g. San Francisco Chronicle) for his description of an adoption gone wrong, but he tapped into real fears. The film seemed to anticipate or inspire another real-life case, concerning adoptee Natalia Grace and her family (BBC). Meanwhile, Orphan reviews were mixed, but Isabelle Fuhrmann’s chilling performance as Esther received widespread praise. She returns in the prequel, Orphan: first murderproving that viewers’ fascination with scary kids isn’t going anywhere.
Good Night Mom (2014)
The Oscar-nominated Austrian horror film, Good night mom, has some disturbing twists up its sleeve. After their mother returns from major cosmetic surgery, twins Elias and Lukas begin to suspect that the woman under the bandages may not be who she claims to be. They gradually turn on her, eventually subjecting her to torture to get the truth.
The Mother, on the other hand, is faceless, isolated and incapable. Because she departs from traditional domestic and maternal expectations, the boys justify their slide into depravity and torment. Good night mom offers grotesque psychological horror through a complex and dramatic exploration of the mother-child relationship.
The Woman in Black (2012)
Although a bit rarer than the horror movie about single moms, there are some great horror movies about single dads out there. 2012 The woman in black is the second screen adaptation of Susan Hill’s novel and follows Arthur Kipps, a young widowed lawyer who travels to a remote – and haunted – estate to put a deceased person’s affairs in order. Leaving his four-year-old son in the care of a nanny, Arthur endures unpleasant attitudes from the townspeople and a series of supernatural incidents at the estate.
As the mystery of the ghostly Woman in Black unfolds, so do the historical and contemporary incidents of child loss. Arthur, played by Daniel Radcliffe, struggles with ongoing grief for his late wife and fear of being a single parent. The revelation of the Woman in Black’s own status as a bereaved parent cements the importance of this theme, bringing an undercurrent of tremendous grief and revenge.
The Orphanage (2007)
Guillermo Del Toro Served as Executive Producer of Spanish-Language Creepy Gothic Horror The orphanage. It follows Laura, who, along with her husband Carlos and adopted son Simón, returns to the orphanage she grew up in, hoping to reopen it as a home for disabled children. From the jump, unusual things begin to happen – including Simón’s claims of befriending a masked child at the orphanage until his sudden disappearance.
At the risk of spoiling several tragic twists, suffice it to say that The orphanage explores the complex emotions associated with adoptive parenting and caring for children with chronic illness or disability. Laura is an easy-to-identify mother figure, but meaner Benigna, a social worker with a mysterious past, also cultivates public sympathy for what she’s been through. Along with its devastating revelations and atmospheric terror, The orphanage is one of the most breathtaking horror films of the 21st century.
The Shining (1980)
Based on Stephen King’s novel, Stanley Kubrick’s horror masterpiece the brilliant discovers the monstrous nature of a seemingly ordinary man. Driven to violence by a combination of addiction, cabin fever, and creeping supernatural influence, Jack Torrance turns against his wife and son while serving as winter watchman at the Overlook Hotel.
the brilliant is interested in cycles and the lingering presence of the past in today’s business. Likewise, it explores the strained relationship between Jack and his young son Danny, who possesses the titular telekinetic powers. Ultimately, although Danny and his mother Wendy escape Jack’s wrath, the film is pessimistic about the possibility of generational change. This concretizes a great parental fear: that our children will inherit our worst qualities and that the cycles of trauma will remain unbroken. The brilliants legacy which, Doctor Sleepconfirms that Danny inherited many demons from his father.
The Others (2001)
A seemingly simple haunted house movie, Others spins a poignant gothic tale with a tragic twist. Centered on Grace Stewart (Nicole Kidman), a widowed mother of two who suspects her home is inhabited by ghosts. These “others” are apparently dismayed by the family’s presence, and Grace sets out to rid her home of intruding spirits.
Nothing in Others is what it seems, but the mystery’s approach humanizes Grace’s devotion to her family before revealing the full extent of her grief. Using the conventions of gothic horror as metaphors for loss and repression, the film offers a nuanced image of a mother struggling with insurmountable grief.
The Omen (1976)
by Richard Donner the omen is a quintessential 70s horror flick about a couple, Robert and Kathy, who unwittingly raise the Antichrist in the form of Damien Thorn. Violence, death and destruction follow the family as Damien comes of age; the real horrors begin as Robert, who replaced his own child who died at birth with infant Damien, investigates the truth.
the omen torments its characters with the revelation that the child they lovingly raised is a monster – and the even more devastating realization that Robert must kill his own son for the safety of others. It plays on the real-life fears of loss of control and guilt that come with parenthood, as well as age-old storytelling conventions about the younger generation rising up to overthrow their parents.
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Widely regarded as one of the greatest horror films ever made, Rosemary’s baby follows the main character’s difficult pregnancy and growing paranoia about her prying New York neighbors. As it becomes clear that the neighbors are part of a satanic clan and may have sinister intentions for her child, Rosemary tries in vain to prevent their influence.
With resonant themes of bodily autonomy and emotional manipulation that are even more relevant today, the ’60s classic finally doubles down on its heroine’s maternal instinct. After all the horrors endured by Rosemary and the revelation that her child is the offspring of Satan, she still chooses motherhood. A gripping central performance from Mia Farrow – and an Oscar-winning turn from Ruth Gordon – lend Rosemary’s baby refinement and timelessness. Reddit may want a reboot of this classic horror flick, but it’s hard to imagine improving its handling of themes and material.
The Babadook (2014)
australian horror movie The Babadook tells its supernatural haunting story through the lens of a grieving widow and her difficult young child. Terrorized by a character from a scary children’s book, Amelia directs her growing frustrations at her six-year-old son, Sam, and begins to lose her grip on reality.
The Babadook depicts, in unsettling detail, the crushing burdens of single motherhood and grief. As Amelia faces the threat of the Babadook, she also struggles with guilt over her feelings of aggression towards Sam. painful expression of the horrors of parenthood – to a harmonious conclusion.
Ari Aster’s debut as director of A24, Hereditary, conducted with marketing that suggested it was a run-of-the-mill horror movie about a terrifying child. However, it surprised audiences by presenting a much more complex and unexpected plot, complete with demonic possession, body horror, and generational trauma.
Toni Collette’s Annie is the film’s tormented central character, who struggles to reconcile her feelings for her psychologically abusive late mother. Meanwhile, she begins to confront her own ambivalence about motherhood and her previous unwitting attempts to harm her two children. Giving voice to her tacit and unpleasant reservations about parenthood, Annie feels exposed and ashamed. The tension between Annie’s devotion to her family and her violent impulses drives her towards the film’s macabre climax.
NEXT: Ranker’s Best A24 Horror Movies