Monday, August 3, 2009


Having bought this movie several months ago on ebay and not getting a moment to watch it until now, I had to refresh my memory by checking out the description. From the back of the box: Most moms are wonderful cooks, this one, likes it raw. Okay, that sounds a little suggestive. Reading on: Something's been eating Clay Dwyer - his mom. Wow, hmm, things are getting a kinda awkward in here. *Stammering* I, I guess I owe it to Clay Dwyer to read on.

Once a sweet lovable old lady, she has been bitten by and transformed into a Flesheater, turning her into a hungry creature with a knack for good ol' homestyle cooking. Due to Mom's insatiable appetite, Clay is reluctant to introduce her to his pregnant girlfriend. Okay, well, Mom already knows Clay's GF and the last time I checked eating homeless people didn't necessarily qualify as homestyle cooking, especially since Mom likes it, ahem, raw anyway. Sorry, didn't mean to interrupt.

But family friction is far from Clay's major concern. Mom is on the loose, terrorizing the town, and sinking her teeth into groceries not found at the corner market. What is Clay to do? (Yes, it actually says this.) To everyone else she's a monster that must be destroyed but to him...she's still MOM. Aw, isn't that sweet? What would you do if your mommy was turned into a ravenous skin eater? We can ponder that one later. First....

Anyway, this sounds good, doesn't it? Sounds fairly interesting, kinda original, maybe. Sounds like it would be over the top in a campy good way. Well, folks, it ain't. In fact, it's a pretty big snooze and more about the degredation of the family, with maybe an attack at addiction thrown in, rather than an all out vampire movie. As Clay struggles to deal with his mother's mounting hunger, he develops a thirst for alcohol and codependency, loosing his job and his woman in the process. Now, I'm all for subtlety and subtext and what have you in my horror movies, even those ambitious ones that look like they were made for TV in 1990, but when your commentary is right there in my face I get a little offended. I mean, come on, I'm a recognized scholar here. Anystupidsocialcommentary, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Mom begins with a young lady down on her luck in the middle of the desert, swilling whiskey from a pint and wearing some pretty goddamn fabulous over-the-knee leopard boots. She sees a mysterious looking gent at the busstop, which mind you, is in the middle of freakin' nowhere, and it being Christmas Eve and all, she offers him a nip of her booze. He takes more than that, when he rips the fetus that's growing inside her straight outta her belly and feasts upon it. Sounds cool, right? It's all off camera.

Cut to Christmas morning, Emily Dwyer, our titular character, is decorating her home for the holiday. She sits down to watch her son, Clay, deliver the nightly news, and her daughter, Carla, who she hasn't seen in years, phones to tell inform Emily she won't be coming home from Christmas again this year. Em's disappointed, but the next thing you know, Clay and his charming thin-lipped artist girlfriend with very unflattering taste in clothing announce they are expecting their first child. Emily's thrilled, but ever old fashioned, wants to know when they're getting married. There's some conversation and then it's decided that Emily will rent out Clay's old room in the house.

The next day or sometime later (the Xmas decorations have been removed), a tall figure wearing sunglasses and wielding a blind man's cane appears at Emily's door inquiring about the room for rent. His name is Nester and he's the same weirdo from the opening sequence that killed and ate that fetus. Nester is weird as shit, to be sure, he's very tall, wears bolo ties, speaks in a gruff, monotone, almost Southern accent, and prefers to eat his meals out, or so he tells his good landlady. Hearing none of it, Emily prepares a pot roast and tries to force feed it to Nester. He does the only thing a self respecting ghoul could do when faced with such an obstacle - he bites Emily on the neck and turns her into flesh hungry ghoul. The word vampire is only mentioned once. Nester himself says, 'Vampire, werewolf, ghoul, it's all the same.' Cool with me, he's not gonna put up with labels. Very punk, Nester.

So after Em gets bitten, she feigns illness so Clay'll leave her alone, and her and Nester go out a'huntin'. Clay happens to be driving by the exact spot where he sees Nester and Emily exit a cab (Los Angeles being a really small town, mind), and decides to lurk and see what they're up to. He doesn't have to wait long, they quickly procure themselves a homeless man, and after buying him a cup of coffee at a restaurant, they lead him into an alley and eat his guts. Clay witnesses all this and vomits on a homeless woman, who in turn, laughs maniacally in his face.

Clay waits for them to finish their meal and then pulls up and orders Mom to get in the car. Nester they'll see at home. Clay, trying to come to terms with what he's just seen, freaks out and tells Emily he'll get her all the help she needs, doctors and hospitals, whatever. She tries to explain what has happened to her, but Clay's hearing none of it and they return to Emily's house to discuss the situation with Nester. And by discuss, I mean they burn Nester to ashes by lighting his hand on fire on stove and throwing a pot convienently labeled 'grease' on him.

Even with Nester out of the picture, bodies around the LA area keep piling up, all with the same apparent bite wounds and so forth. Clay figures the best he can do to protect the citizens of Los Angeles is to strap his Mom to her bed and lock and bar the doors and windows. But she's hungry as hell and jonesing for a fix, so Clay does what any good son would do and goes out and gets a hooker for Mama's supper.

The hooker is easily the campiest best part of this. She's totally downtown LA in the late 80's (think Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers or Brain Damage), and you've got it. Clay picks her up in a seedy bar and offers her twenty five bucks plus cab fare to go up to his mom's room and pretend she's Carla, the daughter Emily hasn't seen in years. Bev agrees and gets herself munched on in the process.

