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15 Worst Parents from Classic Films

Jack Torrance—The Shining

Jack Torrance—The Shining

In 1980's The Shining,  Jack Torrance brings his wife and young son Danny to a remote snowed-in hotel so he can supposedly work on his writing. We all remember how much Jack terrorized his wife, but he also basically made his son's life absolutely miserable. There was some pretty traumatic stuff in there. First, Jack makes his son endure his mental decline and the creepiness of the hotel. Then, to make matters worse, Jack ends up pursuing Danny with an ax. We're not saying his mom was amazing, but we're glad Jack ends up frozen at the end. Danny deserves better.

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Margaret White—Carrie

Margaret White—Carrie

Audiences didn't wonder why Carrie had problems after they saw her crazy and religiously fanatical mother, Margaret. In the 1976 film Carrie, she locks Carrie in a closet, accuses her of sinful thoughts, and ultimately tries to murder her. 

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Joan Crawford—Mommie Dearest

Joan Crawford—Mommie Dearest

Based on the autobiography of Christina Crawford, the 1981 film Mommie Dearest reveals what it was like to be the child of movie star Joan Crawford. The movie portrays Joan (played by Faye Dunaway) as abusive, vindictive, quick-to-anger, and obsessed with cleanliness. In a famous scene she beats her daughter with a wire hanger for hanging an expensive dress on it.

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Colonel Frank Fitts—American Beauty

Colonel Frank Fitts—American Beauty

Just when audiences of 1999's American Beauty thought that Kevin Spacey's character, Lester Burnham, was the bad dad, Colonel Fitts emerges. He belittles and abuses his son Ricky, which drives Ricky to mental distress. The Colonel's homophobia and gun obsession ultimately lead to tragedy.

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Corinne Dollanganger—Flowers in the Attic

Corinne Dollanganger—Flowers in the Attic

In the movie Flowers in the Attic from 1987, conniving mom Corinne leaves her children to be held prisoner by their also-evil grandmother. Corinne tells her children she is trying to secure money for them, but she is actually trying to get them out of the picture entirely. 

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Lucius Malfoy—The Harry Potter Series

Lucius Malfoy—The Harry Potter Series

In addition to practicing dark magic, Lucius Malfoy from the Harry Potter series generally models terrible behavior, wizarding and otherwise, for his son Draco. He brings his son into the Death Eaters, the followers of evil Lord Voldemort, as well as coercing and abusing Draco.

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Mary Lee Johnston—Precious

Mary Lee Johnston—Precious

In the 2009 film Precious, not only does Mary abuse her teenage daughter, Precious, she also turns a blind eye to Precious being raped by her father. She blames everything on her daughter and even intentionally drops Precious's newborn baby.

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Beverly Sutphin—Serial Mom

Beverly Sutphin—Serial Mom

Bringing parenting to an all-time low, Beverly Sutphin in Serial Mom (1994) is an actual serial killer! She shows her teenage kids how not to deal with problems by offing people that have wronged her or her family. Talk about a bad role model! 

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Kate and Peter McCallister—The Home Alone Series

Kate and Peter McCallister—The Home Alone Series

The McCallisters from Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York lost their son Kevin in a big way...twice. They left him at home while the rest of their family boarded a plane to Paris. In the second movie they fly to Miami and find out Kevin got on a different plane.

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Eleanor Iselin—The Manchurian Candidate

Eleanor Iselin—The Manchurian Candidate

Angela Lansbury stars as Eleanor Iselin in The Manchurian Candidate. As communist operative, she uses her brain-washed son as an assassin to further her political ambitions. She sounds like someone Jessica Fletcher needs to investigate! 

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Daniel Plainview—There Will Be Blood

Daniel Plainview—There Will Be Blood

In There will be Blood from 2007, bad dad Daniel Plainview adopts a son to make himself appear more family-oriented to investors. However, as a mean drunk murderer, Daniel subjects his son to an explosion which leaves the boy deaf. 

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Hattie—Pretty Baby

Hattie—Pretty Baby

Susan Sarandon and Brooke Shields star in the 1978 movie Pretty Baby, in which prostitute Hattie (portrayed by Sarandon) raises her daughter in a brothel. In this shocking film, she allows her 12-year-old daughter's virginity to be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

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Marietta Fortune—Wild at Heart

Marietta Fortune—Wild at Heart

In the 1990 film Wild at Heart, Marietta Fortune is angry that the man her daughter loves refuses her own advances. In retaliation, she hires men to track down and kill her daughter's true love.

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Wayne Szalinski—Honey, I Shrunk the Kids

Wayne Szalinski—Honey, I Shrunk the Kids

Wacky inventor Wayne Szalinski is working on a ray gun that will shrink things in the comedy classic Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. Not only does he accidentally shrink his kids, he also shrinks the neighbors' kids as well!

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Darth Vader—The Star Wars Series

Darth Vader—The Star Wars Series

To be a good father, all Darth Vader from the Star Wars series had to do was not turn to the dark side. But he just couldn't help himself and became the ultimate absentee father. He also maimed his son in a lightsaber duel. It's clear he could have used a parenting class or two. 

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