Friday, October 9, 2020


SCARE-A-THON Totals to Date:

Total Movies Watched: 8
Total First Time Views: 5
Amount raised for BOXVILLE: $512.16

Mother of Tears: The Third Mother (2007) d. Dario Argento (Italy) (102 min) (3rd viewing)

When an ancient urn is unearthed in Viterbo Cemetery outside Rome, the contents are shipped to prestigious artifact gatherer Michael (Adam James); in his absence, team members Sarah (Asia Argento) and Giselle (Coralina Cataldi-Tessi) open the contents to discover a trio of primitive statuettes, a crafted dagger, a red tunic, and… a whole passel of trouble. After Giselle is gruesomely (and graphically) murdered, Sarah and Michael find themselves on the run as a series of violent incidents are triggered throughout the city, with hordes of cackling eyeliner-loving females, misshapen demons, and random screeching monkeys sweeping the land.

In returning to the trilogy kickstarted three decades ago by his mind-blowing assaults on the senses, Suspiria (1977) and Inferno (1980), legendary Italian horror director Argento seems reluctant to return to the expressionistic elements that made those films so unique and instead chooses to focus more on elaborate plotting and over-the-top special gore effects, courtesy of Italian splattermaster Sergio Stivaletti.

The results are decidedly mixed.

It's funny because it's true.

Everything feels just a little undercooked, with wobbly performances from just about everyone involved, scenes of “mass panic” involving five people or less, loads of expositional gobbledegook, and one of the most anticlimactic climaxes in recent memory. Argento and co-screenwriters Jace Anderson and Adam Gierasch seem to feel obliged to fill in newcomers on the whole “Three Mothers” backstory without taking into account that the plot of those movies was NEVER what attracted fans to them in the first place.

On the plus side, we do have a fun feeling of “getting the band back together” with numerous Argento regulars popping up throughout. In addition to Cataldi-Tessi and his daughter Asia, we have veterans like Udo Kier (Suspiria), Barbara Mautino (Sleepless), and Daria Nicolodi (Deep Red, Phenomena) filling parts large and small, as well as Claudio Simonetti’s balls-out choral/rock score (not including the horrible closing credits song by Dani Filth).

While not as overtly preoccupied with hypnotic colored lighting schemes as its predecessors, the team generates an appreciably hallucinogenic atmosphere, and adding Stivaletti’s “Holy S#it” splatter mo-mos (Cataldi-Tessi’s offing and the “horizontal Cannibal Holocaust tribute” are particularly nasty) and Frederic Fasano’s balletic cinematography to the tally sheet does help, even if it never quite tips the scales into Legit Good territory. (There’s also plenty of absolutely gratuitous female nudity as well, for those who are still lured in by that sort of thing.)

After several viewings at this point, it’s hard to truly condemn nor condone the pic except to say it’s marginally better than anything else the maestro’s done in the past decade, including his underwhelming Masters of Horror eps, "Jenifer" and "Pelts." I’m genuinely surprised that it hasn’t garnered a Blu-ray ray release to this point, but I can only assume someone somewhere will get around to it eventually. It never feels like Argento’s heart is fully invested, but then again, if his idea of a passion project ends up looking like Dracula 3D, I’m not sure if that’s much better.

"Oh, you did not just go there...."


"A Conversation with Legendary Filmmaker Dario Argento" (8 minutes)
"The Making of Mother of Tears" (33 minutes)
US Theatrical Trailer
Italian Teaser Trailer

Gratuitous Monkey Shot #438

Mother of Tears is available now on DVD from Dimension Pictures and can be ordered on any number of online platforms.

SPECIAL BONUS: Watch the Kicking the Seat round table, recorded October 9, 2020 featuring Ian Simmons, Bryan Martinez, and Aaron “Dr. AC” Christensen HERE:

No comments:

Post a Comment