Blood, Tits, Guts, Boobs, and Scary, Scary Witches

Mother of Tears is bad.
Unfortunately, "bad" is a word so far past its usefulness in describing
the horror genre, that I may as well call it a cherry red bicycle.
I mean, are we talking bad-good or bad-bad? Good horror is an
all together different animal, some unusual mixture of great execution
and that elusive makes-your-hair-stand-on-end mystery that shocks you
into remembering why we think fear is so fun in the first place.
Suffice to say, Mother of Tears falls into that other category.
The it’s-so-bad-it’s-good type of thing that goes down better when lubricated
with all manner of hard liquor and jeering friends. The sort of
thing you know you can talk through because the plot doesn’t make a
lick of sense. A refuge you seek with your significant other where
you can watch a savage disemboweling between bouts of making out.
Yeah, Mother of Tears is pretty awful, but is it bad enough to
be awesome?

There isn’t much reason to
care, but Mother of Tears is actually part three of writer/director
Dario Argento’s "Three Mothers" trilogy that started with Suspiria
in 1977, and Inferno in 1980. The series is so old that
leading lady Asia Argento (yes, his daughter) was two years old when the
first one came out. The film begins when an evil urn is opened
and restores powers to the Mother of Tears, a powerful witch who
compels other witches to come hang out in Rome and get naked.
With such overwhelming evil emanating from the young people, who
have bad hair and, let’s be honest, probably don’t even have jobs, the
locals start going crazy. But don’t despair! Our heroine,
Sarah Mandy, is actually the daughter of a good witch. After bumbling
about in creepy derelict buildings with a revolving cast of extremely
convenient, entirely coincidental, and quite often naked pals, she and
the Mother of Tears battle it out in a naked, wet t-shirt, gory slug-fest. But it’s OK; only the girls get naked. Duh.

The real charm of the film
is how it brings you back to a time when our greatest fears were young
people with bad hair, no jobs, and tongue piercings. In other
words, like, 1980. I mean c’mon, witches? Harry Potter,
Buffy, and Wicked have so thoroughly beaten the scary out of witches,
every kid wants to be like Elphaba. Just ask Mulder, Scully, and
the cast of Independence Day what happened to the aliens.

I love bad movies, but Mother
of Tears
doesn’t have that extra zing, that twinkling of self awareness
that vaults some films into cult classics. The best bad movies still
have the capacity to surprise, and though it’s not bad for a weekend
with the gang, I’m afraid this one is doomed to slog, dribble, heave,
and grunt into obscurity.