Thursday, October 7, 2010

Strange Killers : The Mother of Tears

How much do I love my parents?  So much that I seek out ridiculous movies to review on the date of their births, of course.  Since my original choices- Ghost Mother and Kiss Daddy Goodbye- didn't pan out, here are these films.  I've not talked much about this movie for a couple of reasons.  For one thing, it's fairly-recent.  At least, in context of the DVD release in America, which took place a good year after its theatrical one in Italy.  Evidently, it is so hard to translate from Italian to American that my web browser can do it in ten seconds.  I also say this while I'm waiting another 12 days for the DVD release of Giallo- a film made in 2009!  Another reason is that this film is really weird, but got a fairly mainstream release via Dimension Extreme.  It's not fun to talk about stuff that everyone has seen!  Now enough time has passed and I needed something to talk about at the last minute, here we are.  This is the final part of the Three Mothers Trilogy, a film 27 years in the making.  Was it worth the wait?  Get out your medieval lesbian killing devices for my review of...
The film begins with a crypt of sorts being taken out of the ground.  Given what I know this movie is about, this can't be good.  A pair of historians (one of whom is Asia Argento) go through the thing, learning that it belonged to a priest from centuries ago.  As night comes, Asia goes off for a small break while her companion runs into some trouble.  Naturally, it all begins with a screeching monkey.  A group of weirdos bust in and kill her, making sure to torture her in a pretty graphic way.  Argento is aping Saw and out-doing them!  This shit is crazy!  They take some stuff from the unearthed box and leave before Asia returns.  She is a bit freaked out by this and seeks solace with her boyfriend.  Unfortunately, peace does not come as visions of her dead mother (played by her real mother Daria Nicolodi) warns her about impending trouble.  Maybe the stories she reads about the Three Mothers may play a part in this.  To the film's credit, they reference Suspiria and Inferno without going 'Look- it's those movies you like!'  The trouble is not just related to our heroine as a rash of violence goes through Rome.  Coincidentally, the thing coincides with a bunch of witches all coming into the city.  This leads to a weird chase scene through an airport involving Asia and some hot, hot goth chicks.  They're the sexy kind of evil!  Her mother's spirit helps her get away, since that makes sense in an Argento film.
As things get worse, Asia tries to find out more about what's going on.  It all relates to- obviously- The Third Mother.  This woman- also known as the Mother of Tears- has lost most of her power and relies upon the witch people to make things work.  It's simple- they create havoc and kill lots of people, while she regains her power.  It all connects to a piece of magical parchment and a blouse that was locked up in the box.  The priest in question locked the thing up to keep her from getting her powers back and dooming the world.  Good job on that, by the way.  She seeks out an expert on the subject (Udo Kier), but ends up getting drugged and given the eye-holders from A Clockwork Orange.  This is Asia Argento, so it probably means that rape is coming.  No, he's actually a good guy, just one that was trying to be thorough about her presence there.  He spouts some exposition before going off to talk with a lady friend.  This 'friend' bashes his head in with an axe Witchfinder General-style, proving that his 'eye potion' security system was not all that effective. Thankfully, our heroine can find safety with a pair of good witches.  By the way, they're lesbians- big shocker.
Things continue to get freakier and freakier.  The Third Mother is close to full power, so she sends her people out to kill the other witches.  They do some mean, mean stuff!  One of them gets their neck broken, but is kept alive to watch her lover get impaled.  She's finally offed via a medieval eye poker- damn!  I should point out that the monkey is here again- I don't know why.  Our heroine tries to find peace at home yet again, only to find her man has turned 'to the dark side.'  She manages to set him on fire, but that doesn't stop him from giving chase.  Seriously, fire should be more a deterrent!  How can he run, the witch from Tooth Fairy run and the Maniac Cop have a car chase (Maniac Cop 3) while on fire?!?  Anyways, she finally works her way down to the lair of The Third Mother.  It's an ugly place that's a mix of a cave, the blood pits from The Descent and the cult lair from Indiana Jones & The Temple of Doom.  You'll note a similar scene with Asia in a pit of goo and the scene from Phenomena with Jennifer Connelly in one.  A bunch of people get tortured, some freaky shit happens and *sigh* the monkey shows up.  In the end, the Mother makes a big speech, but loses her magic shirt & gets impaled by a giant Obelisk.  That's gonna sting.  The End.
This movie is...actually one I like.  There are some really, really graphic parts, but I can deal with them.  There's a certain level of fantasy here, whereas Saw had grimy realism.  I know that a lot of people like that stuff, but not me.  The story is weird, although it's par for the Argento course.  Recall the crazy plot twist and wrap-up from Tenebre?  How about the finale of Inferno?  Hell, Argento made a film where his daughter got raped and had a fake (to my knowledge) psychological condition where she would walk into paintings!  This movie is really weird and makes no qualms about it.  If you like freaky shit, this is certainly your film.  By the way, all of you who think that Argento hasn't done anything good since the late '80s- you can suck it.  I'm not going to defend the whole of The Stendhaal Syndrome (the only Argento film released by Troma), but I've liked other works he's done since.  Do You Like Hitchcock? and his Masters of Horror shorts were very good.  Can we just let that meme go now?
Next up, I celebrate the other birthday with a film I vowed not to review, lest I spoil the ending.  Well, screw that- it's coming!  Stay tuned...

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