Charles Kaufman and the Troma Connection
The 80’s own the title of “The Golden Age of Slasher Films”. As a result, John Carpenter’s Halloween ushered in an arms race to capitalize on every conceivable holiday. Likewise, Mothers Day (1980) was an inevitability. Appropriately, Charles Kaufman, brother of Lloyd Kaufman of Troma Entertainment fame, directed and produced Mothers Day. Similarly, Mother’s Day contains all of the exploitative trappings that one would expect from that lineage. Poorly received upon release, this film developed a cult following since its release.
Mother’s Day – Letting the Cats Out of the Bag
In terms of plot development, Mother’s Day foregoes any sense of mystery. The antagonist quickly reveal themselves in the first acts of the film. An old woman wearing a neck brace offers a hippy couple a ride. She takes them deep in the woods when the car “breaks down”. Suddenly, her hillbilly sons, Ike and Addley, ambush the car.
The boys decapitate the man with one swing. Subsequently, the old woman slowly strangles the woman. This scene provides a concise digest of everything this movie has to offer. Mothers Day leverages awkward comedy, artless special effects and a very, very disturbing relationship between a mother and her sons.
3 Girls on a Camping Trip
Flashing forward, 3 young women, Trina, Abbey and Jackie, head out for a weekend camping trip. If only they had known that they were in a B-grade horror movie. After a series of trifling non-events, Ike and Addley abduct the women. The boys deliver the women to Mother. The violence begins promptly.
Selected by mother, Jackie is lead away from Trina and Abbey. Consequently, she is raped and severely beaten outside. Meanwhile, the brutality outside is unknown to the others. Tied up, Abbey and Trina plan their escape. Eventually, they free themselves of their shackles. The women stumble on the dead bodies of the hippies before find Jackie’s broken body hidden in a dresser drawer, barely alive. Dragging Jackie as best they can, they make an escape. Eventually, Jackie succumbs from her injuries. Abbey and Trina alter their plan from escape to revenge.
An “Evil” Sister Lives in the Woods
Mother has an evil sister named Queeny that lives in the woods eating carrion. Furthermore, she claims that Queeny broke her neck when she was a baby, thus explaining the neck brace. Conversely, the boys believe that she is a make-believe story used to keep the boys close to Momma. Mother insists that she is real. Where could this sub-lot possibly lead?
A Dish Best Served Cold
The girls drag Jackie back to Mother’s house and prepare for the assault. They get to Addley first by stabbing him in the neck with a radio antenna. Next, they neuter him with a claw hammer. Finally, the girls suffocate him.
As they drag Addley’s body away, Ike dives from the second story window. Realizing that his brother is dead, he goes berserk. Grabbing Trina, he strangles her. Abbey, not satisfied with her options, runs the house to hunt down a bottle of Drano. Pouring it into Ike’s mouth, his throat explodes with pink bloody foam. Unfortunately, it only slows Ike down.
He continues the pursuit of Trina, closing in for the kill. Abbey smashes a plugged in television on his head, frying him in the process. Still not dead, he grabs Trina one last time. Weary of the game, Trina kills him once and for all with an electric knife.
With one crazy hillbilly to go, Abbey and Trina track down Mother and suffocate her with a conveniently placed set of inflatable breasts. The nightmare is over. Abbey and Trina bury their friend. While consoling themselves, Queeny jumps from the woods. The movies ends, but presumably Queeny finishes what Mother could not.
Crappy Mother’s Day!
When Mother’s Day was released, one consistent criticism is the brutality of sexual violence. This criticism is well deserved, but this violence is relatively mild compared to The Last House on the Left or I Spit on your Grave. I personally have an aversion to this type of violence, but found myself able to get through it. That being said, this film could be a bit of a turn-off to anyone else with that shares aversion.
As far as its cult status, I can see it. It has all of the absurdities that would make it an early 80’s horror curiosity piece. That being said, many cult films are ultimately garbage. This one doesn’t make my list of great cult films. All in all, it is a decent brain drainer, but it lacks staying power.
Mother's Day (1980) - Maybe Beautiful Flowers Instead? - Malevolent Dark
Director: Charles Kaufman
Date Created: 1980-01-01 00:00