Mother’s Day is a cult classic from the legendary New York film company Troma. If you’re not a Troma fan, don’t immediately leave this review page! Because Mother’s Day is something quite different than what you might expect from a Troma film and what exactly makes this film so special, I will explain in this review, but – as usual – first of all: the story.
During a ‘mystery weekend’ in the deserted Deep Barons area, two psychopathic brothers inhabiting a small house in the woods, together with their equally disturbed mother, abduct college friends Jackie, Abbey and Trina.
After a night of being tortured by the deranged trio, Jackie dies. Abbey and Trina manage to escape but return for an act of merciless revenge, using all imaginable kinds of household tools.
All right, I know, that wasn’t really a story, but I swear that it’s all that you need to know. Because, you see, Mother’s Day is not about the story – which isn’t really original – but about the effect that it has on the viewer and that is the effect of shock and that’s exactly what makes this film so different from other Troma films, because Mother’s Day is extremely serious in it’s atmosphere and lacks any kind of comedy.
But off course I also know that being original in your concept (compared to other Troma films) isn’t a guarantee for a good film, but luckily for you my dear Bloody-Disgusting visitors, Mother’s Day has lots to offer.
Take the acting for instance. Now, we all know the usual standard for acting down at Troma: As long as you’ve got a face and work cheap, you’ve got a job. Not with this movie. Because also the acting is very different than what you would expect from a Troma film. In fact, I found it quite convincing and natural and would even go as far as calling it good, cause that’s what it is.
But there’s more! And that more is the music, done by Phil Gallo and Clem Vicari. I really can’t understand that I never heard of them before, because the music is definitely good and kind of reminded me of Don Peake’s work (you probably know his theme from Knightrider). It has the same kind of eighties synthesizer sound, which was a very popular sound at the time, and Phil Gallo’s and Clem Vicari’s music is absolute top-quality.
But after the glory comes the shame. In other words: it’s time to take a look at some of the less good points, such as the storyline, which I mentioned before isn’t really original. Sure it has some twists and turns, but it’s nothing that you couldn’t have seen coming (except for the ending, but I won’t spoil that for you).
But I didn’t call the storyline a bad point! It’s just a less good point, because the lack of originality is completely compensated for by the effect that this film has. Remember some of those other so called ‘shock’ films? Like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre or The Hills Have Eyes? Well, compared to Mother’s Day they’re soft PG 13 films. I think that says enough.
Another thing that makes up for the lack of originality is that Mother’s Day isn’t really meant to be original, first of all because it is about the effect, but also because it is kind of an ode to the shock-genre. Not only is this explained by the year that this film was released (1980, the seventies and with that the shock period in horror history, were almost over), but also by some of the scenes from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre that were kind of blended into the story (like the scene at the gas station and the chase through the woods). Come to think of it, isn’t the whole revenge theme an ode to The Last House on the Left?
Also, I can’t forget to mention the special effects (sorry, forgot to check the credits for the guy / girl responsible for them). Compared to what they can do nowadays, Mother’s Day looks pathetic, but try looking at it like you were living in the eighties and you must admit that some of those effects were pretty damn good for that time, especially if you keep in mind that Troma films usually don’t have a very big budget.