Wicked Wednesday: Mother’s Day (1980)

I bought the 88 Films Blu-Ray release of Mother’s Day nearly a year ago and didn’t watch it until I was prepping it for the blog. I thought to myself, “Save it for next year’s mother’s day!” You know, to make things “contemporary”. I think this is what we call stupidity and (maybe, hopefully) dedication.

Mother’s Day was one of Troma Film’s first horror film. Prior, the company mostly focused on comedy. It was directed, co-written and co-produced by Lloyd Kaufman’s brother, Charles.

After a hippie initiation (or a growth opportunity graduation), a young couple accept a ride home offered by an elderly, kind lady. On the drive, the couple seem to have sinister intentions to kill off the woman. But the car breaks down. Before the couple can follow through with their plan, a pair of men attack. One beheads the boyfriend while the other grabs the girl and pulls her out of the car.

But the old woman gets to the girl first and strangles her to death. This is Mother – and she’s a total psycho.

In LA, Chicago and New York three girls (Trina, Abbey and Jackie) are getting prepared for their annual Rat Pack reunion. The former college roommates are going camping in the woods together. A head of them are plans for fishing, getting high and general reminiscing. Along the way, of course, they stop at a gas station where they’re warned off by a Harbinger of Doom. Nevertheless, the girls continue.

It initially seems to go as planned. They tell pointless stories (included with full flashback), fish, play stupid jokes on each other. But on their second night, they are kidnapped in their sleeping bags by the two men from the beginning.

Ike and Addley are Mother’s gross sons. They take their new girls to Mother’s cabin in the woods.

Trina and Abbey are strapped to gym equipment in an upstairs room while Jackie is brought outside to help the boys reenact scenes for their mom. After Ike grabs the camera, Addley beats Jackie and rapes her.

The next morning, Trina and Abbey are untied before the boys go out to exercise under Mother’s watchful eye. While the boys are occupied, Trina coaxes her friend to try and escape the inbred family.

Abbey lowers Trina down out the window of their room in a sleeping bag. They’re nearly caught when Addley steps under and doesn’t notice the bright orange bag above him. Once Trina finally reaches the ground, she lets Abbey out of the room and the two search for Jackie.

They discover a closet full of body parts and corpses in the boys’ bedroom, and eventually discover Jackie in a dresser drawer. The two girls attempt to make an escape with Jackie’s near-lifeless body and are caught by the brothers. But Ike and Addley let the girls go when they run to their mother screaming. Mother is in a panic, saying that she saw her sister, Queenie, lurking int he woods.

With their opportunity of escape handed to them, the girls make a run into the woods. Trina leaves the other two behind to grab the car, but when she finds it, it’s wreaked. She is then chased through the woods by Ike, who is on the girls’ trail.

Before Trina finds the girls again, Jackie dies of her wounds. But while Trina begins to feel like giving up, Abbey’s character begins to grow. For much of the film, she comes off as the weaker, more shy one. She insists that they need to take their revenge against the family. Or in her own words, “We’ll get those bastards.”

Meanwhile, at the house, Mother and Addley are hanging out. It’s revealed the Mother mostly keeps the boys around to protect her against Queenie. She’s convinced her sister is in the woods, despite being told she was shot. She tells Addley that she knows her sister is alive. She even has seen her eat wild animals.

By the morning, the two remaining girls are ready to take on Mother and her boys. They grab their weapons and carry Jackie’s corpse with them to the house. After a pep talk, the girls burst into the house and attack Addley.

The girls attack Addley with an axe and suffocate him. While trying to get rid of his corpse, Ike spots them and begins to strangle Trina. But Abbey steps in to help by pouring Draino down Ike’s throat. The girls then drop a television on his head and Trina finishes him off with an electric kitchen knife.

The last step is killing off Mother, whose dear boys only wanted to make her proud. Abbey suffocates Mother with a giant pair of inflatable tits while screaming at her, or rather her own mother – who she has to live with and despises.

With the family dead, the girls bury Jackie’s body. They begin to walk to civilization when Queenie leaps out at them, leaving the girls’ fates unknown.

None of Mother’s Day was too surprising. Much of it contains the building blocks to what became quintessential Troma. But much more cookie cutter than its predecessors.

As I get older, I’ve become increasingly uncomfortable with rape scenes (which are already meant to be uncomfortable to begin with). Jackie’s rape sort of soured the movie for me, which is strange because the film is quite satirical. I did love Abbey’s character development and having a group of friends at the centre of the film.

Mother’s Day is a bit more memorable than the average slasher, mostly because of Mother.

And speaking of mothers… American readers, Mother’s Day is this Sunday. Let this be your reminder. British readers, if you “just remembered” – you’re too damn late. My mom has always been this sort of Mother’s Day kind of mother versus a Troma kind of mom. I guess after watching this film, I count myself lucky.

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