Man of the Moment

Sean William Scott

Kindly direct email to:
dorianwright [at] gmail[dot]com

"Reading his blog is like watching a beloved 50's Rat Pack Vegas act"--Larry Young
"One of the few comics blogs I always make time for"--Antony Johnston
"Dorian Wright is intelligent and slightly bitter, like a fine coffee."--Kevin Church
"Absolutely huggable."--Bully
"It's always fun to see Dorian be bitchy."--Chris Butcher
pomobarney's photos More of pomobarney's photos

Current Diversions


Doctor Who
Paperback Book Club

200404   200405   200406   200407   200408   200409   200410   200411   200412   200501   200502   200503   200504   200505   200506   200507   200508   200509   200510   200511   200512   200601   200602   200603   200604   200605   200606   200607   200608   200609   200610   200611   200612   200701   200702   200703   200704   200705   200706   200707   200708   200709   200710   200711   200712   200801   200802   200803   200804   200805   200806   200807   200808   200809   200810   200811  

Comment Policy
Offensive, harrassing or baiting comments will not be tolerated and will be deleted at my discretion.
Comment spam will be deleted.
Please leave a name and either a valid web-site or e-mail address with comments. Comments left without either a valid web-site or e-mail address may be deleted.

Atom Feed
LiveJournal Syndication LOLcats feed

This page is powered by 

Blogger. Isn't yours?

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Argento Week: Mother of Tears 

So, Mother of Tears. I almost hate to review it, because here I am, setting up this week about how great Argento films are, and his most recent release is absolutely terrible. A lot of the blame can be chalked up to "sequel-itis." You see, in Suspiria, Argento set up this back-story about the Three Mothers: Mater Suspiriorum (the Mother of Sighs), Mater Tenebrarum (the Mother of Darkness) and Mater Lachrimarum (the Mother of Tears). The Three Mothers are extremely powerful witches who essentially created black magic because they got bored one day. In Suspiria, American dance student Suzy Banyon destroys Mater Suspiriorum pretty much by accident. In Inferno American music student Mark Elliot, while investigating his sister's mysterious disappearance, accidentally destroys Mater Tenebrarum. In Mother of Tears, however, American art restorer Sarah Mandy (which is hard to tell, because Asia Argento is utterly incapable of maintaining an American accent) accidentally releases Mater Lachrimarum from imprisonment, beginning a series of calamitous events that nearly destroys the world and results in the deaths of...well, pretty much every single character in the film save two.

Really, Dario? A demon in the camera? You're going to start the film with a "gotcha" scare?

The primary problem with the film is one of tone: there isn't one. Well, no, that's not entirely fair. There is no suspense to the film. There's none of the surreal dream logic that characterized Suspiria. Instead we get a disjointed series of events, punctuated by extreme gore. Yes, extreme gore, even by the standards of an Argento film, a director who has never been particularly squeamish about showing brutal and inventive methods of murder. It's almost as if Argento looked at the contemporary marketplace for horror films and decided to make something that would sell, not something that would actually cap off the story begun in Suspiria. Mother of Tears has more of Saw or Hostel to it than films like Tenebrae or Deep Red.

Never get blood on the mystic artifacts, kids.

Plot-wise, the film runs along rather confused lines. A mysterious casket is unearthed at a monastery. The casket, decorated with mystical sigils, is sent to an archaeological museum to be researched. While there, the casket is opened by two assistants, one of them Sarah, and the other disemboweled in short order by three demons while Sarah is chased through the museum by a monkey. She escapes only when a mysterious voice opens locked doors, allowing her to escape. The police, understandably, are skeptical of her story. Meanwhile, the contents of the casket are claimed by a witch-cult worshipping Mater Lachrimarum, and a wave of violence and murder begins to sweep through Rome. Sarah's boss/lover Michael tries to discover the history of the casket, finding that it contains the emblems of Mater Lachrimarum's power. Underage prostitutes begin following Michael as he comes closer to finding out who took the casket and he soon finds that his son has been kidnapped by witches. It's at this point that Sarah starts to come off as a bit of a dolt, as she refuses to see any connections between the casket, the waves of violence, and the murder of her co-worker.

The forces of Evil, or Lufthansa flight attendants?

More witches begin arriving in Rome as the cult's power grows and Sarah starts researching the appearances of trinities in occult history. Michael disappears while attempting to find an exorcist, prompting Sarah to search for him, cleverly outwitting the emo-est witches in the world in a train-station, escaping only by finding an inventive use for a sliding door and her previously unknown ability to turn invisible. Yes, really. And that's the point where any pretense of logic flees the film in search of greener pastures. Sarah tracks down an exorcist, only to get him killed. She gets help from a lesbian good witch, only to get her killed. She finds Michael, who's now a zombie. She finds an alchemist who knows the history of the Three Mothers and how to destroy them, only to get him killed. And all along, the ghost of her mother, a good witch who imprisoned Mater Suspiriorum, thus weakening her enough for a dancer to kill, gives her pretty much useless advice consistently too late to be of much use.

Witchcraft training looks remarkably like weird lesbian foreplay.

