Monday, August 3, 2009

The Mother of Tears--AKA La Terza Madre (2007)

Fear 2/5
Gore 4/5
Entertainment 2/5
Creepiness 3/5

The third film in Dario Argento's Three Mothers Trilogy (Suspiria being the first and Inferno the second), focuses on an escaped spirit who is the last in a trifecta of ancient evil witches. The third, called The Mother of Tears, is able to manipulate human behavior, causing mass suicides and murders across the city of Rome. Its up to a museum curator who comes from a line of witches, (and subsequently is unaware of her powers until things get a little hairy), to find the witch and kill her, hopefully, putting an end to her reign of terror on the city.

The film begins with the unearthing of an urn that has been strapped to the coffin of an unmarked grave in a cemetary near the Vatican. A priest takes in the urn, interpreting the engravings and he begins to get the heebie jeebies. Becoming increasingly aware of what's inside, he calls a friend of his who is the head curator of a local museum. He wants his friend to validate his conclusions and he sends the urn to the museum for further inspection.

Upon arrival, one of the museum aides opens up the urn to find an ancient talisman, 3 carved stone figurines, and a large dagger. Along with our eventual witch heroine (who's played by the saucy vixen Asia Argento), they immediately deduce that all were involved in the occult. When witchy girl leaves the room for a brief moment, the contents that were placed in the urn come to life, slice her open with the knife, spilling out her entrails and they start playing an icky game of jump rope.

After she's investigated by the police (as she's the only other person in the musuem), all hell begins to break loose in the city. The aforementioned suicides and killings, people begin believing that they are possessed by the devil and need an exorcism, and ritualistic church burnings become the news stories of the day. Our witchy girl begins to investigate what's going on, which leads her to an encounter with a priest (played by the 'hey we need a creepy old guy with an eastern european accent, lets get him' standby, Udo Kier) who tells her the story of the three witches. In a 'it's your destiny' sort of speech, she is told what it is she needs to do.

As she tracks down the witch who has taken up residence in an old mansion, she's being hunted by every Broom Hilda that's invaded the city. You see, with the reemergence of the third witch, broom toting hags have been flying into the city to partake in the death and destruction thats being doled out in spades. The end goal, is to channel the power of the talisman, making every witch supreme rulers of the earth. Throughout the film, our heroine slowly comes to grips with who she is and it all leads up to a last stand with the Mother of Tears which happens to be one of the most anti-climactic that I have ever witnessed.

All in all, an uber boring affair. Some really great gore scenes including a spear that is used to invade the nether regions of a woman who's being pinned to the ground and another in which a mother goes Hannibal the Cannibal style and munches down on her baby. But aside from those two pretty gnarly scenes, the film drags and suffers from an extreme case of dialogue-itis. Not too mention the fact that Asia Argento is one terrible, terrible actress. And what was up with the shower scene? Can you say awkward? Her pops was the director, what did he say to her, 'Show more titty honey, yeah that's good right there'.

Cortez the Killer

* * *

Fear: 1/5
Gore 4/5
Entertainment 2/5
Creepiness 1/5

Aside from some pretty decent gore effects, there's little to recommend here. Asia Argento might be one of the worst actresses I've ever seen. I mean, really, how is she getting into movies aside from her willingness to get naked at the drop of a hat. . . oh, well, there that.

Anyway, there was a time when a Dario Argento movie was stylish, unique and inventive. Even when the script was bad (it often was) and the acting was wooden (it nearly always was), the feel, look and style of the movie often made it ok, if not awesome. Those days appear to be well behind Argento as The Mother of Tears has all of the downsides but none of the style. It looks and feels like any generic Hollywood horror film which means that the flaws and silliness cannot be overlooked.

Cortez was pretty spot on with his synopsis so I'll simply add an additional vote for "meh".

Green Day is on Saturday Night Live right now. Man, that song sucks and those dudes should never attempt guitar solos. Ever. Nice make up too. They're "punkers". Hahahahahaha.

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