of pitch black gallows humor.
stays onscreen just long enough that we know something is about to happen to it. Someone swipes off the phony hippie guy's head in slow motion. It's so unreal it's kind of funny.
anyone can die at any time and any woman may be raped,
Mother's Day has flavor.
Jackie lives in New York. Her boyfriend lives off her. He's a man who acts like a child, stealing from her wallet. The black doorman of her building is kind of an unfriendly sidekick like the ones on sitcoms about independent young women making it on their own in the city. In fact, he has blatant contempt for her carefree attitude and Jackie's completely unaware. While they're both members of marginalized groups, he's bitter and more than a little self-pitying that whatever new independence Jackie's achieved as a young white woman hasn't yet happened for him, a young black doorman. His hilariously indignant response to her advice that he go out and enjoy New York City if he's "free for the weekend" can be taken at face value as a jab at the complacency of a dominant ethnic group, but it's also the self-righteous suicide of identifying oneself as a victim - just like the boyfriend upstairs, who whines that he could work a steady job like Jackie if only he weren't such a sensitive artist. Meanwhile, there are more sensitive artists on the sidewalk outside the building: older grownups in the throes of public alcoholism and dementia, singing and shouting for attention
Cities are supposed to be places for adults, but our three young women seem to be the only fully functioning adults around - without even realizing it.
Carol J. Clover's definition, is the "Terrible Place" of the killer's lair. Mother's Day is a cheap film but wisely lavishes mother's house with triumphant production design by Kaufman's sister Susan. Its only precedent is the dirt poor necrophile cracker decor of Robert A. Burns' design for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Mother's Day is one of very few efforts worthy of comparison to that unforgettable Terrible House, in maintaining the rural squalor
"We're citified" growls Ike when Trina spits the "backwoods" epithet. "You look around!" The age of mass media is one of homogenized tastes and one of the great black jokes of Mother's Day is the civilizing effect presumed on all our pop junk - as if blue jeans and McDonalds bear an inherent taming effect on taming primitive savages. Junk culture is made to be disposable and istherefore worthless. Garbage in, garbage out, right down to the Travolta poster in mother's living room. The walls are a panoply of graffiti; a child's vandalism. Amusingly the language is never more than "Addley Eats Snails."
and mother's voyeurism.
are the brands."
sleeping bag by rope.
20 years later?
Remember your name and address /
and your phone number too
you'll know just what to do
Walk up to that kind policeman /
the very first one you meet
and simply say I've lost my way /
I cannot find my street
"We'll get those bastards."
woods adds another fairytale dimension to the nightmare. Parents and probably mothers in particular are the source of fairy tales.
what they do.
the mouth. Advancing on Trina as he chokes, he does not see Abbie fitting a TV set on his head. As unlikely as the physics may be, first television president Ike's death by television is helped sold by Gallo and Vicari's synth sound effects. The final blows are dealt by Trina via electric carving knife. Fitting, not only as a symbolic tool of postwar domesticity, but providing the film's Freudian impalement retribution for Jackie's literal death by penetration.
girls were still goofing around in the woods. Her years of watching and facilitating murders apparently left her unable to see through a ruse. Abbie, pretending to have been stabbed, allows Trina to subdue her. Pleading for her life, mother intones: "I'm sick! I'M A SICK WOMAN!" True, but the wrong words for Abbie, whom we heard screeching the same line to her in Chicago. While one questions how Abbie seems to know there is an inflatable pair of oversized novelty breasts within arm's reach, her smothering of mother while ranting about "taking care" of her is too fitting to nitpick. What's more, Abbie's immediate crying breakdown restores an emotional integrity endangered when she responded to Ike's death with a one-liner a little too glib for this author to believe.
The horror of the evil child seen in films like
The Exorcist, Halloween, and The Omen, or in stories like Jerome Bixby's It's a Good Life and Ray Bradbury's The Veldt, is the horror of the child rendered alien to his parents by television. Mother's Day wallows in the omniscience of televisions in every room of every American house and infantilizing, unfeeling pop culture.
TV is the third parent, and in this film the unspoken father
of mother's boys.
half-decent writing from a horror film called Mother's Day released by the shlockmasters at Troma, whom were known even before The Toxic Avenger as makers of raunchy sex comedies in-house and the occasional distribution of horror films like the infamous Blood Sucking Freaks, a film whose subtext free gran guignol torture of women would be a huge favorite of Ike and Addley's.