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Mother's Day (1980) - Blu-ray Review

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Mother's Day - Blu-ray Review

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3 stars

Every son wants to make his mother proud.  It’s a primordial need.  This includes two sub-human brothers Ike (Holden McGuire) and Addley (Billy Ray McQuade) whose elderly mother spurs them on to perform violent sex acts and murderous deeds towards women and men.  Call them crazy or call them equal opportunists.  Ike and Addley and their mother could care less.  Their wooded isolation means more to them than your continued adherence to all things consumerized.  To them, every day is Mother’s Day.    And they live to make their mama happy.

Finally, after several delays and a year long wait after it was originally scheduled to appear on blu-ray, Troma's classic Mother's Day gets its comeuppance.  It’s a tale of the grisly and the weird and is as caustic as the day it was originally released.  That was 25 years ago, folks.  Deserving of its demented place in horror history, director Charles Kaufman’s Mother’s Day is a grotesque example of the surreal; the bloody; the nuanced; and works as well it does with a great amount of time spent on its subtext.

If you’ve seen one slasher film from the 80’s heyday then you’ve seen all of them: three young women - former college roommates Abbey (Nancy Hendrickson), Jackie (Deborah Luce), and Trina (Tiana Pierce) – go on a camping trip for the annual get-together.  Attacked by the brothers and brought back home so that their abnormal mother (Rose Ross) can be entertained by their wickedness, the girls discover that the woods are not as peaceful as they appear - especially with the mother's deformed sister, Queenie, running wild through it.

Balanced by plenty of broad and clunky over-the-top moments, Mother’s Day gets most of its gusto from its well-executed subtext.  No, this isn’t just a rape, torture, and murder movie.  While graphic with gore and sexual situations, Mother’s Day makes a bold statement about feminism and excess at the beginning of the 1980’s, a decade that had its own nose buried deep in a mountain of cocaine.  While offensive, the film is also harmless in its wonky aimlessness as it attempts to create sympathy for its victims, er, characters.

Mother’s Day reveals a bloody world that is so downright shameful and twisted that you’ll be surprised at how fast Kaufman sucks you in.  It’s not disturbing as in I really need to shower now, but the air is certainly disturbing.  Opening a spot-on look at the cultural brainwashing that occurred during the 1980’s and great twist in a classic situation that bends the mind a bit, the film has a great reflecting lens that charms as much as it does repulse with its own cleverness.  Unease and dread are the proper responses to its themes, but you might find your sympathies bunched up between the sons and their victims.  Of course, if you’re anything like me, you’ll applaud its shocking freeze-frame ending and forgive the moments of bad acting and clunky pacing that still haunt the film.

Mother’s Day is not the best horror film.  We’ll save that title for John Carpenter’s Halloween.  What Mother’s Day does do is provide a glimpse into the seedy side of things and make you feel every bit of its backwoods-hillbilly-occult-punk exploitation charm.

{2jtab: Film Details}

Mother's Day - Blu-ray ReviewMPAA Rating: This title has not been rated by the MPAA.
Runtime:
90 mins.
Director
: Charles Kaufman
Writer: Charles Kaufman, Warren Leight
Cast: Nancy Hendrickson; Deborah Luce; Tiana Pierce; Frederick Coffin; Michael McCleery
Genre: Horror | Thriller
Tagline:
I'm so proud of my boys. They never forget their momma.
Memorable Movie Quote: "You'll get what you deserve in them Deep Barons, you lez-beans! You won't be causin' no one no trouble no more!"
Distributor:
Troma Team Video
Official Site: www.troma.com/movies/mothersday
Release Date: No theatrical release
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
September 4, 2012

Synopsis: When you go into the woods today, you're in for a big surprise. When you go into the woods today you're not going to believe your eyes...

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

Mother's Day - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
3 stars

4 stars



Blu-ray Experience
3.5 Stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - September 4, 2012
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: None
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 2.0 (224 kbps)
Discs: 25GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Playback: Region A, B

As far as a low budget Troma production goes, this Anchor Bay Entertainment release of Mother’s Day looks as good as it can get in this AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encode. Colors absolutely pop with clarity and most of the print is free of visible damage.  That being said, the image quality does vary from time to time.  The print is heavily-grained (but that has more to do with the production than the transfer) in a way that is a bit noticeable. In some instances, source damage could have been cleaned up more than it is, but, seriously, this is the best Mother’s Day has ever looked.  Only a lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 mono track is offered.  While never great, the track is sufficient for a film of this age.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Assistant Art Director Rex Piano and writer/director Charles Kaufman provide the film’s interesting and fun commentary.  Speaking about the film’s production history, the two share anecdotes, laughs, and memories about the shoot in an enthusiastic manner that makes it a must listen for fans of the film.

Special Features:

What’s cool about these supplementals is what they don’t list.  Surprise!  There’s a fairly humorous introduction from the film’s director!  Charles Kaufman does a two-minute opening from his bakery in San Diego and quickly discusses the film’s legacy and why he isn’t in the filmmaking business anymore.  Watch all of it for a great surprise at the end.  The rest are pretty interesting, although none jump out.  The Super 8 footage contains screen tests for the characters of the film and some of special, bloody effects.  Another featurette has Charles Kaufman and Darren Bousman discussing the film at Comic-Con 2010.  The best one, however, features writer/director Eli Roth waxing poetic about the picture’s strengths and its social commentary.

  • Super 8 Behind the Scenes of the Original ‘Mother's Day’ (10 min)
  • Eli Roth on the Subversive Political Subtext of ‘Mother's Day’ (13 min)
  • ‘Mother's Day’ at Comic-Con (8 min)
  • Trailer

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