The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mom (1991)

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This was the second of three movies that we watched during the Netflix Bad Movie Night, hosted by fellow bloggers at Mr. Gable's Reality, Guts and Grog Reviews, and Morbidimentia. We've already looked at the first movie from that night, Monster Dog, starring Alice Cooper, and you can check out that post for more details on what the Netflix Bad Movie Night is all about.

Mom is about an elderly lady, living alone after her kids have grown up and moved out, who takes in a border. Problem is, the border is none other than DTVC favorite Brion James, and he's a flesh eating werewolf type thing. After Mom tries to feed him her world famous pot roast, he bites her, turning her into one of him. Her son, the heel from Ski School, follows her and James one night as they go out in search of a person to eat, and he flips out, killing James and locking his mom in her room. But can he keep her and her craving for human flesh locked away forever?

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Had it not been for the morbid and dour ending, this might have been a pretty sweet piece of horror comedy. The idea of the nice sweet granny turning into a flesh eating monster is fantastic, and the interplay between her and her son made for some pretty funny scenes. Was it along the lines of Bad Taste or Evil Dead? Not quite, but maybe more in the Blood Diner vein, though the ending hurt it quite a bit. That's the thing with horror comedy, once you start down that road, you can't turn around and try to be serious at the end. It doesn't work. What also doesn't quite work is a horror comedy for a heckle party, because comedies are often too difficult to mock. If you're into 80s/90s low-budget horror, this has the feel you're looking for, just not finish.

Further on that theme of 80s/90s low-budget, Mom had me feeling nostalgic. It really has that video store find vibe to it, the 6th or 7th grade sleepover party pick-up, best enjoyed with some junk food and soda. As I was looking on Amazon to see if this was available for purchase, I realized just how much a product of its time it was. Produced before the age of Internet search engines, it's entire raison d'etre was to be found on a video store shelf; but with a name like "Mom", which is so generic, it's almost invisible now-- and there are no longer any video store shelves to see it on either. Even adding the "1991" isn't as much help as you'd expect, because Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead will pop up instead.

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We love us some Brion James. Unfortunately here, he's gone after the first 20 minutes-- he must've had better things to do. One of the all time best baddies, he really brings it in even a short period of time, and I think might have been better as a kind of Fright Night Chris Sarandon style villain that stuck around longer, but I guess his short but sweet appearance was good too. Hey, any Brion James is better than no Brion James, right?

Mark Thomas Miller plays the son, though we know him better as the heel in Ski School, my all time favorite DTV comedy. He acquitted himself pretty nicely here, though it's been my experience that the heel in a comedy romp is often a pretty funny guy himself, so it's not that surprising. This movie could've used a little Dave Marshak too-- I would've overlooked a lot of this film's flaws.

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One of the conversations that came up while watching this had to do with a scene where Miller gets his mom a hooker to eat. I asked if anyone would do the same, bring home a hooker for their mom to eat. The first response was no, she can get her own hookers. It's a tough call. I doubt I'd do it though either. Too much risk.

This is a hard one, because it wasn't bad on horror comedy until the ending betrayed it; but because it's more horror comedy than schlock horror, it's harder to make fun of on your bad movie night. Ultimately, I'd say skip it, unless you find it on Watch Instantly or something like that, and you're feeling nostalgic for the late 80s/early 90s.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0100172/

13 comments:

  1. OMG! I actually watched this like a month ago & was going to do a review on it. Even though, some parts were cheesy...it did keep me entertained. I do love those 80s/90s horrors. :P

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  2. Yeah, 80s/90s were the best, especially nostalgia-wise, but horror was just more fun then. I liked that this was funny and off-beat, I just wish the ending wasn't so serious.

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  3. The only problem with my mom eating hookers in our house is that you've got hooker leftovers for like an entire week. Hooker sandwiches, hooker casserole, hooker salad, hooker pot pie...

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  4. Ha ha ha, yes! That's a place that maybe this movie should've gone. What they did was part humor with the actual situation between the mom, hooker, and son; but then there was this deal where the son's girlfriend caught him bringing the hooker to his mom's, and thought he was cheating on her. That was something that took a more serious tone that again undermined the humor of the movie.

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  5. EXCELLENT REVIEW! Loved it. Even though I complained A LOT during this movie, I did actually enjoy it. There was lots of good about it and a lot of bad about it. But compared with some real endurance movies I've had to sit through, this one far exceeds anything like that. It's a good time.

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  6. The complaining was warranted based on the situation: we were just coming off the quintessential bad movie night flick in Monster Dog, we all had some booze in us, and we were looking at the first ten or fifteen of Monster Dog and expecting the same thing. Monster Dog is a tough act to follow in a setting like that. On it's own, though, like you said, it has a lot of pluses. I'm glad you guys picked it, because it really did bring me back to 20 years ago and those great video store finds.

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  7. I had seen this before and enjoyed it. Not perfect by any means but a pretty god damn good ride from the 80's. Not the best movie to riff by any means. Good write up sir.

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  8. My "haven't seen this" turned to "haven't seen this YET" having read the words "Miller gets his mom a hooker to eat"! I simply have to do a home movie called "Son", starring myself, where a mom brings his son a hooker to eat! "No animals were harmed, but some hookers were eaten during the making of this".

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  9. Sounds like this one would make a hell of a fun night, with that late 80s early 90's vibe going for it, I remember the cover for it on video shelves, but I also passed on this one in its initial release, strange how I feel nostalgic for watching it now! I guess it reminds me of those days.

    Brion James, I remember him from Sam Raimi's Crimewave! He was so funny in that one as the rat killer dude. I need that movie on my dvd collection, cant believe it hasnt come out yet.

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  10. You're right! It was a too serious ending. ;\

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  11. GGR, I agree that this one was pretty fun, and I think in another context this would've been fun for a bad movie night. After Monster Dog though it was at a disadvantage, and if you're looking for a high body count horror, this doesn't quite work either, but it's fun.

    TJ, Son sounds pretty sweet, especially if you went with a real mamma's boy and a real creepy deranged housewife for the mom.

    Film Connoisseur, this will definitely take you back to those old video store days; and I have Crimewave, and have been meaning to watch it. Gotta love Brion James.

    RQH, yeah, this took a strong left turn near the end-- actually at the part when the girlfriend sees him with the hooker and thinks he's cheating-- and it killed a lot of the funny that this had built up.

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  12. Are you kidding???
    Mom is a highly respected classic!

    I always thought the use of the title character as a Christ figure was truly brilliant.

    5 out of 5, my friend....

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  13. Wow, 5 out of 5? I'm thinking more 3.5 out of 5-- which is still pretty good-- but I save those 5 out of 5's for the big boys, like Evil Dead 2. The thing devolved into too much seriousness that betrayed the fun it created for the bulk of it.

    I see what you mean about the Christ image though, but ultimately it wasn't enough for me.

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