"I'm only Describing a Trope!"
We can dig it! Have you noticed that the word "mother" is a common villain name? Maybe it's ironic, maybe it's symbolic, maybe it overlaps with the Hive Queen, but writers seem to think it's a scary word. And sometimes, of course, it's a Curse Cut Short that's very effective at Getting Crap Past the Radar. This can also be known as:
- An Evil Matriarch of some sort (similar to "queen")
- A twisted version of a "mother" (spreading The Virus and considering the victims her "children," for example)
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Anime & Manga
- Durarara!! has Anri/Saika.
- The Un-Mother on Inuyasha, though only in the dub. In Japanese, she's the mythological creature mu onna, which translates into "nothing woman." While the mu onna is the ghost of a mother, the word is not in her title.
- Ragyo Kiryuin of Kill la Kill who Nui Harime refers to as "Maman." Not only does she outright molest her own daughter and as soon as she finds out her other daughter is alive, does the same to her, she also wants to feed humanity to Life Fibers, which will kill every last soul on Earth.
- Magi – Labyrinth of Magic has Ren Gyokuen, the mother of Ren Hakuryuu and Ren Hakuei. She is also The Usurper of the Kou Empire and third Emperor, and a member of Al-Sarmen, and quite the Evil Matriarch.
- There is also the leader of that children pirate crew, Aum Madaura, who kidnapped children and used her magic tool "Holy Mother Halo Fan" to make them think she's their mother. In reality she did not care about the children and only saw them as tools for taking over the world by becoming the "mother" of the world's future leaders.
- Naruto's abusive precursor Kaguya Otsutsuki is probably one of the finest bad mothers around, because she wants to kill her children to get back the power she gave them when they were born.
- One Piece has the aptly named "Big Mom" (real name: Charlotte Linlin), one of the top 4 pirates in the world who are known as "Yonkou" (translates to "Four Emperors"). She's an insane, ruthless and terrifying glutton who rules her very own nation. She also has over 80 children.
- The Mother in Risk 2210 is a supercomputer that nukes entire continents. Not a villain, but very scary.
- A variation: Granny Goodness from The DCU.
- Ma Dalton from Lucky Luke.
- A storyline in Green Lantern Corps introduced the progenitor of Mongul's infamous Black Mercy plants, whom the Lanterns name "Mother Mercy." Subverted as Mother Mercy is actually good: she isn't happy about Mongul using her children the way he does, helps the Lanterns defeat him, and is even inducted into the Corps herself.
- Kamandi: At Earth's End featured Mother Machine (or Machine Mother), a supercomputer who kept Kamandi alive and sent him to kill Superman. It's eventually revealed that her program is an insane copy of Kamandi's biological mother's mind... which doesn't make sense, since the computer apparently caused the apocalypse decades before his birth, but whatever.
- Mothergod was the villain in a Crisis Crossover from Valiant Comics.
- Motherbank from Sci-Spy.
- The Big Bad of the second Young Avengers series is a shapeshifting, extra-dimensional parasite named Mother. She generally takes the form of Teddy's dead mom, and acts like a sweet, doting parent who just wants to eat their child's soul and take over their dimension. Worse, she can brainwash other parents and adults into following her every command.
- In Birds of Prey, Black Canary spent time being trained by Lady Shiva's former mentor, a cruel martial arts master called Mother. When she left she took one of Mother's other students, a young girl named Sin, and adopted her. Notably, Sin chose to call Dinah "Sister," since the word "Mother" had bad connotations for her.
- The Big Bad of Batman and Robin Eternal is known as "Mother." She creates child soldiers by subjecting them to mind-shattering trauma and rebuilding them in her own image, having survived something similar herself and decided that Misery Builds Character.
- The Boys: Averted with Mother's Milk, a Scary Black Man and one of the heroes. His name comes from the fact that he has to periodically drink his mother's breast milk to survive, let alone be a super.
Films — Animation
- Mother Gothel from Tangled, who abducted Rapunzel as a baby to maintain access to her immortality-granting hair and emotionally manipulates her.
- The Other Mother, from Coraline, is basically the perfect mother to whatever kid wanders into her magical pocket dimension. Or so she would like you to believe.
Films — Live-Action
- Alien film series:
- The ship computer in Alien was known as MU-THR 182 or MU-TH-UR 6000. It wasn't the villain, but was programmed by the Weyland-Yutani Company (who we all know are evil). If anything, Ash turned out to be a villain.
- Alien: Resurrection is set much later and "Mother" has been replaced with a new OS, "Father." This trope is played with when someone takes over the computer and a female voice announces to the evil scientist "Father's dead, asshole."
- Mother from Psycho — if not the Trope Maker, then definitely a popularizer.
