An absolutely insane movie, "Mother of Tears" is really unlike anything else that Dario Argento has ever made. In fact, it may be unlike anything anybody has ever made, although it does bear some slight similarities to "In the Mouth of Madness," because both films are about an apocalyptic craziness gripping the planet. "Madness" ultimately makes more sense as a movie, but "Mother" is the more deleriously irresistible of the two.
The presence of an evil killer monkey in the story pretty much sums up the film. Once the screaming ape appears out of nowhere and a woman is gutted by demons and strangled by her own entrails, you know you are in for an entertaining ride. Argento seemed to overreact to accusations some of us had that his last films ("The Card Player", "Do You Like Hitchcock") were a little boring, which they were. This film may be guilty of many things, but it is not boring. In addition to nude witches, and people with their guts falling out, there's a killer monkey. Not a fake, cgi monkey, but a real trained killer ape.
The film opens with the discovery of an ancient urn discovered in a graveyard in Italy. Terrified at the writing on outside of the urn, a priest sends it to a museum so researchers can hopefully concluded that the urn isn't what the priest fears it is. Two archeological researchers' assistants -- one of whom is played by Asia Argento -- open it up.
Instantly, demons show up -- along with a killer monkey -- and gut one of the research assistants'. Argento gets away and reports the massacre to police, who think the monkey part of her story is too over the top to be believable. She spends the night with her researcher/lover, whose son is eventually kidnapped by a satanic cult connected to the urn. Turns out, a bit of clothing discovered in the urn has some kind of satanic power or something.
Almost automatically after the urn is opened, people in Rome start acting crazy, attacking one another. When Asia's boyfriend disappears on his solo search for his kidnapped son, Argento looks for him, and learns from priest Udo Kier that her mother had gone up against the same witches we saw in "Suspiria" (this film is a sequel to that movie), and now the end of the world was happening: A second age of witches. Kier is killed off by one of his assistants who has gone satanically mad, and Argento gets away again.
One other thing: Argento learns through voices that she has psychic powers and can disappear at will -- and she sees the spirit of her mother (Daria Nicolidi) urging her to fight the evil powers. It turns out her mother was killed by the witch of "Suspiria". She's being followed around town by Euro punk rocker satanists who look like they popped out of an eighties movie. In one hilarious scene, she escapes from them by squashing the head of their leader in a train door.
Apparently, witches from around the world are descending on Rome after word spread that the urn has been opened and an ancient article of clothing -- a ceremonial sweatshirt basically -- for use in a ritual to bring about a new age of witches.
In the process of using her previously unknown psychic abilities to go to war with "The Mother of Tears" -- the third evil mother from Argento's trilogy, which started with the "Mother of Size" (4/28 correction, that's actually "Sighs") in "Suspiria" -- Asia runs into a lot of characters, most of whom are eliminated by cult members or crazies in insanely creative death scenes that involve just about every body part and orifice imaginable. The Mother of Tears is played by amazing hottie Mater Lachrymarum, who shows up naked most of the time to view the carnage being inflicted by her followers, save for a robe that barely covers up her bare breasts.
No, this film doesn't make a ton of sense but it is highly entertaining. An insane, delirious bloodbath. The last frame of the movie has Argento's character laughing hysterically and that pretty much sums up the film: It's mad, mad, mad movie, easily Argento's craziest.
Is it as good as "Suspiria" and "Inferno" -- the other two "Mother" films that make up the trilogy/ Certainly, it's nowhere near as good as "Suspiria" but it is more entertaining than "Inferno." Those films are classic because, yes they're Argento, but they're '70s Argento, back when he had the best cinematographers working for him. This new film just looks like it was shot for video. It doesn't deliver the atmosphere of his best work.
But it is the best Argento movie since "Trauma." It's definitely not a "pop" movie and many people will hate it, but this reviewer ultimately enjoyed it as a bizarre art horror movie.
An Avid and also Rabid Argento fan as i am, I think Argento holds true to his style but does it in a 2008 fashion. An innovator is Dario,always using change to justify his need to prove as a lasting force in Horror. You Hit the nail on the head in the end ,MOT is a very non boring horror film almost a farce almost Jumanji? He's had ups and downs but even his downs hold the test of time,"trauma" is better to me today than years back Better with age?. This is an UP for him and stands out as the nutty horror films just keep comin to our theaters!
Posted by chris on April 28, 2008
Hey I think it's "Mother of Sighs" as in whispering, hushing, sighing (as heard throughout the soundtrack and not "Mother of Size" as in a nine foot tall witch. But great review! It's good this film has fans.
Posted by Evil Eddie on May 12, 2008
I especially enjoyed Asia's tits in the shower scene. Definitely a bonus.
The trailer looks awesome. I can't wait to get my hands on this!
Posted by Tom E on September 24, 2008
Great conclusion to the Three Mothers except for the Goth Girl Witches ,they took away from the evilness of the movie with their almost cartoonish characters .Had the been a little more normal in appearance but menacing in their subtle actions they would have been much better.
Posted by on October 24, 2008
Posted by V. David Reynolds on October 24, 2008
Bad acting, so so script, and a lame villianess. For a witch that is supposed to be so bad-assed, she sure was disposed of easily.So so Argento. Well maybe his next movie will be better.
Posted by Dave S on July 23, 2009
The name of the actress who played the Mother of Tears is Moran Atias. "Mater Lachrymarum" is Latin for "mother of tears."
Posted by Kayz on November 7, 2009
i liked it it coulda been better but with the low budget they did very well..
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Rank this film on a '666 scale' of one to six (left to right). Based on 3041 votes.