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Mother's Day
BLU-RAY disk
Oct 2, 2012 By: Jason Adams
Mother's Day order download
Director:
Charles Kaufman

Actors:
Frederick Coffin
Michael McCleery
Nancy Hendrickson

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Three young women take their annual camping trip in unfortunate proximity to the home of an insane matriarch and her two bloodthirsty sons.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I recently reviewed Darren Bousmans MOTHERS DAY remake with Rebecca De Mornay, but the 1980 film could not be more different. Both are enjoyably hard-to-watch works of horror, but the original has established itself as one of the more influential slasherseven if it's not as famous or accessible as its counterpart FRIDAY THE 13TH. (Both were filmed at the same time on opposite sides of the lake.)

Directed by Charles Kaufman (brother of Troma head Lloyd Kaufman), MOTHER'S DAY is something of an exploitation moviefilled with acts of horror, violence and rapebut with a bit more on its mind. The film works on a level of pure entertainment, with multiple memorable scares and gory scenes. Parts of it even borders on "torture porn" (before torture porn was a thing). However, the movie also very subtly exists as a commentary on media culture and consumerism. Just pay close attention to the commercials on TV.

For a no budget flick with shocks and blood on its mind, the filmmakers actually do a really good job of building up the relationships between the three main girls. (Not to mention the fact that it follows three strong female leads is itself pretty unique.) Their quick time together camping tells you enough about them that you actually care when they get abducted. On the opposite side is the complete anarchy of the brothers Ike and Addley Along with their reprehensible mom, they represent a seriously messed up family dynamic, one that's much more unpredictable and dangerous than in the 2010 remake. While they're horrific and scary, it's also almost funny how completely ridiculous these characters are. There's definitely a darkly comic streak running through MOTHER'S DAY, which was also fairly uncommon at the time.

Kaufman's adds in some pretty inventive moments through out the film, with plenty of ideas that were original at the time and have since been copied quite a bit. While the movie is definitely influential, I don't think it's 100% successful. The pacing drags in the second act and then by the end feels a bit rushed and easy to me. However, it's still hard to deny that MOTHER'S DAY doesn't deserve more reverence and respect then it gets.
THE EXTRAS
MOTHER'S DAY is one of Eli Roths favorite movies and this Blu Ray has his name all over it.

Intro by director Charles Kaufman: This is a fairly bizarre way to start the movie. Kaufman has left the world of filmmaking and takes you through his bakery in San Diego, talking a bit about the film but its also plugging his business. He even says he definitely wouldn't make the movie today because it's too violent for him. Weird.

Commentary by director Kaufman and Assistant Art Director Rex Piano: Though clearly far removed from the film, both men are still very excited to talk about it and have plenty to say, from on-set stories to budget concerns to some of the subtext. If you're a fan, you'll dig this.

Super 8 Behind the Scenes (10:01): Kaufman narrates of his old personal footage he shot during production, most of it make up and effects tests.

Eli Roth on the Politcal Subtext (13:05): Roth clearly loves this movie, calling it one of the smartest, subversive horror films in league with DAWN OF THE DEAD. The guy has no problem talking for hours about the genre and he easily fills 10 minutes here with everything from the social commentary to how he showed MOTHER'S DAY at his bar mitzvah.

MOTHERS DAY at Comic Con (8:08): Kaufman is interviewed by the director of the remake, Darren Bousman, who continually attempts to justify his version and guarantee to not tarnish the original.

An Original Trailer is also included.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
As a low-budget horror feature, MOTHER'S DAY doesn't really offer much that well-versed fans of the genre haven't seen already, but for its time it was pretty influential and still entertaining. It gets a fairly respectable treatment on this Blu-Ray, mostly thanks to super fan Eli Roth.

Extra Tidbit: Disturbingly enough, one of the actors playing the killer brother and one of the actresses playing the victim fell in love while making the movie.
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