When it comes to John Waters there are few and far between that have done as much for independent or "maverick" cinema than just about anyone. Although I've not always been the biggest fan of his work I actually can appreciate what he does regardless. However in my opinion his 1994 film "Serial Mom" is not only incredibly underrated, but it's also an extremely funny and entertaining film from beginning to end. The characters are certainly more "mainstream" than in a lot of Waters projects, but it's amazing that the film doesn't lose the feel that his movies tend to have.
"Serial Mom" is the story of the typical white picket fence suburban family. Beverly Sutphin is the mother of said family who enjoys the things that most of your typical mothers do. She's into taking care of her family, cooking, bird watching, and of course sickening acts of murder. Not only that but she has a favorite neighbor that she likes to call and harass on a daily basis as well (played wonderfully in the film by Waters regular Mink Stole). But as the body count continues to grow the neighbors, the police, and her own family start to suspect that she's certainly not as perfect as she may come off.
It had been years since I've seen this one but I was shocked at just how well it really held up. It's honestly a movie that had me laughing my ass off throughout and it's a must see for a lot of horror film fans. I think horror fans will get a kick out of all of the HG Lewis love that's going around in this one as I know I did too. Kathleen Turner is downright brilliant as the murderess mom, with Sam Waterston being great comic relief in the film as the dad of the family. We also have the son and daughter in the family played by Matthew Lillard (Scream) in his first film role, and former talk show host and star of Waters "Hairspray" Ricki Lake as well.
Personally I found this movie to be incredibly entertaining throughout and it's a hilariously strange film. Waters unique personality gave this movie something that it wouldn't have had otherwise and his influence is completely spread throughout this one. Hell, the movie even takes place in his hometown of Baltimore Maryland which gives it the rural USA vibe too that even reminds you of the 1950s nuclear family.
Overall "Serial Mom" is a excellent little film that honestly deserves a lot more attention than it gets. It's funny, well put together, and executed flawlessly. Not only do I recommend this movie but there are also some great features on the disc including a commentary with Waters, a HG Lewis/David Friedman featurette that's short but cool, as well as lots of other good stuff. If you haven't seen this yet, it's certainly the right time now with this great DVD release.
Rating - ***