Credit: Ed Gunts.

The residence for sale in Towson has three bedrooms, two-and-a-half bathrooms and a two-car garage on a half-acre lot near a golf course.

And it was purportedly the home of a serial killer.

The house at 600 Lake Drive was used as the home of Beverly Sutphin, the knife-wielding homemaker portrayed by Kathleen Turner in the 1994 movie “Serial Mom,” written and directed by filmmaker John Waters.

The house appears in the opening scene and throughout the movie as other members of the Sutphin family go about their daily lives, oblivious to Serial Mom’s penchant for making obscene phone calls, devouring crime novels and killing people who get on her nerves.

Now it’s ready for a new family.

“Serial Mom” was filmed in and around Towson, not far from where Waters grew up. The house backs up to the Country Club of Maryland and is close to Calvert Hall College High School, a Catholic school that Waters attended.

Towson was also the home of Waters’ friend and collaborator, Harris Glenn Milstead, better known as Divine.

Savoy Pictures made the film with a budget of $13 million, and it earned $7.82 million. Also in the cast were: Sam Waterson, Mink Stole, Ricki Lake, Matthew Lillard, Patricia Hearst, Suzanne Somers, Traci Lords, Joan Rivers, Waters (as Ted Bundy), and lots of familiar Baltimore faces.

“Serial Mom” included a number of landmarks around the region, like the old Hammerjacks club at 1101 S. Howard St. (not long before it was torn down to make way for M&T Bank Stadium), the old Video Americain store at 400 W. Cold Spring Lane, and the Church of the Good Shepherd at 1401 Carrollton Ave. The last locale served as the Sutphins’ church, where Beverly eludes the cops (the sermon that Sunday: “Capital Punishment and You”).

Kathleen Turner in “Serial Mom.” Image via IMDB.
Kathleen Turner in “Serial Mom.” Image via IMDB.

Towson Senior High School was where Beverly murders her son’s math teacher after giving him a fruit cake. The Baltimore County Courthouse at 400 Washington Ave., provided the setting for the big court scene at the end where Serial Mom is found not guilty and set free to kill again.

Other houses near the “Serial Mom” house had supporting roles in the film. The house at 602 Lake Drive served as the home of Rosemary Ackerman (the snoopy neighbor who doesn’t recycle, played by Mary Jo Catlett). Two locations were used for Dottie Hinkle’s residence, 618 Lake and the front lawn of a house on Club Lane.

The listing agent for the Serial Mom house is Alex Hodges of Cottage Street Realty in Northern Virginia. The price is $630,000.

Built in 1950, the house was part of a community started by Stanley Black, one of the founding partners of the Black & Decker company. According to the listing, it has 2,908 square feet on two levels, including a large living room with a wood-burning fireplace, updated kitchen, hardwood floors and lots of natural light.

In his 2019 book, “Mr. Know-It-All: The Tarnished Wisdom of a Filth Elder,” Waters wrote that he thinks the appeal of “Serial Mom” for a Hollywood studio was that it was a departure from his earlier movies where he showed a cavalcade of misfits on the fringe of society.

“Serial Mom,” by contrast, was “a ‘true’ story about ‘real people’ set right up the street from where you live,” he said he told the studio executives when he pitched the movie. “Not the usual John Waters movie about crazy people in a crazy world, but a movie about a normal person in a realistic world doing the craziest thing of all as the audience cheers her on!”

The Lake Drive residence was the embodiment of that different direction. It wasn’t used because it was weird or shocking, but because it was just the opposite.

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Ed Gunts

Ed Gunts is a local freelance writer and the former architecture critic for The Baltimore Sun.

One reply on “Towson house from John Waters’ ‘Serial Mom’ goes up for sale”

  1. Uh, you forgot to mention the shall-we-say less-than-savory magazines she found in the garbage can …

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