Directed by Dario Argento. With Asia Argento, Daria Nicolodi, Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni and Udo Kier. Distributed by Myriad Pictures. 1 hour, 38 mins.
No MPAA rating
(violence, gore, nudity, adult themes). Playing at: Ritz at the Bourse.
A gloriously tacky horror movie with an inclination toward the occult, The Mother of Tears hails from the Italian schlockmeister Dario Argento, who photographs his Euro movie star daughter, Asia Argento, with something more than paternal pride. Yes, gratuitous nude shots in the shower are included.
Set in modern-day Rome, where everyone speaks English (the cops with Italian accents, Asia's boyfriend with a phony British one), The Mother of Tears starts when two foxy museum workers open a mysterious 13th-century urn, bringing life to a trio of dusty totems. The little talismans instantly grow to monstrous size and seem to be in the company of a menacing monkey.
One museum worker is immediately disemboweled, while the other - Sarah Mandy, played by Ms. Argento - goes running through the museum, trying to escape, thoughtfully slipping off her high heels first.
The final installment of filmmaker Argento's "Three Mothers" series - begun with 1977's Suspiria and continued with 1980's Inferno - this rollicking scarefest boasts roving bands of leggy witches (demonic escapees from a Fashion Week runway?), blundering priests, and voices from Beyond, including that of Daria Nicolodi, who plays Sarah's good-witch mom and who helps her realize that she, too, is a saucy sorceress. Sarah, it turns out, has the power to vanquish all the Evil that has popped out of the box and spread around Rome like a plague.
A plague of bad acting, that is.
- Steven Rea