You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Mother of Tears: The Third Mother

It has taken Dario Argento nearly three decades to complete his "Three Mothers" horror trilogy commenced by 1977's "Suspiria" -- his first, best and most widely popular post-giallo effort -- and 1980's visually striking if muddled "Inferno."

With: Asia Argento, Cristian Solimeo, Adam James, Moran Atias, Valeria Cavalli, Philippe Leroy, Daria Nicolodi, Coralina Cataldi Tassoni, Udo Kier. (English dialogue)

It has taken Dario Argento nearly three decades to complete his “Three Mothers” horror trilogy commenced by 1977’s “Suspiria” — his first, best and most widely popular post-giallo effort — and 1980’s visually striking if muddled “Inferno.” Whether viewers will think “Mother of Tears: The Third Mother” was worth the wait depends on if they are willing to settle for laughs over chills: This hectic pileup of supernatural nonsense is a treasure trove of seemingly unintentional hilarity. Although lacking helmer’s usual aesthetic panache, this “Mother” is a cheesy, breathless future camp classic. Theatrical sales look spotty; majority aud awaits via DVD.

A priest is puzzled by a 19th century coffin and medieval urn found secretly buried behind a church in un-consecrated ground. He sends the urn to a museum in Rome where archeology/art restoration intern Sarah (Asia Argento) and a colleague (Coralina Cataldi Tassoni) unseal the odd, symbol-covered box, discovering a dagger and three pagan-talisman statuettes.

While Sarah looks for a reference book, demons materialize and tear her friend apart. Spying the bloody aftermath, Sarah flees, pursued by a vexing little monkey.

Police are baffled by the crime and Sarah’s describing “three deformed people and a monkey” as the killers. Meanwhile, Rome experiences an explosion of suicides, murders and senseless violence. (One daft detail here is that despite such highly publicized violence, background citizens go about their daily business as usual.)

During patches of clumsy explication between myriad hyperventilating action scenes, experts tell Sarah the opened urn released Mater Lacrimarum aka “mother of tears,” last survivor of three ancient witches.

Once that lady’s on the loose (though thesp Moran Atias doesn’t get much screentime), umpteen witchy women plane, train, and drive to Rome to herald the coming “second age of witches.” They cackle and stalk Sarah, looking like couture models at a club’s Goth dress-up night.

Turns out orphaned Sarah is the daughter of a powerful white witch who died vanishing “Inferno’s” Mother #2. Now good mom (Daria Nicolodi) guides Sarah from the spirit world, urging her to develop her own nascent occult powers and combat the biggest Mother of them all.

After much bloodshed and hocus-pocus, the witch proves ludicrously easy to vanquish — pretty much on the level of Dorothy Gale dumping a bucket of plain old water to “melt” her own witchy nemesis.

Never much inclined toward plot credibility, clarity, playable dialogue, or rescuing his actors from hapless “cry for help” perfs, Argento really throws in the towel here. Result is so hard to take seriously that even the graphic gore incites laughs, since it only caps situations already absurd in conceit and execution. Pic has exactly one good shock; otherwise it’s just amusingly foolish.

Adding to the fun are the “Omen”-esque satanic choral bombast of Claudio Simonetti’s score, some low-grade CGI effects, and many gratuitous breast shots.

It’s fortunate thesp Asia Argento has proven her ability in films for other directors, because if she only appeared in her dad’s films, she’d be considered one of the worst actresses ever to land starring roles through nepotism. (Probably the last good lead perf in an Argento film was Jessica Harper’s in “Suspiria.”) To be fair, everyone here is made to look ridiculous by the tin-ear English dialogue and irrational character behaviors.

Prod package is lively and colorful, though the hallucinatory, saturated-color gorgeousness that marked Argento’s best work (notably the two prior “Mothers”) is not to be found.

Mother of Tears: The Third Mother

Italy - U.S.

Production: A Medusa Film production in association with Myriad Pictures. Produced by Dario Argento, Claudio Argento. Executive producers, Claudio Argento, Kirk D'Amico, Giulia Marletta. Directed by Dario Argento. Screenplay, Argento, Jace Anderson, Adam Gierasch, from a story by Argento.

Crew: Camera (color), Frederic Fasano; editor, Walter Fasano; music, Claudio Simonetti; production designers, Francesca Bocca, Valentina Ferroni; costume designer, Ludovica Amati; makeup, Paola Gattabrusi; special makeup f/x, Sergio Stivaletti; sound (Dolby Digital), Roberto Umberto Montesanti, Roberto Cappannelli; visual f/x, Lee Wilson, Lisa-Sepp Wilson, Anthem Visual Effects; assistant director, Leopoldo Pescatore; casting, Helena Palmer. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Midnight Madness), Sept. 7, 2007. Running time: 98 MIN.

With: With: Asia Argento, Cristian Solimeo, Adam James, Moran Atias, Valeria Cavalli, Philippe Leroy, Daria Nicolodi, Coralina Cataldi Tassoni, Udo Kier. (English dialogue)

More Film

  • Aquaman 2018

    'Aquaman' Crosses $250 Million at Foreign Box Office

    Things are going swimmingly at the box office for “Aquaman” as the Warner Bros.’ superhero flick hits another major milestone overseas. James Wan’s take on the ruler of the seven seas just passed $250 million internationally, and a weekend haul of $126.4 million from 43 territories brings its foreign tally to $261.3 million. “Aquaman” — [...]

  • Mortal Engines

    'Mortal Engines' to Lose More Than $100 Million at Box Office

    “Mortal Engines,” a steampunk fantasy adventure, is also an epic flop. With a budget of just over $100 million and tens of millions in global marketing costs, executives at rival studios estimate that the movie will lose upwards of $100 million. Some even project that number could float to more than $125 million. “Mortal Engines” [...]

  • Thierry Frémaux, José Luis Rebordinos Honored

    Thierry Frémaux, José Luis Rebordinos Named Honorary Argentine Academy Members

    BUENOS AIRES — In a ceremony just before Friday’s prize announcements at Ventana Sur, Cannes chief Thierry Frémaux and José Luis Rebordinos, director of the San Sebastian Festival, were named honorary members of Argentina’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, in a new move for the Academy, out through by its new president, Bernardo [...]

  • Nona

    Film Review: 'Nona'

    Twenty years and 12 features down the line, it’s still hard to peg the directorial sensibility of Michael Polish, with or without the presence of brother Mark as frequent co-writer and actor. His output has been all over the place, from early Lynchian quirkfests to the very middle-of-the-road inspirational dramedy “The Astronaut Farmer,” not to [...]

  • Pawel Pawlikowski "Cold War"

    Pawel Pawlikowski's 'Cold War' Wins for Best Film, Director at European Film Awards

    “Cold War,” Pawel Pawlikowski’s black-and-white romance set in the 1950s, scooped the prizes for best film, director and screenplay at the 31st edition of the European Film Awards on Saturday. “Cold War” star Joanna Kulig also won the award for best actress. Marcello Fonte, the star of Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman,” won for best actor. Armando Iannucci’s [...]

  • The Favourite Bohemian Rapsody Star is

    The Best Movie Scenes of 2018

    When we think back on a movie that transported us, we often focus on a great scene — or maybe the greatest scene — in it. It’s natural. Those scenes are more than just defining. They can be the moment that lifts a movie into the stratosphere, that takes it to the higher reaches of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content