We learn so much from our parents. We learn how to take care of ourselves and how to be functioning members of society. Of course, these lessons often come with expectations attached. Expectations of who our parents want us to be or what they want us to accomplish. One could argue it’s reasonable for parents to hold their children to these expectations seeing as they are the ones that gave them life in the first place. But for the characters on this list, those lessons and expectations are not so reasonable!
You may want to call up mom and dad and thank them for not being like these parents after reading this list of 10 Parents Whose Kids Continued Their Killer Legacy!
10. House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
Rob Zombie’s film about the Firefly family, deranged psychopaths who terrorize two couples on vacation. It’s easy to see where the kids get their sadistic nature, though, as the matriarch, played by the talented Karen Black (Nashville), seems pleased to let her children torture people so long as she gets to flirt with their victims a bit. As for the father, it’s a slight spoiler as the clown that opens the film, Captain Spaulding, is revealed to be the father of the murderous Firefly children. With parents like that, it’s no wonder these kids are out of control!
9. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Another messed up family, Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre shows a family devastated by the changing times. Behind the teenagers being murdered is an underlying tragedy of a family’s refusal to let go of traditions which moves them to slaughter people now that all slaughterhouses have shut down. At the head of this family is the extremely senile and barely-alive Grandpa who not only participates in the killing, but likely also the source of the family’s adherence to tradition.
8. Somos Lo Que Hay (We Are What We Are) (2010)
Moving on to another cannibal family, Jorge Michel Grau’s Somos Lo Que Hay explores what happens when the sudden death of their father forces a teenage boy to step into the role of patriarch. Added in, though, are the complications of carrying on their father’s wishes of a cannibalistic lifestyle. The boy, Julian, struggles in his new role and is sloppy in his acquisition of their “meals” leading to a police investigation. Ultimately, the surviving children must learn how to function with the teachings they’ve been given or be forced to accept their fate.
7. Stake Land (2010)
Perhaps the only positive relationship on this list (though that’s not saying much!) is the surrogate father/son relationship between vampire hunter Mister and his rescued apprentice Martin. On their travels across post-apocalyptic America, Mister mentors Martin teaching him that killing is not as black and white as it appears. By the end, it has become clear that Martin is ready to progress on his own journey, at which point Mister leaves him. There are many close calls, but the supportive nature of the relationship seems to be what allows both Mister and Martin to retain their humanity all while bringing death to vampires and fanatics.
6. Interview with the Vampire (1994)
Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Tom Cruise (The Mummy), and Kirsten Dunst (Melancholia) all-star in this amazing adaptation of Ann Rice’s novel by the same name. Louis, a young plantation owner played by Pitt, is given a choice by Lestat an ancient vampire played by Cruise, to receive the dark gift. Later after Louis rages against his new nature, Lestat provides him with a daughter, a young girl he turned named Claudia. The film explores Louis and Claudia’s rejection of their creator, Lestat, while also examining Lestat’s frustration with his creations and their apparent ungratefulness. Now, what could be a better metaphor for parenthood than that!
5. Society (1989)
Being the black sheep of the family is tough. Often, it feels like you just can’t understand your family, like you’re constantly out of the loop. The same is true for Bill Whitney, a popular kid who questions his own sanity when his family starts acting strange. After his sister’s “coming out” party and the disappearance of her ex boyfriend, Bill suspects something else is afoot. It’s not until the end that the truth is revealed. Without spoiling anything, it turns out the rich really do feed off of those beneath them, literally!
4. Chained (2012)
A dark look at a serial killer who abducts the child of one of his victims and forces him to help in his sadistic hunt. After living with his captor for years, Rabbit is finally being groomed to take over the “family business” and the killer Bob, is ready to teach the boy all he knows in an effort to keep his legacy alive. This film is heavy. The themes are horrifying on the surface but the underlying narrative of abuse and the expectations thrust upon one by society as well as their parents really give this film weight.
3. The Loved Ones (2009)
You would be hard-pressed to find a villain as compelling as Lola, a teenage girl with a sadistic mind concerned only with her own desires. She abducts a boy with whom she is obsessed and begins a process of psychological and physical torture to make the boy fall in love with her. All the while, her father watches and coaches Lola on the proper way to use a drill on a boy’s skull. Heavily implied is the idea that Lola’s father has not only done this before but has been doing so for decades. The two make a dysfunctional and uncomfortable pair that exude danger.
2. Mum & Dad (2008)
A very on-the-nose choice, Mum & Dad is about a “family” who live off stolen goods from the airport in which they work. That is “family” in quotes as it’s never really made clear if the adoptive children are actually abductees. The film follows Lena who works at the airport with the “daughter” Birdie. After luring Lena to the family home, she is drugged and held captive. As the film progresses, Mum and Dad’s depravity becomes more and more disturbing culminating in a very deranged Christmas morning. This one is pretty wild!
1. Frailty (2001)
Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyer’s Club) and Bill Paxton (Aliens) star in this film about a single father raising his two sons. One day, the father, Paxton, claims to have received a vision from God along with instructions on how to find and dispatch “demons”. One of the sons takes this in stride and becomes a devoted assistant. Meanwhile the other son becomes suspicious as the “demons” simply appear to be innocent people who have been kidnapped. The entire story is framed as a confession from one of the sons to an FBI agent. The film is beautiful and the ending is one to be experienced.
There you have it 10 Parents Whose Kids Continue Their Killer Legacy! Maybe this list has made you realize that your parents weren’t as bad as you remember, or if your parents are anything like the ones on this list, it’s made you realize that you’ve got to get out!
What did you think of our selections? Did we miss any of your favorite killer parent/kid families? Let us know over on Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, and in the Horror Fiends of Nightmare on Film Street Facebook group!