La Terza Madre

The third installment in Dario Argento’s “Three Mothers” trilogy (following Suspiria & Inferno) does not disappoint. Mother of Tears is full of the Italian Horror Director’s signatures: grotesque murders, graphic detail, entrails, gorgeous, naked Italian women – and of course, the main character wading through a disgusting pit of something (in this case, human carnage & maggoty grossness). Daughter Asia stars in one of daddy’s films yet again, and yes, she’s as exploited as always.

The plot, loosely: a beautiful museum curator recieives a strange artifact from a priest, opens it with a co-worker and conveniently leaves her alone, returning to find the co-worker being savagely murdered by a group in black robes, and a screaming monkey (!!??) pointing the murderers in her direction next. The cops think she’s crazy, her dead mother starts talking to her and a white magic/black magic battle ensues while Rome crumbles under chaos in the streets and gangs of witches run rampant murdering everyone. Asia, as the lead, is the only one who can STOP it all and save the city! Sounds great, right? 🙂

There is definitely some really amazing splatter-work here – buckets and buckets of it – but the main thing that impressed me was Argento’s non-sentimental “kill anything and everyone” tactic. That means babies and small children are not exempt from horrible deaths – something that definitely made an impact on me.

For people that haven’t seen this director’s work before, I recommend you start with a few of his earlier pieces to get a feel for it. His releases here are always dubbed – and dubbed pretty badly, with over-the-top voice actors (except for the few Italians who speak English, like Asia). The bad dubbing along with the Hammer-like blood and dated details lends a cheesiness to his work (for example, the witches in this one seem more like a gang of Goth clubbers from the 80s who like to start shit with strangers on the street and laugh maniacally).

Just keep in mind: it’s not a masterpiece. It’s Italian horror. There are equal parts of funny and disgusting, bloody death – so go ahead and laugh. It is ridiculous, but it’s SO great too!

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