Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, July 2, 2015


MOTHER OF TEARS (aka La terza madre/2007). Director: Dario Argento.

"The city is 2700 years old, and we are standing on five layers of graves."

There was twenty-seven years between Inferno, the second of Argento's Three Mothers trilogy, and the third and final installment, Mother of Tears -- it wasn't worth the wait. The problem begins when certain artifacts are removed from a chest that is consistently referred to as an "urn" and immediately weird things begin happening. Sarah Mandy (Asia Argento), the daughter of a woman killed by another witch in Suspiria (the first part), discovers that her mother's spirit (Daria Nicolodi) is protecting her when the Mother of Tears reawakens and throws all Rome into chaos -- witches from all over the world are descending upon the city and there are many more murders and suicides. Some of these witches seem like "mean girls" with attitude, while the head mother, supposedly the embodiment of evil, looks like a sleazy hostess in a topless bar. Mother of Tears could have been a great and exciting horror film, but instead it's an often silly and mindless gorefest for the "gore geeks" in the audience. Some of Argento's better movies are less offensive because there's an intriguing storyline and some inventive directorial touches to go along with the graphic mayhem, but that isn't the case with Mother. Some of the gore is so over the top that it becomes almost comically unrealistic. We have the woman strangled with her own intestines, and in a mind-numbingly offensive and sick scene a gay woman has a metal rod thrust into her vagina and out of her mouth. Again, because of the lack of other positive attributes, Argento's sickening violence against women appears positively misogynous [although, to be fair, there are male victims as well]. There are a couple of interesting scenes: people pursuing Sarah can't see her due to her mother's spell; and those too-clean-but-creepy catacombs that are the lair of the bitchy witches. The Omen-like musical score only reminds one that the three Omen movies made up a much slicker and more memorable trilogy. It's as if Argento, desperate to expand a youthful audience, decided to concentrate on grisliness and to hell with the script. The performances of the leads -- Argento's daughter Asia, and Adam James as her boyfriend, Michael -- border on the amateurish, although Ms. Argento has her moments.

Verdict: Sad actually. *1/2.

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