Category Archives: bitches on film

Bitches on film-Halloween edition

Standard

For this Halloween special of bitches on film, I’ve chosen a classic bitch that I first met on the silver screen in high school, Rhoda Penmark.  Rhoda is the main character of the classic book-turned play-turned-film The Bad Seed.  The 1956 film details the life of precocious school aged Rhoda, a seemingly perfect child with seemingly perfect manners, who is a secret sociopath.

Sociopath?  You don’t say…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The difference between Rhoda and other evil children in film, such as the children of the corn or The Omen, is that Rhoda plays a true sociopath and is not influenced by demons or other supernatural means.  The book, and in turn the play and film were ground breaking at the time for their exploration of genetics, hence the title “The Bad Seed”.  Is true evil something that can be passed down through the generations?  In this case from Rhoda’s biological grandmother, who is revealed to be a murderer.

Rhoda gets what Rhoda wants…and that is the basis of the film.  What happens when you get the mentality of Aileen Wuornos stuffed into a 10 year old?  Murder, and lots of it.

I’m the queen of frosted mini wheats!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On a side note, FICTIONAL Rhoda on the left, REAL Aileen on the right…it’s the eyes

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rhoda is mad that a classmate won the penmanship medal that she feels she rightly deserves, so the little boy ends up in the drink with a tap shoe shaped bonk on the head at the school picnic.  When Rhoda’s mother discovers the medal in Rhoda’s room, Rhoda attempts to say she won it from the dead boy in a bet, then confesses to the murder, but offers up the explanation that “she deserved the medal anyways”.

life’s a bitch mommy, and so am I.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mommy dearest finally realizes she may have a problem on her hands, especially after Rhoda also tells her that the sweet, elderly neighborhood in their former building who had promised Rhoda a coveted snowglobe when she died (not a great thing to tell Ted Bundy Junior Miss), may not have accidentally fallen down the stairs.  Since in 1956, turning your 10 year old over to the police was out of the question, Mommy tells Rhoda to burn the shoes she killed the little boy with, in the incinerator.  The gardener, who has not been fooled by Rhoda’s Pollyanna routine since the start, makes a joke about her committing the murder with the shoes, and burning the shoes (pretty swell guess for someone with an obvious second grade education) and taunts Rhoda, saying he took the shoes and was going to tell.  Rhoda full bore flips out and puts those female inmates on “scared straight” to shame.

Although to be fair, the gardener looks like he has stuffed a few Rhodas down a drain in his time.

 

 

 

 

 

 
Because it IS 1956, it’s perfectly acceptable to have the hired help sleep on a pile of hay in the basement, the gardener probably works for table scraps and old reader’s digests (just for the pretty pictures).  Our pint size bitch steals matches and flambes the simple groundskeeper.  As Rhoda, her mother and the rest of the tenants watch the blaze, Mommy knows it’s time to take matters into her own hands…and do a little murder herself.  After giving Rhoda a lethal dose of sleeping pills, mommy shoots herself in the head (I KNOW RIGHT??  It’s 1956!).  But evil never dies so easily and Rhoda lives, and mum?…..

What mommy?  Kool-aid? For me?  You shouldn’t have…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mom lives. .  So while Mom is elegantly laid up in the hospital with her head bandaged in an attractive gauze turban, Rhoda sets off in the rain to the dock when she murdered her classmate.  Rhoda’s Mom had tossed the penmanship medal into the lake to cover up Rhoda’s crime, but Rhoda wants WHAT RHODA WANTS!!!  In the grand finale, Rhoda uses a long pole to try to dredge up the medal and is FRIED BY LIGHTENING!!

Does it smell like fried bitch in here to you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If it seems like a contrived ending, it’s because it is.  Because of some old timey rule called “the hays code”, in a film crime cannot be shown to pay.  By having the mother die (as she did in the book) and Rhoda surviving (as she did in the book) the censors saw it as “evil winning”, so they cooked up an ending where they cooked up the protagonist.

 

The Bad Seed was ahead of it’s time for it’s exploration of genetics, the realistic portrayal of psychotic behavior, and the fact that the source of that behavior is a child. Patty McCormick, the actress who plays Rhoda, was brilliant and was nominated for an Oscar…a great addition to our bitches on films, the youngest yet.

If you’re interested in doing some reading about a real life Rhoda, look up Mary Bell, a truly evil 10 year old.

Bitches on Film-Kathleen Turner

Standard

I didn’t designate a character for Ms. Turner because she is the QUEEN of all film bitches.  You’d have a harder time finding a movie where she was NOT a bitch. I handpicked a few samplings to demonstrate the awe inspiring bitchy point I am making.

BODY HEAT

a bitch who’s good at blowjobs, the worst kind…

In 1981’s Body Heat, Kathleen Turner plays Matty Walker who…

-Has an affair

-Seduces a lawyer into murdering her husband (and smashing through pane glass to bang her)

-Takes off with the money after her husband is dead

-tries to blow up the lawyer (with a bomb, not her mouth)

-Murders the woman who’s identity she stole.

-Leaves the lawyer to take the fall while she lives out the rest of her days on the beach

THE MAN WITH TWO BRAINS

a bitch who promises but never delivers, AAAGGHH

In the 1983 Steve Martin comedy The Man with two brains Turner is Dolores Benedict who…

-is a gold digger

-caused the heart attack of her first husband

-refuses to consummate her new marriage to Steve Martin

-Is giving it to the mexican gardener (and just about anyone else with a pulse)

-Puts Steve Martin’s beloved jarred brain (Anne) in the oven, cooking her nines.

