MOTHER OF TEARS
I am one of the worlds biggest Dario Argento fans. Pretty much I love everything he did with the exception of “Wax Mask” and he was only the producer on that. Even “Card Player” and “Phantom of the Opera” I can tolerate as long as I go long stretches of time between viewings. But “Mother of Teras”, without question is the scariest movie Dario has ever been involved with. So scary in fact, I am scared to ever ask my wife to watch a film with me again because she will bring up this travesty I made her sit through. “Suspiria” for my money is the greatest horror movie ever. So when they announced that the third and final chapter of the trilogy , Inferno being part two, I rushed to buy tickets to the only announced New York show. Being that my wife is the best wife in the world, she agreed to go just because she knew how excited I was. I met up with many of the Icons crew and Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni (who is friends with Rob and also was in the film) and we buckled in for what was to be many of our first chance to see, not only the movie, but any Dario film actually in a theater (this was my second as I got a chance to see Stendahl Syndrome). The film started ok. The music was right, the Escher and Bosch painting during the credits worked, and the film opened in a cemetery. Then it all went down hill from there. Now this should have been great. I love Asia Argento. She’s hot, she get’s naked…often (her career, not necessarily this film), she is a horror icon, and she has been in some great avant movies that have nothing to do with horror like “B-Monkey”. Apparently, just prior to shooting this film, she forgot how to act. This was her worst performance, ever worse than “Scarlet Diva”. She expressions were bad, her delivery, she was just off. Udo Kier is in the film, and he is one of my favorites. But alas, his role was way too short. But for me, there were three parts so atrocious, the film could never recover. First, a pet peeve, “Suspiria” takes place almost exclusively at night. Dario used bizarre lighting and effects to make that film off kilter, scary and original. This was one of the main ambiance elements that made this film so appealing. “Mother of Tears” was almost exclusively done in the day. So automatically, one of the best cinematic elements of the “Mother” trilogy was eliminated. Second was the effects on this film. There were the typical splatter effects for a Dario classic. But, these just seemed cheesy. The concepts were there, like a witch getting her head smashes in a train bathroom door. But the finished product just looked very amateur and silly, unlike a girl swimming in a pool of barbwire, or a body that fell through a stain glass window. Lastly, and this was the worst, was the bad escapee hooker from a Pat Benatar video that they called witches. In “Suspiria” the coven was full of old women that did magic and were full of hate and looked like they had been around for 300 years. They were classic and frightening. In this, it was a bad New Wave video full of girls with fake tits, crimped hair and bad make up. Not scary, and not even comical, just sad. The film never had a chance for me after this. But the single biggest travesty of the film was the use, miss-use, or not enough use (depending on your outlook) of Daria Nicolodi. Here character was bland, silly at times, and for the role she had in making Dario’s career (and his daughters for that matter), she should have gotten better. As for the story, it is pretty simple. A body is dug up outside church grounds. It has been buried in non-consecrated grounds for a reason and of course, the first thing they do it open the coffin. This throws into motion the release of the Third Mothers spirit to ravage the world and assemble all of the Witches to bring in an era of darkness. Sarah (Asia) is partly responsible for the actual opening of the box with the much needed sacred talismans that will bring this all about. Turns out Sarah’s mother (Daria), who you only see in ghost form, was a witch hunter with extreme powers, which Sarah has as well but is unaware of. Of course, anyone involved with Sarah, her boyfriend, his son, the people that try and help her learn how to use her powers all become fodder for the rampaging witch’s that are all descending on Italy. The premise isn’t bad, the execution is lacking here. I think ultimately, the problem is, that part three came 18 years after part two and Dario 1) lost interest and 2) lost the sight. He stepped away from this particular path and didn’t quite make it back. The film also features a song during the closing credits with Dani from Cradle of Filth on vocals. Bonus features: The dvd has both the U.S. and European trailers, as well as a making of and an interview with Dario.