Mother’s Day (1980)

I love my mother. I have been on record stating that before and I do not think is a very controversial statement. I think most people love their mother even if they do not actually like their mother as well. I not only like and love my mother but I trust her. Thankfully, she never abused that trust as I grew up and never told me to do things that I should not. However, there are plenty of people who grow up without learning right from wrong. Their parents, if they were present, plant hate in their hearts instead of love and they grow up trusting that hate more than human kindness. If they were born with empathy, it can be dulled by being taught that only your family’s feelings matter. I have met these people who feel they are right no matter what and even if they were wrong, they still would hurt people. This is a scary notion to think that just down the block or even over your neighbor’s fence, there are people who just do not care. The worst thing is, you cannot spot these people by sight alone.

This movie is written and directed by Charles Kaufman but it is not the Charles Kaufman who wrote Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Adaptation. Instead, this Kaufman is the brother of Lloyd Kaufman who founded Troma Entertainment. You might remember Troma from the Toxic Avenger movies and Cannibal: The Musical. If you are familiar, you know that Troma is one of the most tasteless yet strangely popular film studios in history. Today’s selection is an exploitation film. This means that the violence and gore are usually increased a lot. This movie also has quite a bit of rape in it. Obviously, rape is an unforgivable act and the people who commit it in the movie are evil. They also kill a lot of people. I thought long and hard about including this review but I decided that if I can watch Law and Order: SVU, I can watch this. If you want to refrain from watching this movie or reading this review you would be in good company. Roger Ebert gave this movie zero stars.

As the IMDB description says, this movie is about an elderly mother who raises her two sons to kill. The movie is set at the dawn of the eighties when disco was dying buy cocaine was still on the rise. Thankfully we get a rest from teenagers and college kids as the usual targets of horror movies, especially in the Eighties. Instead, the killers are after women who are at least in their late twenties if not mid-thirties. It also takes place in one of the nicer areas of New Jersey although they definitely make sure to highlight a lot of the crummy parts. They use a lot of fictional place names but some of the areas are definitely familiar or similar enough to the area I lived out in the middle of nowhere in Jersey. The main characters are kind of stupid. Like the grown up characters in It, they have not grown up much. There is a lot of bad Eighties humor and slapstick leading up to the violence.

This movie uses a lot of popular horror movie tropes in it. It has your spooky synth music to mimic Halloween and Friday the 13th. It has the old man warning the victims before they head into danger. It has the tight group of friends who like to play pranks on each other. It has the jumpscares that lead to nothing, jangling your nerves so that you are already unsettled when the bad stuff starts. It has a lot of naked female breasts. It has masked killers and killers with mutated faces. It has vulnerable people out in the wood away from any possible help. All of these familiar elements are both played straight and parodied. There are plenty of moments played for comedy even after the crap hits the fan. The same comic timing is applied to the horror elements but it is not funny. It is all the more terrifying that these people are having a really good time.

Overall, it is not a great movie. However, I think it was worth watching. The rape scenes were mercifully short considering movies like I Spit on Your Grave and Last House on the Left. That does not make them any less disgusting or horrible. The movie is supposed to be scary and awful and it definitely succeeds at that. The actors playing the villains are actually pretty good and terrifying. The titular mother is especially unnerving with her horrible smile and cheery demeanor. The movie is cheap and dirty and that serves it well in some places but not in others. By trying to parody horror movies, it falls into similar traps but there are some new bits that I did not expect. The movie did succeed in its mission as a horror movie and it did provide scares and horror. I would recommend it but only to horror connoisseurs with strong stomachs.

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One Response to “Mother’s Day (1980)”

  1. Halloween 2016 Wrap-Up | Wolf of Words Says:

    […] Mother’s Day (1980) 3/5 Stars – Rated R […]

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