Tuesday, January 26, 2010
An ancient coffin is found and is sent to a museum in Rome. Sara Mandy (Asia Argento) is there when it's opened (note: when an old casket is found with several crosses chained to it, you probably shouldn't open it). The opening of the coffin releases the evil of a powerful witch known as Mater Lachrymarum, or the Mother of Tears.
As the ancient witch's power grows, her spell is cast across Rome, inciting people to commit acts of evil. from all over the world, witches gather in Rome to worship the Mother and the approaching age of darkness and sorrow.
Sara, a logical and practical person, must deal with the unreal and supernatural events around her...and she must do so soon, for the Mother's cult is after her for some reason. What is Sara's connection to the witch, and what is her connection to the realm of the Supernatural? Will she be able to leave her world of logic and normalcy and embrace the Magical world? Or will she become a sacrifice to the Mother of Tears?
Mother of Tears (2007), directed by Italian Horror master Dario Argento, is the final film in a trilogy started in 1977 with Suspiria, followed in 1980 with Inferno. Known as The Three Mothers Trilogy, the films concern three witches- Mater Suspiriorum ( Mother of Sighs), Mater Tenebrarum (Mother of Darkness), and Mater Lachrymarum. concieved by Argento and Daria Nicolodi (Argento's former wife and Asia Argento's mother), the series is based on the writings of Thomas de Quincey, and is a mix of alchemy, magic, and , of course, horror.
The third entry is a good one. The acting by lead player Asia Argento is well done, as is most of the cast. Genre fave Udo Kier makes an appearance as a priest trying to help Sara in her struggle against the Witch. Daria Nicolodi also turns up as Sara's mother, making this film a family affair. Argento's trademark violence is in full force in this film, as Mater Lachrymarum's evil reaches across Rome, and persues Sara and her allies. Blood flows freely, and people die in nasty ways, so if you have a weak stomach, avoid this film...but if you're a Horror fan, there's much to sink you teeth into here. As much as I do like this film, I still have reservations about it.
Argento's Suspiria is one of my favorite films..for my review of it, take a look at my 2008 write-up (http://scott-blogofthebeast.blogspot.com/2008/10/halloween-horrors-suspiria.html).
Suspiria is an amazing film...it's as artistic as it is horrific. It truly is a magical film. Inferno, while not as great as its predecessor, is also a special film nonetheless. Mother of Tears, while a good film, seems a bit too...Hollywood, I think. Sure, there's the use of color that the two earlier films had, and the stylized violence and death scenes, and the presence of the supernatural, but I think that Mother lacks the feel of surreality that the prior films possess. The dream (or nightmare)-like setpieces that the earlier films boast have no counterparts in this latest film. For example, the first murder in the brightly-colored hotel in Suspiria, or the ballroom submerged in water in Inferno...there simply aren't any such otherworldly scenes in Mother. Yes, it is a good horror film, and it is better than the surge of remakes that have come from Hollywood of late, but for a film about magic, Mother lacks any.
Why is this film not as special as the earlier entires in the series? I think Time has something to do with it, possibly. The other two films were made over twenty years ago. Maybe there has been too much time between parts...after all, look at the Star Wars series. The first three were pretty good, but the latest three were pretty much gaudy CGI-infested crap, with none of the heart or spirit that the earlier films had( it's words like that that piss off my pals who are SW fans, but hey, the truth hurts). Maybe George Lucas simply doesn't have the same creative spirit he had back then. Or, maybe too much time has passed between chapters. I think that had he made the next three films back in the day, thye would have been radically different, and more than likely much better as well. I believe the same goes for Argento here. I feel that most of the good films from the 70's and early 80's had a different vibe to them, a different feel and spirit about them. Some of these aspects are products of the times ( the color and overall look of Suspiria for example, was due to the use of some remaining Technicolor film stock...still, with digital film effetcs, I bet one could recreate that look). Or maybe there's only so many times you can catch lightning in a bottle.
I wouldn't be so hard on Mother had I never seen the previous entires in the trilogy...as I said, it is a good horror film (and I did buy a copy). If you have never seen any of these, maybe you should watch them in reverse order. At any rate, if you like horror, check out Mother of Tears...it's a fun, bloody, dark ride. Then, go see Inferno and Suspiria, and experience some real cinematic magic.