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Mother of Tears (Unrated)

3.3 out of 5 stars 111 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

An ancient urn chained to a coffin is unhearted by chance by some men at work along the road bordering the Viterbo's cemetery. The urn contains an age-old tunic and some objects belonging to Mater Lacrimarum, the Third Mother (Moran Atias). The only survivor of the Three Mothers - three powerful witches who had been shedding blood and terror for aeons - Mater Lacrimarum (the Mother of Tears) has been hiding in Rome for centuries and her awakening triggers a chain of mysterious and terrible events: the Evil is back to cast its dark shadow over the city. Sarah Mandy (Asia Argento), a young student of restoration, co-worker and love's interest of Michael Pierce (Adam James), the curator of the Museum of Ancient Art of Rome, is involved in the escalating and increasingly frantic episodes of violence. Sarah tries to run away but she cannot: the Third Mother is looking for her and Sarah is not aware of the fact that her mother Elisa Mandy (Daria Nicolodi) was a powerful white witch brutally killed by Mater Suspiriorum, the witch from Fryeburg. Helped by the spirit of her mother, by an eminent esoterism academic, Guglielmo De Witt (Philippe Leroy), and by the Chief Constable Marchi (Cristian Solimeno), Sarah realizes that she has no way out and that she must face the impending threat.

After waiting 28 years for the third feature in Dario Argento’s Mother trilogy, die-hard fans (like myself) flocked to theaters to catch Mother of Tears. The anticipatory set-up, for example reconciling in advance that the film will look entirely different, and probably less sexy, than the first two Giallo classics, Suspiria (1977) and Inferno (1980), induced anxieties in viewers that many of us hoped would enhance the film’s horror and suspense. So revered are Suspiria and Inferno that one needs an extremely open mind to avoid instantly turning Mother of Tears off, now that it’s available on DVD, and chucking the disc out the window, insulted by its comparison to the previous two movies. From scene one, in which a psychotic, villainous monkey stalks Asia Argento, playing protagonist Sarah Mandy, through Rome’s Natural History Museum, one realizes this film can only go downhill. Without the colored lights, the stylized 1970s horror aesthetic, or the terrifyingly fetishtistic speed metal/electronica soundtrack pounding during the chase, the mood is simply corny. Regarding the monkey, try to remember that an oddly elegant and intelligent crow ate an eyeball to great effect in Argento’s, Terror at the Opera. Argento has always favored animals to represent unwilling witnesses. The plot itself is also typically Argento and does follow-up: After a tainted red tunic is discovered in a cemetery, the third and last witch, Mother Lachrimarum (Moran Atias), is awaken from her catacombs beneath a mansion that she and her two deceased witch consorts, Mater Tenebrarum, the Mother of Darkness/Shadows, and Mater Suspiriorum, the Mother of Sighs, long ago recruited an architect to build. The Mother of Tears has beef with Sarah Mandy, due to Sarah’s heritage, and the unholy black witch relentlessly pursues Mandy until Mandy is forced to fight head-on. Mandy’s boyfriend, Michael Pierce (Adam James), is not much help, nor is Padre Johannes (Udo Kier), which makes sense; Argento’s films are all about empowered female characters, vengeful victims and ruthless criminals alike. Perhaps the flaw here is Argento’s casting of his daughter, and her inability to render that illicit sexual tension that the puerile Suzy Banyon (Jessica Harper) once did in the halls of her bewitched boarding school. Even Mother Lachrimarum’s young recruits, such as the Gothic and Lolita-style Katerina (Jun Ichikawa), are dumb-looking with their colored contacts and peacock hairstyles. There is only one character, the elder white witch Marta Colussi (Valeria Cavalli), who has the sexual draw to enchant Argento style, but she is short-lived. The CG effects employed throughout, especially in regards to the ghoulish antics happening amongst the Goth witch posse, are just plain bad. Only a few shots of gore really spook, and to be fair, they are lasting images. But the only semi-interesting this about the Mother of Tears DVD is the interview extra with the man himself, who is still master even if he makes a few stinkers. --Trinie Dalton

