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September 17, 2012

Movie Review: Mother's Day (1980, Blu-ray)

Charles Kaufman’s notorious film Mother’s Day is finally here, on Blu-ray, via Troma and Anchor Bay! After a couple of years of being pushed back, Troma took the popular nasty to Anchor Bay to assist in distribution. It’s not something Troma does often, as they do handle the majority of their films but this comes as a very welcome decision because it’s an important film from the 80’s slasher cycle.

Abbey (Nancy Hendrickson), Trina (Tiana Pierce) and Jackie (Deborah Luce) are a trio of city slickers looking to vacate the congestion and all-around craziness a big city embodies. The gals decide to be one with nature and head out into the woods for a little rest and relaxation. What the girls don’t know is that near where they set up camp we have a couple of loony brothers (Bill Ray McQuade and Frederick Coffin) and their hard to please mama (Beatrice Pons).



The girls are prime fodder for Mother and her boys to toy around with and murder. As Mother’s sons kidnap the three women the audience is exposed to some heavy misogyny with very uncomfortable (but effective) dashes of humor. Yes folks, this is the first horror/comedy/rape-revenge film.



Made around the same time as I Spit on Your Grave and MS. 45, Mother’s Day seems to take more of a risk because of the laughs, but in all honesty that's its wicked charm. This will not go over well with many now as it didn’t at the time because of the content but for me by the end of the film you have a very satisfying experience that may just require one shower. I will warn that even for myself the scene with mama ogling her boys as they rape the girls is completely vile. Some very memorable, gory deaths are also on display in Mother’s Day. Most are in the finale, but its perfect timing.

The acting solid for the majority of the cast but we do have a few stand-outs. The girls do a fine enough job of conveying the horror of the situation. Beatrice Pons steals the show though. She combines evil with funny beautifully as do McQuade and Coffin. Some of their antics from the story have been copied for other movies like the Andreas Schnaas’ masterpiece Violent Shit II.



There really are some fun extra features on here and thankfully none of the recycled stuff Troma tends to tack on releases. Charles Kaufman has a commentary with production assistant Peter Fox. Both gentlemen seem to have a good time and even crack some jokes during the recording. Charles isn’t quite as goofy as brother Lloyd but he carries it just as well as his brother who has always been an enjoyable storyteller. The deleted scenes included highlight much of the FX on the film. The head-chopping from the opening is tested as are some additional make-up segments. Another feature has Eli Roth talking about Mother’s Day and how important it was to him as a horror fan.

The Blu-ray looks very sharp and doesn’t appear to be abused by DNR. Colors are nice and the print only shows some minor blemishes. This is a great disc from top to bottom. Hopefully Troma and Anchor Bay can team up for other Blu-ray releases…like say Cannibal: The Musical or even Graduation Day. Buy it!!

(Screencaps courtesy of Rock! Shock! Pop!)

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