I wonder if there’s legal ground to sue a director for inflicting his bad film on the world… I felt so mutinous watching Dario Argento’s The Mother of Tears.
The hours before and after midnight comprise our family’s movie time. Horror movies, in many cases. It was bad the other night (so bad, I can’t remember the title of the movie we saw). It was worse last night (John Carpenter’s Pro-life in the first season of Masters of Horror). But tonight’s The Mother of Tears was really the pits. Two minutes into the film and we knew we were in trouble. Again.
No one stood up to leave though. It’s family time, after all. But somewhere during the second half of the film, it started to get harder and harder to understand the dialogue. Speedy and the girls were too noisy playing with the dog. Speedy was holding a three-foot stick with something like a claw on one end. He was dangling a piece of potato chip before the dog while two feet away to Speedy’s left, Sam kept telling Penny, “No, no, no…” The dog was so confused about whether to snatch the chip or do as Sam was saying. On Speedy’s other side, Alex was giggling.
I told Speedy he was being mean. He replied that it wasn’t fair that only the four of us were being tormented (the movie was the tormentor, obviously). The dog had to feel torment too and, hence, the dangling potato chip and the moral dilemma that it presented for her. A “pleasurable torment,” Speedy said (a line from Lara Croft: Tomb Raider that he loves so much). Penny decided she was not going to be tormented any longer and finally ignored Sam, and snatched the potato chip. That was when I quit trying to watch and I just laughed and joked around with them.
Okay, I don’t want to be unfair nor narrow-minded. The Mother of Tears is an Italian film and we don’t get to watch too many Italian films. Surely, not every Italian director is a Giuseppe Tornatore and not all Italian films is a masterpiece like Cinema Paradiso. Perhaps, there was some cultural slant in Dario Argento’s The Mother of Tears that we were missing and preventing us from appreciating the film…
In short, I was willing to give the film the benefit of the doubt. Never mind the bad acting. Never mind the awful dialogues. Never mind the disjointed scenes. Never mind the ridiculous dubbing. Was there an element of horror in this Italian flick that was unique? If there was, I could forgive all the rest. But the movie ended without a saving grace. Nothing. It was just plain bad. Worse than bad. It was… how can I best describe the experience? I couldn’t believe that such an ugly film could exist. Yet Alex assured me that it wasn’t even the worst. Nothing beats Zack Parker’s Proxy in the ugliest horror film category, she said.
For fans of slasher films, The Mother of Tears has enough gore to please you. Cracked skull with exposed brain, intestines falling to the ground from a slashed torso, eyes pierced with a torture instrument that looked like an oversized two-pronged fork. With a smattering of boobies here and there. In fact, so many body parts were hanging out that Speedy said The Mother of Tears was probably meant to be a movie about anatomy.
But for horror movie fans who want more than that, find something else, I implore you. Or else, prepare to be tormented.