Mother of Tears: The Third Mother
In 1977 and 1980, Dario Argento, the Italian master of horror, wrote and
first two-thirds of a horror trilogy about ancient witch covens. The
first of the two, Suspiria, is often regarded as Argento's masterpiece, and
Inferno is also one of the fine genre films from Argento's Golden Age in the
1975-1982 period. Argento never finished the trilogy - until now, 27 years
The relocation of some ancient graves unearths a mysterious urn, which is
shipped to the Museum of Ancient Art in Rome. Two of the museum's employees
open the urn, to their eternal regret, since the act of doing so unleashes
potent ancient witchcraft - the last remaining sister of the three great
witches from the 13th century: the mother of sighs, the mother of fuckers, and
the mother of tears.
Maybe I forgot one or two of their names.
At any rate, if movies have taught us nothing else over the years, it is
that mankind cannot combat ancient superstitions with knowledge and science.
Only one thing is effective for such a purpose - other ancient superstitions.
Bearing that in mind, it is quite convenient for mankind that one of the two
museum employees who open the evil urn, Asia Argento (Dario's daughter), is
the only remaining descendant of the ancient good witches who have battled the
ancient evil witches throughout eight long centuries of history. It goes without saying that she is
not aware that she is mankind's last and greatest hope or that she has great
hidden reserves of magic. Fortunately, her dead mother is still around to
advise her from time to time in the form of an Obi-Wan Kenobi style of
apparition and/or "voice in her head." The part of Obi-Mom is played by Daria
Argento, Asia's real biological mother.
Use the force, Asia!
Well, actually, now that I think about it, it wasn't really that convenient
that Asia was the one who opened the urn, because even though our girl stands alone against
the unlimited minions of the sorceress, she never actually uses any of those
untapped magical powers she is supposed to have, except to elude the policemen
who are pursuing her as a murder suspect, apparently in another movie being
filmed nearby. When Asia finally meets Weepin' Mommy face-to-face, she easily
runs the witch through with an old spike, even though the witch is
protected by her infinite mystical powers and is surrounded by hundreds of her
It just goes to show that ancient evil isn't really all it's cracked up to
be. It's about as effective as ancient television programming. Just think of
the 13th century as the Dumont Network of evil.
I guess you're not supposed to pay attention to the inconsistent plot, the
bad acting, the silly dialogue, or the incredibly bad CGI in this film, but rather to concentrate on
the things that Dario did well in the film, like the spooky cinematic tours
of the haunted nocturnal urban streets, or Asia's crawl through the hidden
world of catacombs and sewers beneath the city. That was indeed very
atmospheric, but man does not live on atmosphere alone.
He needs nudity as well.
There is plenty of that. The Red-hot Sobbin' Momma does full frontal
nudity, complete with shaved crotch and breast implants, features which were
mandatory in the 13th century. Asia Argento shows her chest in a completely
unnecessary shower scene. Silvia Rubino shows her chest when she is killed by
some ancient evil dude for no particular reason other than that she is the
lesbian lover of another woman who tries to help Asia escape. Now that I
consider it, I guess that's all the justification really required by the minions of
unspeakable ancient evil. Various and assorted other women show their breasts
and occasional flashes of more in Ancient Evil Orgies, Ancient Evil Killing
Sprees, and Ancient Evil Anonymous meetings (for those trying to kick their
dependence on ancient evil).
Unlike many Dario Argento fans, I have liked some of his recent efforts,
like Sleepless, Jenifer, and Do You Like Hitchcock?, but I just didn't find
enough good elements in this one to compensate for all its glaring problems.
Despite some plusses, it's a weak effort overall.