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

Thursday, May 21, 2009


MOMMY (1995). Written and directed by Max Allan Collins.

The idea is so good that you can understand why the film has become better known than many similar low-budget productions. Collins cast Patty McCormack, who played the little girl sociopath in The Bad Seed, as a character who is sort of like that little girl grown up. She's an affluent housewife who has apparently murdered her first two husbands and offs anyone who keeps her or her young, normal daughter from getting what they want. [In The Bad Seed it was a good penmanship medal; in Mommy it's an Outstanding Student Award.] Jason Miller of The Exorcist plays a detective and Mickey Spillane even puts in a brief appearance as a lawyer. Unfortunately, despite the bizarre stunt casting, the movie is not as much fun as it sounds. Everything is played pretty much straight, which would be okay if the movie were better acted and directed, but given the general mediocrity of the project it might have been much more entertaining as a campy black comedy. There have been low-budget horror films that get attention due to a certain cinematic flair or grotesque unusual storyline [Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Evil Dead come to mind] but Mommy is generally slow and unimaginative and even the murders lack panache and invention. Just as bad, the movie looks like it was shot with a Super 8mm movie camera. Much of the acting can best be described as overly earnest in the way that marks the amateur.

Verdict: People may want to see this for the premise and the cast, but it's unlikely many of them will want to check out Mommy 2, which followed. **.

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