Hey, pass the mashed potatoes! ‘Tis the season when families gather together to eat, drink, be merry, and be awkward. No matter how stable or unstable your family is, there’s sure to be a fair share of uncomfortable moments during your holiday get togethers. And while you’re rolling your eyes over another one of Uncle Pete’s zany stories, remember – you share the same genes.
Mashed potatoes, loud football games, and cousins aside, it’s Horror families that take the cake. Cannibalization, deep dark secrets, ghosts, cults – you name it. For your holiday viewing pleasure (perhaps to put on in the basement while your Aunt Gladys drones about her cat upstairs), here’s our list of Horror’s 10 Most Dysfunctional Families of Horror.
10. Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013)
The majority of the Sawyer family may have met a fiery death at the beginning of this retconned sequel, but that fire didn’t catch all of the family. Surviving was Leatherface, himself, and a little baby cousin who went on to be cared for by a part of the mob that burned the family.
Thanks to Grandma Sawyer‘s death, that baby, Heather, (now a 20 something who should be a 30 something) went on to inherit her house which meant inheriting the responsibility of Leatherface. As always, the saw is family, and even though Leatherface butchers her friends, Heather ends up cheering him on as he takes care of the mob that torched their family. There’s nothing like hearing someone yell, “Get ’em, cuz!” to Leatherface the get that family bond going. A great story to tell every holiday!
9. Seed of Chucky (2004)
A serial killer’s soul inherits a doll’s body who puts an ex-girlfriend’s soul into another doll. Those two dolls have doll sex, and produce a doll baby. That doll baby, who has been in a carnival and has been separated from his parents for years, is unsure of its gender, and goes through doll adolescence while trying to decide their true gender.
They all reunite in Hollywood under celebrity Jennifer Tilly‘s abode, and that doll baby witnesses his parents murdering and maiming multiple people while not being fully accepted by the daddy doll.
Ladies and gentlemen, the story of Chucky, Tiffany, and Glen(da). Even without the gory mayhem, this dinner is sure to always be a little tense.
8. Scream 4 (2011)
Sidney Prescott (Never Campbell) should probably have given up on family by the time she planned to return to Woodsboro for her book tour. She’s was the center of a massacre committed due to the adulterous ways of her mother. She was the center of a second massacre that included the demented mother of one of the murderers of the first massacre. In yet another massacre, she discovered that a half-brother that she never knew about was the puppeteer behind the first two massacres.
Family hasn’t been too good for Sidney, but she houses up with her aunt and cousin in Woodsboro. Yet, again, she’s the center of another massacre, but doesn’t for a second guess that a part of her family is behind the carnage. Bad thinking on Sid‘s part as its her fame obsessed niece that is behind this fourth massacre. And that niece is one cray Ghostface.
One can assume that Sidney is pretty much done with family encounters, unless she counts Dewey (David Arquette) and Gail (Courtney Cox) as an extended family.
7. Pet Sematary (1989)
How would you feel if the majority of your immediate family (including your pet cat) dies, but you have the opportunity to bring them back? Would you do it? Louis Creed (Dale Midkiff) did, and he paid the price.
After he buries the family cat in the cemetery behind their house, the cat returns. So when Louis’ son, Gage (Mike Hughes), is ran down by an eighteen wheeler, he buries Gage in the same cemetery. Neighbor Jud (Fred Gwynne) warns Louis to not do this, but of course, a mourning father will do what he can to have his son returned to him. Cause yanno, it’s worth losing neighbor Jud and his own wife to hear his son say “I wanna play with yooooou.” How about “I wanna have Thanksgiving turkey with yooooou“, Gage?
6. The Others (2001)
Imagine spending your short life being told that you can’t go out in the sun because it will basically drain the life out of you. Then you’re privy to the knowledge that it’s all a lie, and you’re actually a dead kid stuck in a big house for the rest of your life. Your mom (Nicole Kidman) didn’t tell you about the time that she smothered you and your sibling in your sleep, and then shot herself.
Awkward silences during the cranberry sauce passing, yeah?
5. House of 1,000 Corpses (2003)
Here’s a family that would probably throw one heck of a shindig during the holidays. Granted, this shindig would more than likely take place on Halloween. It would also include taking in some random strangers, and turning them into macabre works of art, performing bleak rituals around their dead bodies, and giving a few of them up to an underground facility full of medical experiments gone wrong.
But, it’s promised that you’ll be entertained by a lip sync for your life from the family’s most talented member, Baby (Sheri Moon Zombie).
4. Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008)
It’s the future, and organ failure is an epidemic. One family runs GeneCo, the corporation that can finance your organ replacement. Another family’s patriarch is the one who takes your organ from you if you’re behind on payments. That patriarch’s daughter suffers from a blood disease that – shocker – also keeps her from going outside.
The dinner table is actually the stage as an opera gives way to an actual accumulation of the two families’ lives finally coinciding in a mess of gore and familial emotions. Who knew a song between father and daughter titled I Didn’t Know I’d Love You So Much being sang amongst a stage covered in blood could be so beautiful?
3. Get Out (2017)
Your in a spectacular relationship with who could be the love of your life. She wants you to spend a weekend with her parents because things are getting serious. It becomes increasingly clear that her family has a secret. How do you bring that up at the dinner table?
You don’t. You get hypnotized by the girl’s mother, and it’s there in “the sunken place” that you realize this family just isn’t right. They take the bodies of African Americans, and place their ancestor’s souls there.
So, if you sit down with the mother, and she is calmly stirring a teacup with a spoon, what do you do? You get up, and you run.
2. Halloween (2018)
You might assume #2 on this list is because Grandma Laurie’s (Jamie Lee Curtis) brother was a psychopath, and killed all of Grandma’s friends Halloween night, 40 years ago. Nah, that whole brother shtick was something made up by some people.
Halloween (2018) makes the list because of the tension between Mom (Judy Greer) and Grandma because Grandma raised Mom to be a survivalist, but Mom doesn’t want anything to do with that. She believes Grandma has gone nuts. Granddaughter doesn’t get the drama, but then all three get caught up in some Halloween hijinks and all of them get a chance to meet Mikey.
1. Hereditary (2018)
No other family is quite as dysfunctional as the family in this year’s Hereditary. Some family harvest deep, dark secrets. Those secrets never really show their face until the one who holds the secret passes away. In this case, Grandma passes, and it’s not until after her passing that the family realizes that their history of mental illnesses comes from a very, very dark place that holds that deep, dark secret that’s just itching to get out.
10 movies. 11 families. Each one with a demented story to be told. But – it’s family. Can’t live with them. Can’t live without them. And in these horror families, things could go either way.