Mother of Tears


by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

The Golden Age for Dario Argento films was 1975-1982. During that era the Italian master of horror wrote and directed his best films, including the first two-thirds of a horror trilogy about ancient witch covens.  The first of the two, Suspiria, is often regarded as Argento's masterpiece. Argento never finished the trilogy - until now, 27 years later.

The relocation of some ancient graves unearths a mysterious urn which is shipped to the Museum of Ancient Art in Rome. Two of the museum's employees open the urn, to their eternal regret, since the act of doing so unleashes potent ancient witchcraft - the last remaining sister of the three great witches from the 13th century: the mother of sighs, the mother of fuckers, and the mother of tears.

Maybe I forgot one or two of their names.

At any rate, if movies have taught us nothing else over the years, it is that mankind cannot combat ancient superstitions with knowledge and science. Only one thing is effective for such a purpose - other ancient superstitions. Bearing that in mind, it is quite convenient for mankind that one of the two museum employees who open the evil urn, Asia Argento (Dario's daughter), is the only remaining descendant of the ancient good witches who have battled the ancient evil witches throughout eight long centuries of history. It goes without saying that she is not aware that she is mankind's last and greatest hope or that she has great hidden reserves of magic. Fortunately, her dead mother is still around to advise her from time to time in the form of an Obi-Wan Kenobi style of apparition and/or "voice in her head." The part of Obi-Mom is played by Daria Argento, Asia's real biological mother.

Use the force, Asia!

Well, actually, now that I think about it, it wasn't really that convenient that Asia was the one who opened the urn, because even though our girl stands alone against the unlimited minions of the sorceress, she never actually uses any of those untapped magical powers she is supposed to have, except to elude some policemen who are pursuing her as a murder suspect, apparently in another movie being filmed nearby. When Asia finally meets Weepin' Mommy face-to-face, she easily runs the witch through with an old spike, even though the witch is protected by her infinite mystical powers and is surrounded by hundreds of her lackeys.

It just goes to show that ancient evil isn't really all it's cracked up to be. It's about as effective as ancient television programming. Just think of the 13th century as the Dumont Network of evil.

I guess you're not supposed to pay attention to the inconsistent plot, the bad acting, the silly dialogue, or the incredibly bad CGI in this film, but rather to concentrate on the things that Dario did well in the film, like the spooky cinematic tours of the haunted nocturnal urban streets, or Asia's crawl through the hidden world of catacombs and sewers beneath the city. That was indeed very atmospheric, but man does not live on atmosphere alone.

He needs nudity as well.

There is plenty of that. The Red-hot Sobbin' Momma does full frontal nudity, complete with shaved crotch and breast implants, features which were mandatory in the 13th century. Asia Argento shows her chest in a completely unnecessary shower scene. Silvia Rubino shows her chest when she is killed by some ancient evil dude for no particular reason other than that she is the lesbian lover of another woman who tries to help Asia escape. Now that I consider it, I guess that's all the justification really required by the minions of unspeakable ancient evil. Various and assorted other women show their breasts and occasional flashes of more in Ancient Evil Orgies, Ancient Evil Killing Sprees, and Ancient Evil Anonymous meetings (for those trying to kick their dependence on ancient evil).

Unlike many Dario Argento fans, I have liked some of his recent efforts, like Sleepless, Jenifer, and Do You Like Hitchcock?, but I just didn't find enough good elements in this one to compensate for all its glaring problems. Despite some plusses, it's a weak effort overall.


Awaiting DVD INFO







100 Rotten Tomatoes  (% positive)


6.2 IMDB summary (of 10)


No theatrical release in North America.


  • See the main commentary.


Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:


Barely watchable, and sometimes unintentionally hilarious.