Selected dysfunctional family movies

We all have that one person who ruins family celebration,  a black sheep of the family, an uncle you don’t leave alone with the children and maybe a grandma who bakes swastika cookies. What would happen if everyone in one family were all kooky and we’re not talking about the Addams Family. Here is a selected few dysfunctional families.



01.Mum & Dad (2008)

This was recommended by a friend many moons ago, it’s a curious movie, starting out with a cleaner at the airport who goes to her friend’s house after work, only to get kidnapped by the “parents” and is forced to become part of the family as a new obedient daughter. This film is hidden British treasure, there are some gut wrenching scenes and some very questionable actions from loving parents. What is the meaty thing the father is romancing when the girl is sent to him to be punished? Pulling some aspects from People under the stairs but with a lot more torture and guts. 6/10


02.5150 Elms Way- 5150 Rue De Ormes (2009)

One of my newer favourites in dysfunctional family horrors, an unsuspecting student is abducting by a family and held captive, he becomes obsessed with the father figure who finds him a suitable son and a callous hate/admiration battle commences both physically, mentally and via a series of chess matches, while trying to equal his new father figure, pander to the possible kindness of his wife and avoid the violent beat downs of his new-found sister who’s trying to impress psycho dad, It’s gritty, nightmarish and violent and well worth a watch.  8/10

people under the stairs

03. People under the stairs (1991)

A mother’s search for the perfect child and a supportive gimp partner they manage to abduct and amass a collection of “people under the stairs” It’s a dark comedy horror, but delivers some claustrophobic scares. The couple themselves are deep in a fetish relationship but really need some parenting 101. After the family home is infiltrated by Fool (Brandon Adams) things get weird while he crawls through crawl spaces and uncovers the families many secrets in the basement. It’s one of the better early 90’s horrors playing on some of the urban myths about where bad children end up. 7/10

house-of-1000-corpses 04.House of 1000 corpses (2003)

I hate to call this family dysfunctional as I have often been described as being a part of their family namely Baby (Sheri Moon Zombie) not for my looks I will add, I think for my general knife addiction, painfully annoying laugh and well I like to play with dolls and cheerleaders. Rob Zombie’s infamous cult family of killers, perverts, hookers and people who like to get fucked up and do fucked up shit, have a blast on Halloween night when a group of unsuspecting teens find themselves stranded and needing help, what they get is not expected, and then things get strange… very strange, this film is a darkly comic, experimental gorefest and the best Rob Zombie film ever. 10/10

loved-3.505.The Loved Ones (2009)

Not so much a dysfunctional family but a doting father and psychotic daughter. While being the unpopular loner at school Lola AKA Princess (Robin McLeavy) asks out her crush Brent (Xavier Samuel) to the prom, this escalates into the bemused Brent being held captive at Princess’s home twisted homemade prom party. While daddy ensures that his lil princess gets everything she wants, no matter how perverse, or disturbing,  there are some brilliant torture scenes in this nightmarish and strange movie. 8/10


06.Dogtooth – Kynodontas (2009)

Epitome of black, surreal, nightmarish drama Dogtooth is as important for Greek cinema as Theodoros Angelopoulos’ 1970 film Reconstruction and is slightly based on Castle of Purity – El castillo de la pureza (1973) by  Arturo Ripstein. Both films tell a story of a family hidden away from society and who start to internalise and become surreal monuments to mankind. Without many external influences the family in Dogtooth seem to adopt very unusual behaviour, the father regularly hires a prostitute for his son, planes are thought to be paper aeroplanes, and language is tousled around. The parents, especially the father have a full understanding of the outside world and the agenda to keep the children locked away and why they are acting in such a way while at home is beyond me. but it’s beautiful to see everything unfold in a dream like state. a film filled with surreal situations, dark sexuality and questionable lifestyle choices….10/10

skinned-deep07.Skinned deep  (2004)

An indie off the wall comedy horror in a similar vein as Dear God No! (2011) starring Aaron Sims and Warwick Davis, a totally bizarre set of characters make up this fucking weird family, a friendly psychopath lemonade making moma, Warwick is a plate throwing dwarf menace, and Brains/Brian who has a very large brain that he tried to hide under a brown paper bag, Aaron Sims plays a surgeon general who is very similar to Dr Satans/ Dr Satans Snotty Henchmen in House of 1000 Corpses, with a headless bodybuilding father in the basement they manage to kidnap a girl for Brian to marry but for some reason after they kill her family and pull her from the crawl space she doesn’t want to marry him!? this is just the tip of the iceberg…. I adore it 8/10

08.Visitor Q – Bijitâ Q – (2001)

A perverted family are intruded on by a mysterious stranger who seems to find a balance with their disturbing nature’s. During his unique teachings and insights he adjusts all the family members and helps liberate them to find their true happiness, the film documents their strange taboos that includes incest, poo, necrophilia and a lot of body fluids, nothing can really prepare you for this crazy surreal ride that never let’s up. 9/10
woman poster

09.Woman (2011)

A family bound by it’s private perversions, Woman tells a story of a bizarre family unit secluded in a rural home, putting on a false and brave public face. Behind their happy american facade there is a multitude of sins, headed by a righteous and violent father, the women in the family are controlled by his fierce rebuttals and micro managed lifestyle. He discovers woman, last remaining member of a violent clan that has roamed the Northeast coast, and he attempts to civilize her in his warped ways. It’s gorey, messy, bizarre and a thrilling film from beginning to end, with a custom soundtrack made by Sean Spillane. Personally I can’t find a lot wrong with it. 9/10

10.Down Terrace (2009)

I had to pick an item one of my favourite directors Ben Whealely and this one encompasses one of the most bizarre and deadly families in England. Detailing a crime families attempt to unmask a police informer among them, this crooked, violent, disturbing family, take out hits while having their tea. Filmed in an almost documentary style, Down Terrace unmasks the average British family as a set of experienced, brutal and heartless killers in a (black) comic, bleak and hard-hitting style. Not to be missed 10/10

Honorable mention

we need to talk about kevinWe need to talk about Kevin (2011)  

This is always mentioned in the disturbing movies category and rightly so. this is very disturbing, and while I had it on my list, it’s hard to add it to a dysfunctional family list as it really was just one person who basically destroys everything and everyone around him. But still it needs to be mentioned here. The strange psychopath child Kevin, is basically the antichrist (not actually him but.. well you know how people say that children can embody pure evil.. this kid does) from his early childhood he learns to manipulate people and is just beyond bizarre and disturbed. As he matures so does his need to be a very bad boy, with his grand finale shocking his entire community. It’s gross and seen from the viewpoint mostly of his mother (Tilda Swinton) who despite being on the rough end of Kevin’s outbursts and who takes the flack from the surrounding community, she does try to lover her son. It’s hard to prepare anyone for watching this but it’s worth it, if you can stomach it. 9/10