Clay's sanity is on the wane, as he's not sleeping trying to protect his mother, as well as the citizens of LA County, and it's only a matter of time before he looses both fancy reporter job and pregnant artist girlfriend. He's got nothing left to do but get drunk and return to vampire mom's house, to cry and drown his sorrows in more hooch. It's agonizing to watch really, not because it strikes a chord with me or anything, but just because it's so boring.

It all comes to a head when Mom decides the world is better off with out and she offs herself in a somehow flame-filled kitchen. Now, like I said, this coulda been cool. It is kinda neat to see an old lady covered in blood off herself in a very violent way, because we don't see that that often. But the whole movies just smacks of PG rated after school special, it's hard to get excited about anything going on. Just as there's about to be some grue, there's a cut away. And ya'll know I'm not a diehard gorehound, but this one was too tame. There's some nice practical makeup for when Mom's in vamp form, and a little blood thrown around here and there, but not enough to warrant any gross outs or anything.

This could have also been played for laughs, but it's somehow not funny at all. The camp value is completely absent. It's not nearly as gritty as it should be either. It totally misses its mark. Emily and Clay are too 'regular' acting, there's nothing interesting about either one of them. Alice either. And she's supposed to be the artist. And then there's the whole thing about Emily being so damn hungry, she'll eat anybody, but then there's never the desire to eat Clay. She almost even eats a girl scout. Even when the long lost Carla shows up, Emily has no qualms devouring her and placing her severed head in the garbage, but she shows special mercy for Clay. He's the favorite, I guess. There's always the favorite child.

It's such a shame that this whole mess just winds up loosing its focus. I think this actually could have been an uproarious good time. Instead, it winds up as this loose metaphor for addiction, family codependency, dementia, and even menopause. But like I mentioned, it's still kinda cool to see a kindly elderly old lady covered in gallons of blood and then burnt to a blood pulp. I'm just saying.

Yes, I've been drinking.

And apologies for the small pic - do have any idea how difficult it is to google image art for something called 'Mom?' Insanely.


  1. This sounds a little like Peter Jackson's Brain Dead - though maybe without the directorial chutzpah. Great review - and kudos on the image - I can indeed appreciate how difficult it may have been to google image search for something called Mom... Cheers! :P

  2. You have no idea - I spent several frustrating minutes contemplating hard liquor as opposed to wine. Alas, all I could come up with was that tiny little thumbnail.

    It's been a coon's age since I've seen Brain Damage (I think we call it Dead Alive here) but 'Mom' was waaaaay less entertaining, given that whole lack of chutzpah, as you call it.

    Thank ya, James, as usual for stoppin' by :)

  3. Jenn: I love your disappointment over this film and the film that might have been. I mean, if you are going to do a film about a flesh eating mom and a ghoul leader that wears bolo tie, you have to go all the way - deep into the R rating.

    A slim budget probably crippled the best scenes, which it appears the film-makers were forced to do off camera. I can only image the costs involved in showing a fetus being ripped from the womb then eaten (now that would have been worth the price of admission).

    I love your posts! Did you waitress this evening? I notice, reading over your archives, that an evening at the tables often puts you in a real mood. ;) (that little thing at the end is supposed to be a wink). -- Mykal

  4. At first I thought you were reviewing that movie with Steve Buschemi, which almost has the same premise. I don't remember all that much about it, but figured with it was a different film after you described the beginning fetus scene. But then I was so interested until you mentioned that it took place off-camera. Damn it. ;)

  5. Mykal, no I did not work this evening. It does often put me in a 'mood' which naturally means I need to start drinking heavily. But on my nights off, it also means I need to start drinking heavily. It's a win win or a lose lose depending.

    Geof, I have seen the movie you speak of, it's called Ed and his Dead Mother and it is HI-larious. I love when she's all like 'you fuckers must be starving' or something. I LOL'ed repeatedly.

  6. Have you seen Frightmare, a British horror from 1974? It's everything you were hoping this would be and more.

  7. The Pete Walker film? Yeah, I think there's a copy lying around here somewhere - I tend to like Walker's movies quite a bit. The apple certainly don't fall far from the tree in Frightmare, now does it?

  8. This movie sounds like something I'd enjoy considering I actually DO know a lot of moms that like it raw *rimshot*, but I can definitely picture a watered-down horror movie on the brink of being an after school special, like your review alludes to. What a shame though because, like you said, the story has the potential to be something great. I have no memories of ever seeing this one back when I had piles of dubbed movies on VHS but if I ever come across "Mom" (doubtful) I'll be sure to skip it.

  9. Aaron, you lovable scamp. I can always count on you to know lots of moms that like it raw, baby. The back of the box is more entertaining than the movie, to be sure. And all those horrible commas and lack there of, that's not my drunkenness talking. I might just be the only person on the earth that finds grammar errors on the back of horror movie boxes entertaining.

  10. Count me out on this one, I will rewatch Frightmare and Mother's Day to get my fill

  11. Ooh, Mother's Day. Forgot about that one. It's been years since I've seen that one!

  12. Haha, I love movies that have typos and grammar errors on the DVDs and whatnot. The next time you find yourself at a video store (particularly one that carries more obscure stuff), go to the horror section and find a low budget piece of sunshine called "Live Feed" and read the back. I noticed another film that had a major typo the other week but I don't remember the title.