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Serial Mom (1994) Collector's Edition - Blu-ray Review

4 beers“Honey, look! I made a killing,” exclaims Beverly Sutphin as she marches hurriedly back to her daughter’s booth with a black fire poker in her hand.  She’s as clueless as she is psychotic and the hilariously long line of cop cars that follows her on the way to church is proof enough.  I seriously doubt anyone can ever forget Kathleen Turner’s murderous performance in the black comedy Serial Mom

Director John Waters (Pink Flamingos, Cry Baby) skewers suburbia like few others dare even dream about.  He knows the location well.  He also knows comedies.  He knows that audiences get fidgety after 90-minutes and that they will stop laughing if the material is too long.  Thankfully, he also knows that getting caught masturbating to Chesty Morgan, who has two large watermelon-sized boobs, is comedy worth mining.

Released in 1994, the film continues – as it is now available on blu-ray in a Collector’s Edition released by Scream Factory - to be an uproarious comedy/crime thriller that seriously knows no bounds in celebrating good old-fashioned BAD taste.   It’s also proof that sometimes the high-dollar film critics have NO idea what the hell they are talking about as it was received with some interestingly misguided reviews. 

Before Court TV and successfully predicting the whole O.J. Simpson ordeal, there was Serial Mom.  But some of the critics couldn’t get on board with the crime satire.  John Waters lost his edge?  He went mainstream?  What the fuck ever.  Serial Mom, with its off the wall humor and suburbia-meets-horror vibes, is 100% Waters material.   You couldn’t get any further left of center.

Co-starring Sam Watterson, Rikki Lake and Mathew Lilard as the members of Turner’s scripted family, Serial Mom is the antidote to all the sick family films that tried to warp my generation’s head in the early 1980s.  It’s antithetical to EVERYTHING those films blabbered on about and it hilariously makes it landing as a disturbed take on everything television shows like The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet portrayed when Waters was younger.  The result – once alternative rockers L7 takes the stage – is an amazing clash of generations.    

Who knew that being a mother could drive a woman crazy?  Well, the facts are revealed for all to see in Serial Mom.  Motherhood, stemming from the most precious member of the family, can, in fact, drive a person to murder.  Turner is magnificent, playing the hilarity up with an immutable joy.  She’s on fire throughout, relishing on any chance to turn a pair of scissors into a weapon of mass destruction.

As Serial Mom is designed to reflect a “true story” vibe that has been ripped from the tabloid newspapers, Waters adds dates and times.  It’s a tricky think to maintain, but he does effectively well, which confused some audiences who accepted that it was a real story.  He also rolls around in the satirical nature of our celebrity-obsessed culture with over-the-top performances from Mink Stole, Traci Lords, and Patty Hearst.  There’s even a cameo from Suzanne Somers.  One can also spot Waters’ own film influences in the background.  Everyone from Roger Corman to William Castle is there.  Even Herschell Gordon Lewis gets his turn with a blood-soaked look at one of his many horror flicks..

Suburbia gets sauced with Serial Mom.  How else can you interpret Sutphin’s actions when she – looking every bit like Harriet Nelson (complete with a pearl necklace) – takes a large chicken leg and bludgeons an annoying video store customer to death with it.  Rewind your tapes, Motherfucker!  And Turner embraces the insanity with glee.  There’s a sparkle in her eyes with each and every murder and dismissal of her family’s concern.  The courtroom scene is classic Waters.  Classic. 

Buckle up, Scotty!  Serial Mom has returned!


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Serial Mom (1994) Collector's Edition - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
95 mins
: John Waters
John Waters
Kathleen Turner, Sam Waterston, Ricki Lake
: Comedy | Crime
She's a fabulous, loving, caring mother, who er... ...happens to be a serial killer!
Memorable Movie Quote: "I tell you right there I saw blood on the bottom of her shoes, not exactly blood, it was gore, hanging there like a runny nose."
Theatrical Distributor:
Savoy Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
April 13, 1994
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
May 9, 2017
Synopsis: Beverly (Turner) is the perfect happy homemaker. Along with her doting husband Eugene (Sam Waterston) and two children, Misty (Ricki Lake) and Chip (Matthew Lillard), she lives a life straight out of Good Housekeeping. But this nuclear family just might explode when Beverly's fascination with serial killers collides with her ever-so-proper code of ethics – transforming her from middle class mom to mass murderer! Soon, the bodies begin to pile up... and suburbia faces a horror even worse than wearing white after Labor Day.


[tab title="Blu-ray Review"]

Serial Mom (1994) Collector's Edition - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray
- May 9, 2017
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English SDH
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A/1

Scream Factory presents Serial Mom with a polished visual upgrade from its original DVD release.  The new transfer showcases the draw of the suburbs with a nice, scenic beauty.  The film is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio.  Nicely saturated, there are no dents in its shiny armor.  Colors are strong throughout and are particularly memorable with their inclusion of details and strong edges.  Black levels are clearly defined, too.  Important considering the film takes place during the evening hours.  Shadows are detailed.  The DTS-HD MA 5.1 track is solid and aggressive.



  •  There are two commentaries that will delight fans of the movie.  The first commentary is with John Waters and Kathleen Turner.  The second is with John Waters.

Special Features:

Scream Factory gives us an upgraded release of writer/director John Waters’ movie with one NEW supplemental item.  It’s a good one, too.  Featuring Waters in conversation with Turner and Stole, the three friends share their memories of the movie and its shoot.  It’s quite good.  What follows are some archival looks at the movie.  Reversible sleeve art is also included.

  • NEW – A Conversation With Director John Waters, Actress Kathleen Turner And Actress Mink Stole
  • Serial Mom: Surreal Moments – Featuring Interviews With Waters, Stole, Actress Patricia Hearst, Actress Ricki Lake, Actor Matthew Lillard, Casting Director Pat Moran, Production Designer Vincent Peranio & More!
  • Feature Commentary With John Waters And Kathleen Turner
  • Feature Commentary With John Waters
  • The Making Of Serial Mom – Original Promotional Featurette
  • The Kings Of Gore: Herschel Gordon Lewis And David Friedman Featurette
  • Original Theatrical Trailer


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[tab title="Art"]Serial Mom (1994) Collector's Edition - Blu-ray Review