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John’s Horror Corner: Mother of Tears (2007), the final act of Argento’s “Mother Trilogy”

September 9, 2013

MY CALL:  This very brutal, very gory evil witch demon film brings to an intestine-tangled close Argento’s “Mother Trilogy” in blood-soaked form.  IF YOU LIKED THIS WATCH: This film tried to be brutal and largely succeeded.  Fans of this wincing style should try Martyrs (2008).

Sarah Mandy (Asia Argento; Land of the Dead, Demons 2) is an American art student in Rome.  Unfortunately for Sarah, her supervisor opens an ancient container filled with ancient things and reads some ancient words…and we all know that reading ancient words scribed on ancient things is a death-dealing no-no.  I mean, did you see Evil Dead (2013) or The Cabin in the Woods (2012)?  So terrible evil immediately converges upon her and, if for no other reason than proximity or contact with the box, that evil subsequently aims itself at Sarah.

“Hey, an ancient cask with ancient writing on it.  Let’s open it and read some ancient words off of ancient things.  What’s the worst that could happen?”

THIS!!!  This is the worst that could happen!

Oh, wait!  It actually gets WORSE!!!

Opening this ancient cask has unleashed The Mother of Tears (Mother Lachimarum), the demonic spirit of a long dead witch, upon the city–resulting in a wave of suicides and violent behavior.  Also serving as a dark arts homing beacon, gothy witches in outrageous Harry Potter-chic fashion and loud eye make-up from around the world are gathering in Rome to celebrate the return of Mother Lachimarum and bring about the “second fall of Rome”…basically Witchageddon.

Looking for answers, Sarah seeks help to learn about a spectral “voice” that guides her to protection from the invading witches and how she and her deceased mother are linked to the witches.  Sarah meets an exorcist, Father Johannes (modern horror forefather Udo Kier; Iron Sky, The Lords of Salem, Blade), who explains much of this mystery.

Director Dario Argento (Suspiria, Tenebre, Phenomena) brings us a dark story with gothic scoring (which is at times perfect, and at others poorly rendered).  This is the third and final installment in his “Mother Trilogy,” which he began 30 years prior with Suspiria (1977) and Inferno (1980).  This is not a fraction as eerie as its trilogy predecessors.  However, the gore is deliciously over-the-top from the beginning, including images of flesh-tearing torture, smashing heads (repeatedly and to gut-oozing malformation), BDSM, blood-spewing gashes, dismemberment, eye-gauging, disembowelment, gushy cannibalism, wading through a pit of partially liquefied human offal and being strangled by one’s own intestines.  There is even a scene in which a woman is speared in her…ummm…reproductive system–it’s all pretty brutal.

“Oh, where are they going to put all these human sacrifice guts and bodies?”

“An offal pit, of course.”

All of these images are meant to shock and provoke cringes and winces.  Regarding this suspected goal they are often successful, especially during the finale as we are bombarded by what could only be described as the Devil’s orgy.  After all this successfully provocative imagery, Sarah’s defeat of Mother Lachimarum is abruptly lame and anticlimactic.  At least it occupied but a minute of a 10-minute gross-out montage full of activity.

The story was alright, but suffered a painful slowdown at about the halfway point.  But what fueled this movie was a shock and awe campaign of gore and brutality.  With that, Argento was quite successful and I was pleased.

21 Comments leave one →
  1. September 9, 2013 8:04 am

    Argento yes! Saw this one — I felt it was one of his better ones. Am I mistaken or did this one have that huge, spectacular crane shot near the end that went over rooftops, etc. Good review. Have not seen the others in this trilogy.

    • johnleavengood permalink
      September 9, 2013 9:21 am

      I haven’t seen Suspiria since I was a teenager (and probably couldn’t properly appreciate it). Never saw Inferno. I need to get these ASAP. They are supposedly much more daringly artistic in his use of lighting and camera work–thus, less mainstream.

      • September 10, 2013 7:09 am

        Good point. But believe it or not, I liked Suspiria but think it was overrated. At the time it came out, it got a lot of attention for it’s shock value. But you should like it. It is a defininite MUST SEE for any Argento fan.

  2. johnleavengood permalink
    September 10, 2013 7:15 am

    I just ordered Suspiria, Inferno and Opera (though, not of the Mother Trilogy) on Amazon. It’s time for me to get into some Argento classics!


  1. John’s Horror Corner [INDEX] | Movies, Films & Flix
  2. John’s Horror Corner: The Lords of Salem (2013), the softer side of Rob Zombie | Movies, Films & Flix
  3. Dario Argento’s “Suspiria” will always be a classic horror film |
  4. John’s Old School Horror Corner: Aenigma (1987) and its enigmatically senseless plot | Movies, Films & Flix
  5. John’s Horror Corner: Meridian (1990), a Beauty and the Beast romantic fantasy story crafted by a horrorsmith | Movies, Films & Flix
  6. John’s Old School Horror Corner: Phenomena (1984) | Movies, Films & Flix
  7. John’s Horror Corner: The Church (1989), yet another haphazard Italian horror featuring creepy atmosphere, a diversity of effects, a shaky story and horny demons. | Movies, Films & Flix
  8. John’s Horror Corner: Cherry Tree (2015), a bad but watchable witch movie featuring cool effects and perhaps too many centipedes. | Movies, Films & Flix
  9. John’s Horror Corner: Shock (1977), a terrible Italian “haunted house” sequel. | Movies, Films & Flix
  10. John’s Horror Corner: Blair Witch (2016), discussing a divisive franchise whose third installment offered nothing new except LOUD NOISES and a videogame monster. | Movies, Films & Flix
  11. John’s Horror Corner: Evil Clutch (1988) aka Il Bosco 1, a horrible Italian flick that makes no sense. | Movies, Films & Flix
  12. John’s Horror Corner: Necromancer (1988), just sleazy B-movie trash. | Movies, Films & Flix
  13. John’s Horror Corner: Suspiria (1977), Dario Argento’s Italian witch movie about an enchanted ballet academy. | Movies, Films & Flix
  14. John’s Horror Corner: The Editor (2014), a wonderfully gory and raunchy yet awkwardly written ultra-cheesy horror comedy. | Movies, Films & Flix
  15. Bad Movie Tuesday: Witchcraft II: The Temptress (1989), just boring, boobs and bloodless. | Movies, Films & Flix
  16. Iron Sky (2012), the over-the-top Sci-Fi space-Nazi movie that will put a silly grin on your face. | Movies, Films & Flix
  17. Iron Sky: The Coming Race (2019), where Super Mario Bros. (1993) and Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008) meet a kooky Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) and Xena: Warrior Princess in this over-the-top Sci-Fi space-Nazi sequel | Movies, Films

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