- Animal Mother from Full Metal Jacket is (presumably) an example of the Curse Cut Short version.
- Averted in Sneakers—Dan Aykroyd's character was named "Mother," but was a good guy.
- But played straight in the Dan Aykroyd comedy Doctor Detroit, where the ruthless drug dealer was called "Mom."
- Ma Fratelli from The Goonies.
- The villains of Dario Argento's Suspiria and Inferno are known, respectively, as the Mother of Sighs and the Mother of Darkness. The villain of the third film, Mother of Tears, should be obvious.
- Ma-Ma, the evil drug lord in control of the city slum that Dredd takes place in. Played with in that it's a shortened form of her real full name, Madeline Madrigal.
- A tagline of Malavita: "Michelle Pfeiffer is One Bad Mother".
- A good guy example in the musclebound female Marine codenamed "Mother" in the Matthew Reilly novel Ice Station. A hint, it's not because she's a maternal figure... though she is one anyway.
- Another "ship's computer" in Remnants. She's not really evil, but she is insane after untold years of loneliness after her creators, the Shipwrights, inexplicably abandoned her. She's hundreds of square miles and practically a massive Genius Loci (able to create artificial environments, mindless constructs of people and monsters, etc.) The series also features the "Children," a species whom the Shipwrights designed in order to maintain her; they worship Mother as a god, but are only recently trying to reconquer her interior after being exiled for some reason.
- The Other Mother from Coraline.
- The Anita Blake series has an ubervampire called "Marmee Noir." Anita dubs her "Mommie Dearest."
- Ma Lilywhite in Hogfather. Her son Medium Dave is a hardened criminal, and her anger remains his worst nightmare years after her death. Based on Mr. Brown the lockpick's testimony, this is entirely warranted: he considers her scarier than Mr. Teatime.
- The entity called "Mother" in Revival, by Stephen King.
- Pushing Daisies has the Norwegians' high-tech van called Mother. They're not villainous per se, but are definitely antagonistic.
- Shelly Winters played the villain "Ma Parker" on the 1960s Batman series.
- Who was based on the real life Ma Barker who Winters would also play in a movie.
- In the Lost episode "Across the Sea," we meet the island's previous protector, known only as Mother. As the writers acknowledge, her bad parenting 2,000 years before the events of the series has led to pretty much everything bad that ever happened on the island.
- The Mother of All in Supernatural is the progenitor of all monster races, and resides in Purgatory, the afterlife where all monster souls go to prey on each other for eternity. She eventually returns to Earth to protect her young by making everyone on the planet one of her children. To make the point even more obvious to Sam and Dean, she transforms into their deceased mother Mary Winchester to mess with them.
- Doctor Who:
- In the episode "The Shakespeare Code," there were three evil alien "witches" called Carrionites, of which the older two were both called "Mother" by the third.
- There was also the Family of Blood, of which one member was called Mother of Mine by her two children.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Mother Bezoar in "Bad Eggs."
- The Qedeshah, a bloodline of vampires from Vampire: The Requiem, is imbued with a strong mothering instinct. Members of the bloodline with high Humanity and willpower tend to be kind and caring, but as one of these slides down the Humanity scale, they start to resemble this trope more and more. It doesn't help that they have trouble siring their own children, with all male versions dying in a very unpleasant manner. And you had better hope you don't hurt one of their "children"...
- Grandmother, the Big Bad from Orpheus, who is an ancient force of Oblivion bent on consuming all of existence. The name actually comes from a misinterpretation of the words "Grand Maw."
- In A Hatful of Rain, Mother is a (male) drug dealer, whereas Father is just Johnny's dad.
- Mother Brain in Metroid.
- Mother Brain in Chrono Trigger. Not quite certain why it shares a name with the Metroid example.
- Mother Brain from Phantasy Star II. Really, that name is almost a trope in itself...
- The Mother in Prey (2006).
- Mother of Wild ARMs is the Big Bad and Omnicidal Maniac leader of the demons.
- Mother in La-Mulana. Justified as she actually is a creator goddess.
- In World of Warcraft, there are several examples of this, such as the Den Mother and Mother Shariz
- The plant-like entity called Mother by the children in Sanitarium.
- Mass Effect's Matriarch Benezia qualifies, not just because of her title but also because she was the literal mother of one of the main characters (although it was more a case of mind control than intentional villainy, though it took a long time to make that clear.
- The Rachni queen you meet on Noveria also calls herself the "mother." However, she's not evil, and can even become your ally if you play your cards right.
- In Metal Gear Solid 4, Snake is in Prague to find the local resistance leader "Big Mama." Who turns out to be EVA, who chose the name in homage to her former leader Big Boss. When first met, she's in a catholic chappel in front of a large Mary Statue and her troops are all war orphans she has taken in and trained as soldiers. Also, she reveals that she was the volunteer who gave birth to the clones of Big Boss, making her the closest thing Snake has to a mother.
