Family films don’t have to be Disney or Pixar kid friendly flicks. Of course, when you think family movies, Psycho and Mommie Dearest don’t leap immediately to mind. Still, some of the most weirdly twisted families help birth popular movies. From Psycho to Mommie Dearest, to Star Wars and Star Trek – family angst and dysfunction play on the cinema canvas of Hollywood’s biggest movies.
Norma Bates was the overly loving, smothering mother of Norman, who now runs the Bates Motel all by his lonesome. Or is she really deceased? Why do folks still see and hear her rattling around in the big house on the hill? Those crazy questions make Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece terrific fun. Janet Leigh as ill fated Marion Crane and Tony Perkins as naughty Norman are two reasons fans keep this psychological thriller on top of their film favorites. Hitchcock’s last film was Family Plot with Karen Black, however Psycho boasts his most disturbingly intriguing plot of murder, suspense and familial shock.
When I told you to call me that (Mommie Dearest), I wanted you to mean it. Such is this filmed family horror ride of Christina Crawford’s best selling tell all on her fractured family, most specifically about film legend and diva Joan Crawford. Despite charges of silly camp – Camp King John Waters himself doesn’t consider the film campy at all – the movie remains a testament to the power, and dangers of a family unit from hell. Apparently, Faye Dunaway refuses to talk about her performance or the film at all these days. It’s a real shame, because aside from her electric turn in Bonnie and Clyde, this will probably be the film she’s most associated with, and one most of her fans worship.
Star Trek: First Contact
I am the beginning. The end. The one who is many. I am the Borg.Alice Krige leads the Borg as Queen, A family of drones act as her brooding brood. Star Trek has a long history essentially about a big family in space. Whomever are your favorites, Captain Kirk, Captain Picard or Mister Spock, the fact is that the crew of a big starship act as family, for good or bad. When Picard’s starship saves the day at a massive battle with a Borg Cube, the Borg matriarch beams over and wreaks havoc on Picard’s family of starfleet professionals. When Data – acting as the Queen’s lackey – comments that Picard, “…will make an excellent drone.”, we know Picard won’t join this new freaky family, but will reunite his old one, to save the universe as we know it for the umpteenth time.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Leatherface is a bad boy, but he’s still a bizarre boy man with a family. Tobe Hooper’s still shocking horror masterpiece paints one of the most creepy, yet intriguing families this side of The Munsters or The Addams Family. When new, fresh family candidates are met, the bloody brood either kidnaps them, kills them, or makes them so crazy, they want to kill themselves. Now, who says horror movies have no redeeming social value. After watching this, anyone’s family looks positively harmonious!
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Luke, I am your father. Darth Vader (James Earl Jones) isn’t lying when he utters the most famous fatherly words to his Jedi son Luke (Mark Hamill) Skywalker. The problem with this revelation, is that it doesn’t make Luke all warm and fuzzy inside. No, this isn’t a family unit like The Brady Bunch or Swiss Family Robinson, it’s a tale of a megalomaniacal weirdo who’s designs on galactic domination is only matched by his lightsaber prowess. It earns fan legions for cosmic costumes, high tech wonders, and rousing action, but it’s often forgotten Star Wars is one of the most effectively popular tales of family dysfunction, this side of the force.