After a fairly interminable period of wandering around, Sarah and the one competent cop in Rome discover the hiding place of Mater Lachrimarum and her coven. Argento pulls out all the stops, here. He wants to create a Boschian nightmare of debauchery and depravity and evil, but the end result is...silly. Like an episode of Red Shoe Diaries crossed with Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose. And at the end of all things, the Mother of Tears is defeated...because she kept all her power in an object that burns easily. Of course, our heroine has to endure at least one more disgusting, humiliating scene before she's allowed to escape and enjoy her near-coincidental and almost completely accidental triumph. It's almost as if the witch-cult gave Sarah the power to defeat them, as frankly just about anyone could have given the nature of their destruction.

Yes, Asia, this is the crap in your dad's head.

Really, it's a downright tragedy that this is how Argento has chosen to end the storyline begun in Suspiria. In hindsight, neither follow-up was really necessary or contributed to the effectiveness of the original (nor, do I suspect, will the long-discussed remake of Suspiria that threatens to be made every few years).

Not even lots of shots of Italian men in suits can save this film.

Tomorrow: Suspiria gets the treatment it's always deserved!

Labels: ,


Featured Links

Blue Marble Bounty
Hallowed Tree Furniture
Jed Dougherty
John's Journal
Inner Light Community Gospel Choir

Latest Links

Stuff Geeks Love Armagideon Time Living Between Wednesdays Benjamin Birdie
Get Off The Internet
Ken Lowery

Comics Blogs

New Comic Weblogs Updates

Again With the Comics
All Ages
Artistic License
Batfatty Vs. the Chocodiles
Bear in the City
Benjamin Birdie
Blockade Boy
Broken Glass Makes Me Laugh
Bully Says
Chaos Monkey
Clea's Cave
Collected Editions
Comics Ate My Brain
Comics Fairplay
Comic Treadmill
Crisis/Boring Change
Dave's Long Box
Delenda est Carthago
Doctor K's 100-Page Super Spectacular
Eddie-torial Comments
Flesh-Head's Treehouse
Gay Comics List
Gay League
Milo George
Giant Fighting Robot Report
Heroes & Villains
House of L
House of the Ded
The Hurting
In Sequence
Inside Out
Invincible Super-Blog
Irresponsible Pictures
Jog-The Blog
Johnny Bacardi Show
Kid Chris
Lady, That's My Skull
Ledger Domain
Let's You and Him Fight
Living Between Wednesdays
Motime Like the Present
Near Mint Heroes
Noetic Concordance
Of Course, Yeah
one diverse comic book nation
Polite Dissent
Precocious Curmudgeon
Pretty, Fizzy Paradise
Prism Comics
Progressive Ruin
Project Rooftop
Random Happenstance
Random Panels
Read About Comics
Revoltin' Developments
Roar of Comics
Seven Hells
Silent Accomplice
Snap Judgments
So I Like Superman
Sporadic Sequential
Super Underwear Perverts
Suspension of Disbelief
Trickle of Conciousness
Vintage Spandex
Welt am Draht
When Fangirls Attack
Word on the Street
Written World
Yaoi 911
Yet Another Comics Blog

Comic Creators and Publishers

Bloodstains on the Looking Glass
Boom! Studios
Brit Doodz
Channel Surfing
Comic Book Heaven
Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba
Ferret Press
Tim Fish
Flaming Artist
Kaja Foglio
Steve Gerblog
Highway 62
Illusive Arts
Innocent Bystander
Ralf Koenig
The Less Said The Better
Steve MacIsaac
Man's Adventure
Grant Morrison
Mostly Black
Tom of Finland Foundation
Viper Comics
Mike Wieringo's Sketch Blog
X-Ray Spex

Web Comics

Adam and Andy
Best of Friends
Captain Confederacy
Deep Fried
Dork Tower
The Gay Monsters
Get Your War On
K Chronicles
Kyle's Bed and Breakfast
Pass Fail Studios
The Rack
Split Lip
Tom the Dancing Bug
The Web Comic List

Culture & Politics

Kevin Allison
Armagideon Time
Dario Argento
BBC News
Big Bad Blog
Brian's Drive-In Theater
Camp Blood
Captain Corey
Center of Gravitas
A Child of Atom
Commerical Closet
Paul Cornell
Crocodile Caucus
Culture Pulp
John Oak Dalton
Dark, But Shining
Dark Loch
Dave Ex Machina
Philip K. Dick
Digital Digressions
Feminine Miss Geek
Film Experience Blog
Final Girl
Fortean Times
Gay Gamer
Gay Porn Blog
Rick Gebhardt's World
Get Off The Internet
Good As You
Homefront Radio
Insufficient Homosexual
Joe My God
Chris Karath
Kung Fu Monkey
LeftyBrown's Corner
Little Terrors
Ken Lowery
Miraclo Miles
Mr. Dan Kelly
My Three Dollars Worth
No Sword
Phil Ochs
One Hundred Little Dolls
Or Alcoholism
The Outbreak
Outpost Gallifrey
Pop Culture Gadabout
Pulp of the Day
The Rude Pundit
Screw Bronze
Sock Drawer
Something to be Desired
Street Laughter
Stuff Geeks Love
Tales from Treasure Island
Terry Pratchett
This Boy Elroy
This Modern World
Toner Mishap
Trusy Plinko Stick
Turning the Light Around
TLA Video
Unnatural Devotions
Vintage Beefcake
Warren Ellis
Wax Banks
Where Threads Come Loose
Where Threads Come Loose-Links
Whiskey and Failure
Wisse Words
You Know What I Like?

© 2007 Dorian Wright. Some images are © their respective copyright holders. They appear here for the purposes of review or satire only.