- Mother Slime in Kingdom of Loathing.
- Mother hellseals, too.
- Mother from Siren 2, the creator of the various body-snatching avatars. If she has a real name, we never find it out.
- Galerians has the supercomputer Dorothy, who is referred to as Mother by her children.
- In Dragon Age: Origins, you have the extravaganza that is the broodmother. In Awakening you meet "The Mother" - the first of her kind.
- Elizabeth Greene in [PROTOTYPE] has the in-game codename of "MOTHER."
- All of the ruling demons in the latter half of Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey are "Mother"-type demons, based on over-arching entities like Tiamat and Ouroboros. The final demon is "Mem Aleph," the mother of thought and the "memory of the earth."
- Mother is incredibly displeased that you have not mentioned her! Those dogs in The Resistance and the so-called City of Heroes might call her Mother Mayhem, but you know that Mother LOVES you, don't you? DON'T YOU? Of course you do. Because Mother loves you too...
- Mother from D2, a supercomputer that resembles a giant silver pregnant woman seen crotch-first (complete with legs in stirrups). Adding to it, a distinctly yonic slit appears on it as you fight it — while it screams to be killed and makes no effort to stop you. One of the most disturbing moments in a very disturbing game.
- Mom from The Binding of Isaac, commanded by her Lord to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. She is the Final Boss. Her heart is the True Final Boss, but is later replaced as the true final boss by others.
- Psychonauts has a variant with the Den Mother, the boss of the Milkman Conspiracy.
- Mother Mallum in RuneScape, queen of the mind-controlling sea slugs.
- Mother Mah, a cosmic horror in a high-fantasy setting.
- "Mother" is the callsign for the leader of AFO Neptune in the Medal of Honor reboot. He's one bad mother: that is, badass.
- In The Elder Scrolls series the Night Mother is the bride of Sithis and spiritual guide for the Dark Brotherhood.
- Valentine, the main antagonist of Guilty Gear 2: Overture, frequently makes mention of her "Mother" and only exists to carry out her orders. The following installments, Xrd -SIGN- and Xrd -REVELATOR-, give a name to this entity (the Universal Will) and expand upon its backstory. Originally a robot created to absorb knowledge from the Backyard to help advance human progress, it went rogue after deeming mankind to be flawed in its current state and later took on a human form—Ariels, the Sanctus Maximus Populi (she's essentially the Pope)—to better understand its creators, which only made the problem worse. Unfortunately for her children, the Valentines, the Universal Will cares not for their safety and well-being, only their efficiency. When Ariels deems the recently reformed Ramlethal to no longer be of any use, she conspires to kill her—and forces her captive sister Elphelt to watch in horror.
- Elizabeth Avery from lonelygirl15 is usually referred to as simply "Bree's Mom."
- The SCP Foundation: SCP-597, referred to as "The Mother" by those it enslaves — well, at first, anyway.
- A Very Potter Sequel has Umbridge commonly refer to herself as "Momma" since she wants to view the students as her children. The fact that she believes in the toughest of tough love and is Ax-Crazy to boot makes this a very bad thing.
- The never-seen but always-referenced State, the laws of which loom over the plot of AJCO, is referred to as 'Mother' by the characters that hail from it.
- The eponymous Fluttermama, of the Tumblr blog Ask Fluttermama, is the Pattycakes version of Fluttershy. Infantilism fetish and Mind Rape are involved.
- Doctor/Mother from Worm, the head of Cauldron, an organization that uses Super Serums to create parahumans.
- Mom in Futurama. She is mother to the robots.
- Mother Mae-Eye from the Teen Titans animated series.
- M.U.T.H.E.R., the crazy EarthBound-style master-computer in the bunker from The Venture Bros..
- Ma Beagle from DuckTales.
- Ma Mayhem from the "Eggbaby" episode of Batman Beyond.
- Ma Vreedle in Ben 10: Ultimate Alien. For one thing, she actually HAS eyes in the back of her head.
- Mother Talzin from Star Wars: The Clone Wars is the leader of the Nightsisters, a clan of amazonian witches, and the biological mother of Darth Maul, who is a very powerful and extremely dangerous witch.
- Archer: In the Dreamland season, Sterling's wicked mother Malory plays a crime boss actually named "Mother" in Sterling's 1940s dream.
- Maurice "Mom" Boucher of the Hell's Angels. Yes, he's a man, but making fun of gangsters for their name is usually not a good idea.
- Ma Barker and the Barker Gang. In reality, it's more likely that J. Edgar Hoover of the FBI made up the idea that she was the mastermind to excuse killing her in the crossfire of a shoot-out against the gang.