FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE...beware yon spoilers!

Oct 4, 2006

Day 4- Mama...just killed a man...

I love the 1956 classic flick The Bad Seed.

No, really, I love The Bad Seed. Anyone who doesn't is a jerk.

I’ll get around to writing about it one of these days…I have this weird tendency not to write about my favorite movies because…well, I don’t know why. I always figure, like I said above, that I’ll “get around to it one of these days”. Maybe when I'm old and infirm, close to my deathbed. My helper monkey Otis can type as I dictate my thoughts on Killer Workout at long last.

Whilst perusing the ‘horror’ shelves at Ye Olde Videoe Store yesterday, wondering to myself if there was anything good and scary left out there or if it was all simply low-budget straight-to-video crap, I spotted Mommy (1995) and immediately felt as if a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.

Don’t get me wrong- Mommy kind of IS low-budget straight-to-video crap, but I DON’T CARE.

This movie, you see, is an unofficial sequel to the aforementioned The Bad Seed and stars the bad seed herself, Patty McCormack. Couple this exciting news with my unabashed love of this horror/thriller sub-genre (see my Stepfather II review from last year's Shocktober!) and the only way I wasn't gonna love Mommy is if the DVD somehow turned into a deadly sawblade or something and started rolling around my house cutting up my cats and my prized Hummel collection. It didn’t, so don’t worry. Hot Cocoa is just fine, and so is Hummel Bells on High.

The she still looks awesome and I wish she was in every movie Patty McCormack stars as the unnamed, titular mommy of the precocious but praise Jebus not cloying Jessica Ann (Rachel Lemieux). Mommy sets about disposing of anyone standing in the way of her getting what she wants. That bitch teacher didn’t select Jessica Ann for Outstanding Student of the Year? So long, bitch teacher! Like any good psychopath, Mommy also “takes care” of any witnesses she may have left behind, like that white trash janitor who knows Mommy killed that bitch teacher and thought she was so big and totally threatened to tell the police.

Jessica Ann is no dummy, however, and very quickly realizes that Mommy might...be up to something. Something like killing! Everyone around her seems to die- including a line of wealthy “daddies”. Unfortunately for Jessica Ann, however, Mommy decides to go on the lam…and before she splits for good, she needs to take care of just one more loose end…

Writer/director Max Allan Collins (CSI, Road to Perdition) has crafted a fun little tribute to The Bad Seed that succeeds despite its ultra-low budget and noticeable lack of violence. The ‘kills’ are incredibly tame and there’s really no violence shown on screen, even though Mommy can do some major damage with her bare hands alone.

Collins utilizes absurdly dramatic lighting in places to bring out some cheeky humor- check out the way Mommy dispatches a jar of strawberries with those eeeevil hands!

Movies like Mommy succeed or fail based almost entirely on the performances of the leads- think of Terry O’Quinn’s fantastic performances in Stepfather and it's sequel, or Rebecca DeMornay’s icy nanny kill machine in The Hand That Rocks the Cradle. Because they’re folks capable of horrendous acts and will kill anyone in their immediate vicinity should the need arise but who seem totally normal when they're not...you know, killing, the lead actor or actress needs to be able to play "nice" and then turn psychotic on a dime…and it only works well if the actor or actress can keep the performance balanced right on the line between serious and campy. Patty McCormack proves she’s only gotten better at this type of role than she was 50 years ago playing sweet-n-psycho little Rhoda I’ll say it again, I wish she was in every movie.

McCormack is supported by a strong cast that includes Jason “Father Damien” Miller, B-Movie Queen Brinke Stevens, and Mickey “it’s Mickey frickin’ Spillane!” Spillane. In her screen debut as young Jessica Ann, Rachel Lemieux really holds her own. I need to track down Mommy 2 ASAP, I tells ya.

