Mother's Day (1980)

I'm so proud of my boys. They never forget their momma.
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Mother's Day - I'm so proud of my boys. They never forget their momma.

For a Troma movie, Mother's Day is a relatively serious affair but with the complete absurdity that is usually associated with Troma don't expect anything too austere. Mother's Day is a deplorable, twisted and darkly humorous exploitation flick like what I Spit on your Grave would have been like if it starred The Marx Brothers. The premise of the movie is standard exploitation stuff but rather than the usual misplaced comedy found in exploitation movies such as the retarded delivery boy in the aforementioned I Spit on Your Grave and the bumbling cops in The Last House on the Left, director Charles Kaufman (brother of Troma Entertainment co-founder Lloyd Kaufman) manages to make a dark comedy with misplaced extreme brutality and manages to make it work. Although the movie does contain a munificent smattering of gore the disturbance is caused by the horror of the situation combined with its facetious treatment of the subject matter and the screwball family of misfits being so peculiar that their characters are almost believable. There is a certain kind of character type that seems to be apparent in the non-slapstick escapades from Troma and Mother's Day does not disappoint if you have a fondness for dim-witted banjo-players.

It is an annual event for long-term friends Abbey (Nancy Hendrickson), Jackie (Deborah Luce) and Trina (Tiana Pierce) to meet up for a camping holiday now that they have left the socially-exhaustive life of studentizm. Usually an opportunity for the girls to reminisce about drunken exploits, stealing traffic cones, ex-lovers and copious amounts of drugs (one can assume), their currently documented camping trip is unfortunately spoiled by the presence of yokel brothers Ike and Addley and their perverted mother.

The girls are captured by the mentally insane siblings and subjected to a series of increasingly brutal tortures and rapes all for Mother's entertainment and justified as a training exercise for the boys to keep them in peak fighting condition. The merciless Mother relishes in the brutalizing of the poor girls and actively encourages her sons to step up the violence with each successive activity until the cruelty is taken a little too far and results in the death of one of the girls. The two survivors use this as an opportunity to escape the torment but decide that the honourable thing to do is exact revenge on the demented family for their lost friend.

True MacGyver-style the surviving girls use the resources available to them in the woods and the freaky family's hovel (which just happens to be packed with the possessions of previous "training" victims) to dispose of their torturers ensuring that they don't meet their demise quick and painlessly.

There's not much more that can be said about Mother's Day, it's a straight up exploitation flick with a cold vein of Tromaesque black humour. Twisted and brutal in it's execution with a light-hearted approach to savagery against women from a backwards family with a lot lacking in the brain department. The movie also depicts a restrained cynical streak to many aspects of modern society putting topics such as consumerism and family relations in a different light and highlighting the fallacy of concepts held dear to the majority of society.

Mother's Day is a gem hidden in the depth's of exploitation obscurity and manages to be a mildly thought provoking event whilst still delivering the repulsion of a shocksploitation movie and the sleaze of a Troma movie. This is a directorial achievement in that an underlyingly silly movie can still be unsettling in such a perverse way.
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