-is a slutty bitch right up until Merv Griffin murders her.

THE WAR OF THE ROSES

The bitch you marry…

In 1989, Kathleen starred as a wife who is no longer in love with her husband, Micheal Douglas.  I only saw this movie once because it is incredibly hard to watch.  When Barbara Rose (Kathleen Turner) is done with her marriage, she is DONE.  I couldn’t possibly name everything Turner does, but some of the vengeance included…

-Throwing her husband out of the house when he refuses to give her all assets

-When he insists on staying, she attempts to seduce his lawyer to get him on her side

-publicly humiliating Mr. Rose every chance she gets

-smashing and destroying most of their expensive posessions

-Ramming his vehicle with a MONSTER TRUCK

-Trapping her husband in his sauna, nearly killing him

-Bruising her husband’s kidneys by crushing him between her thighs

-serving him pate and telling him (falsely) that it is made from his dog.

-rigging the chandelier to fall on her husband

-as her dying husband reaches out to her in a final gesture, she slaps his hand away.  Hell hath no fury…

SERIAL MOM

just a plain ole’ bitch

By 1994’s Serial Mom Kathleen Turner isn’t even pretending anymore.  Throwing out the seduction ploys and murder for hire schemes, Turner plays a full bore suburban serial killer

-Running over her son’s high school math teacher

-Impales her daughter’s boyfriend with a fireplace poker in a mall bathroom

-Stabs her neighbour with sewing scissors and crushes the husband with an air conditioner

-Beats a customer at her son’s video store with a leg of lamb

-Drops a stage light on her son’s friend and torches him (pictured)

-After being declared innocent in a trial, Kathleen murders one of the jury members with a payphone receiver for “wearing white shoes after labour day”

CINDERELLA

a classic bitch

When Cinderella was made for tv in 2000 (the absolute best version, watch it if you can) Kathleen Turner had

made a film career of wicked women and was a natural choice for Claudette, the wicked stepmother of poor Cinderella.

The film follows the classic tale in a modern setting with Turner perfectly playing the matriarch of the home, belittling

Cinderella and the slaves and spoiling her wretched daughters.

 

 

 

Yes, Kathleen Turner is a bitch, and that is why we love her.  With a look or a whisper from her husky voice, she can reduce someone to nothing.  She was also repeatedly voted one of the sexiest women alive (and sexiest cartoon woman alive, having been the uncredited voice of Jessica Rabbit).  Everyone knows she’s a bitch, and no one cares!  Kathleen is a modern femme fatale and truly, one of the greatest bitches on film.

Bitches on film-Veda Pierce

Standard

We begin our “bitches on film” with Veda Pierce, the actual inspiration for this series.

Veda Pierce was played by Ann Blyth in the noir Joan Crawford 1945 film “Mildred Pierce”.  Joan Crawford plays the title role and Ann plays Veda, the daughter.  “Mildred Pierce” follows Joan as a woman left by her husband and penniless.  She starts waitressing to make ends meet and works her way up to owning her own restaurant.  Through her tireless hard work and endless hours at the restaurant she amasses a considerable amount of money.  Mildred lavishes her daughter with the good life and everything a young girl could want.

“I couldn’t get Justin Bieber for your sweet 16 party, I’m sorry honey”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you might have already expected, Veda is a grateful child and adores her mother; no of course she isn’t/doesn’t.  Throughout the history of spoiled children you never see good things come of giving an immature human being everything they ask for.  As the film moves along Veda becomes increasingly demanding and belittles her mother.  Veda has no problem using her Mum’s hard earned cash, but takes every chance she has to make fun of Mildred’s vocation and humble past.  Things go from bad to worse when Veda fakes a pregnancy to extort $10,000 from a young rich heir and his family (keep in mind, that’s $10,000 1945 dollars, that’s at least eleventy billion today dollars).  When the cheque arrives and Veda triumphantly announces she was never pregnant, Mildred tears up the cheque and gives Veda a well deserved slap in the face.

“But Mumsy, why else would God give me a uterus if not to use it for extortion?  It’s just a perk of being a woman!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Veda responds to being slapped perfectly reasonably by running away and becoming a night club singer (the 1945 equivalent of being a stripper) .  Mildred, ever the sucker for punishment, tracks down her bitchy offspring and begs her to come home.  Veda agrees on the condition she can live a life of luxury.  Mildred accommodates Veda by marrying a wealthy man she does not love.  Of course things get progressively worse and the new husband is shot dead, poor Mildred is on the hook for murder.

Did Mildred shoot her new husband?  Perhaps she was fed up with the sop living off her hard earned cash?  Or MAYBE Veda is not only a bitch, she’s a whore too!  That’s right, Veda had her designs on mummy’s man and had plans to get as much money as she could out of the pair of them, there was a tussle and BANG, Veda shoots her paycheck.  As if this wasn’t bad enough, she knows her mother is on the hook for the crime and is going to let her take the fall! In fact, she expects her mother to take the fall, why not?  Mildred has done everything else for Veda.

Thankfully the police in 1945 are good at their job and quickly figure out that Mildred couldn’t have done the deed and haul Veda off to prison.

“You can’t call me the ‘C’ word, it’s 1945!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
There are very few bitches on film as bad as Veda Pierce.  If you choose to watch Mildred Pierce, don’t watch it on an expensive television because you will spend the whole movie trying to slap the screen.