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Asia Argento, Cristian Solimeno, Adam James, Moran Atias, Valéria Cavalli
  • Directors: Dario Argento
  • Writers: Dario Argento, Adam Gierasch, Jace Anderson, Simona Simonetti, Walter Fasano
  • Producers: Dario Argento, Claudio Argento
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Dimension Extreme
  • DVD Release Date: September 23, 2008
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001AR0D6I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,530 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Mother of Tears (Unrated)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By D. Wilson VINE VOICE on September 28, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
If there is one thing that two seasons of the often underwhelming TV series Masters Of Horror gave us, it was a rejuvinated Dario Argento. The Italian director delivered a pair of entries(Jenifer and Pelts) that stand not only as some of the best from the series, but also some of the best material(and most extreme) that he had done in nearly 10 years(Opera from 1987 being his last great work in my opinion), and showcased that he still had the ability to disturb and entertain. Gone was much of his famous trademarks-- inventive camerawork, use of heavy colored lighting, and artistic quirkiness; which were now replaced with more straightforward and solid pacing and scenes of shocking grue. With Mother Of Tears, Argento uses that same aforementioned formula from his Masters Of Horror episodes, except now stretched into full-length form AND used to complete his 28-years-in-the-making "mothers" trilogy of films(begining in 1977 with Suspiria, and it's sequel Inferno from 1980). The movie follows Sarah(poorly acted by Dario's own daughter Asia Argento), a museum worker who unwittingly unleashes the evil of the Mother of Tears on Rome when she opens an ancient cask... hijinx ensue and feature some of the Italian maestro's most excellent moments of depravity ever, including(but not limited to) stangulation by one's own intestines, baby cannibalism, and impalement(Cannibal Holocaust style!). Throw in some solid atmoshere, brisk pacing, tons of nudity(even some full-frontal for the gents), and a fantasic jump scare towards the middle of the movie(so good I had to watch it twice in a row), and we have a definite winner here(all that was missing was a soundtrack by Goblin).Read more ›
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The "Three Mothers" series (Suspiria, Inferno) is concluded by Mother of Tears and the best part of this event is that this series is hopefully concluded. Argento's supernatural movies have had the weakest stories among his not-so-strong-on-stories output. Suspiria overcame this issue through its haunting cinematography and exceptional Goblin score, but such inspired combination is hard, if not impossible, to replicate. Inferno was already mediocre and now Mother of Tears just makes me want to watch Inferno again.

At least, I could stand to watch MoT until the end - often thinking of Argento's past movies and how this is a pale shadow of them. There are small moments in MoT (the timed light switch scene, for example) which remind me who the director is, but they are too short and are never fully realized. Others just feel so ridiculous they made me laugh - not a good thing for a movie that takes itself seriously. The soundtrack is insufficient to elevate the tension and the camera work is competent, but that's all I can say about it.

You would be better off picking some of Argento's previous attempts, like Sleepless, The Card Player, or Masters of Horror - Dario Argento - Jenifer. But MoT is only worth a rental and that only if you are an Argento fan.
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I hate to be a critic, I really do.
I don't want to mislead anyone about this film, so I tell it like it is from my pov of course.
The final say is whatever you think, I am just sharing my humble opinion.
This is the movie that could have been a great finale to a trilogy whose story is epic, surreal and of course frightening.
I realize Dario is much older now, and its obvious this film didn't have a huge budget.
Of course budget size just means the director and everyone else involved should make do with what they can and really stretch their creativity.
I thought the practical effects were well done...the cgi and digital effects not so much.
I say that not just because I personally prefer practical effects, but because everything else looks so cheesy to me.
Of course I have never made a film so I can only say these things from an audience perspective.
Maybe I had my hoped too high when I saw other poor reviews and figured what the heck, lets give it a go anyway.
I am not new fan to Argento, I have been for many years and I think I can say without any doubt that this isn't the worst Argento film, but it comes close.
The things that bothered me were the atmosphere and those silly witches that show up from around the world who all look like stereotypical punk rockers from the 1980's.
This movie just didn't have that mystique that drew me into the first two films, Suspiria and Inferno.
I think Dario is probly a better writer than a director at this stage in life, because I just get the sense that this could have been more sincere and imaginative.
I also sense that the story for the third film was probly bigger than the limited resources could allow, but Dario still could have pulled it off, but in the end it falls kinda flat.
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Ten reasons to like this film: the soundtrack by Simonetti is great; the credits are beautiful; the cinematography is often gorgeous even on DVD; Asia's performance is solid; the Mother, while no actress, is very hot; it has Udo Kier; the street witches are uniquely Argento; the ape is cool; the script is more coherent than haters claim; and Fulci's effects man worked on it! Also, it's never boring and much better than Argento's TV work. And Daria Nicolodi is back, if unrecognizable. So see it. As for the Vid Watchdog attack on MOT, they seem to have forgotten that the third mother enjoys cruelty; it's her theme. Also, they give Suspiria a pass when its script is little better, and Inferno is mostly a (delicious) disaster. Their claims of misogyny are problematic. If audiences don't feel the characters are in danger, where's the scare? Gratuitous cruelty (and stupidity, in comedies) is inevitable when movies compete to be the latest and greatest. (Welcome to Capitalism, folks. I guess you thought it couldn't have a downside.) The point of horror "art" is to explore the dark stuff on purpose - safely, from a distance. So when the Mother licks up a dying woman's tears, that ties in to the "mother of tears" title pretty well, don't you think? The lack of crane shots or primary colored sets is an intentional step away from his old style, says the director. So no points detracted there. Who knows - or cares - why some are so upset about the monkey. Isn't it enough for it to be weird and unexpected? That fits nicely with the characterization of Argento as a sort of Surrealist. Sure, there are plenty of sloppy moments here. And beautiful ones, too. But watch again for when Asia discovers the lair of the Mother - if you don't think that lighting is intentional, and very cool, you probably can't be won over to the Argento camp. So: no masterpiece, but plenty of bizarre and suprising stuff to keep us happy.
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