Keep my predisposition to seriously enjoy this type of flick in mind before you decide whether or not to give Mommy a chance. It’s a virtually violence-free cheapie thriller. Like I said, this simply doesn’t matter to me…but these…insightful comments from the IMDb boards will give you other opinions- quite the opposite opinions to mine- to chew on:

lequaietermaine: i think that this movie is quite possibly the worst movie that i have ever seen except perhaps for mommy 2. the murders in this movie are really quite pathetic i mean it is so utterly pathetic the way the first two people are killed. that old bat is pathetic. goodnite new york.

Anikan:
yes you are quite right this is plain garbage

witty_pseudonym:
I don't think this could have possible been worse. So cheap, so ludicrouse, there was not one positive to the whole film.

jeff-1250: I cannot even begin to describe how woeful this one is, well okay l'm reviewing it for an external site so guess l will be doing just that. Was it just my copy or is this movie too dark to actually see what's going down in places ?*

There you go, folks. I give it 6.5 out of 10 now the world don’t move to the beat of just one drum…what might be right for you, may not be right for some! A man is born, he’s a man of means. Then along comes two, they got nothin’ but some dreams, but they got…diff’rent strokes. It takes diff’rent strokes to move the world! Everybody’s got a special kind of story…everybody finds a way to shine! It don’t matter that you got—not a lot! So what? They’ll have theirs, you’ll have yours and I’ll have mine…and together we’ll be fine! ‘Cause it takes…diff’rent strokes, it takes…diff’rent strokes…it takes…diff’rent strokes to move the world! MMMM!s.




*note: there is no "going down" anywhere in the film.

8 comments:

Bill Walsh said...

That's hilarious that Spillane is in that movie. Max Allan Collins was a huge fan, and eventually became a good friend of Spillane's. When Spillane died, Collins (whom I coincidentally walked past on Saturday) wrote a very nice appreciation of him. Someplace I can't remember... Sorry about that...

CRwM said...

Killer parental figures are cinema gold, man. I do not know why. I only know it is so.

I recommend that dead-pan cannibalistic fun of Parents. Think: Wonder Years if the mother served long pig instead of meatloaf. Good stuff.

Josh DeSlasher said...

It's nice to see someone else saw a good flick today (I watched the movie Deep Red).

I'm still wondering which films are better though. The 50s-60s, or the 70s-80s? They're both full of "yays" and "nays", but I'm leaning towards 70s-80s, as it's more familiar to me.

But, I'll take your word for it, and try to check out Bad Seed. Yay for Stacie's reviews!

-bodyhorror.blogspot

Amanda By Night said...

I've been curious about this movie. Brinke Stevens loved making this movie... She doesn't get to do a lot of good films anymore, which is sad...

They played this movie on Lifetime once for Halloween, and I remember it looked so budge, I skipped it. Stupid me...

Patty McCormick was WHITE HOT as Jeffrey Tambor's wife in The Ropers!

Stacie Ponder said...

Bill- That's a nice anecdote about Spillane. I really enjoy Collins's work whenever I come across it...and he's got alot of work out there was you take notice of his name.

crwm- For some reason, I've never seen Parents! Man, what a fun marathon it would be to watch every familial horror flick you can come up with in on sitting...

Josh- The Bad Seed is definitely a classic! My favorite era is undoubtedly 70s-80s though. There's just so many great movies from that period...and I'll be keeping an eye on your blog.

Miss Amanda- Brinke was great in this movie, and it was sort of nice to see her play a normal role- she's just...the sister. The somewhat dowdy sister, even! Man, does she have a great voice.

This movie IS very low-budget, but not inept low-budget, you know? The sound quality is always a-ok (where most low-budget flicks immediately fall apart), the acting is great, there are inventive camera angles...it's just obviously made on the cheap, but I think it succeeds within those confines. The kills, though, are wicked tame.

You know who else Patty McCormack played? I was shocked! SHOCKED I tells ya, to read "Evelyn" on Dallas...the woman who tried to tempt Mitch away from Lucy!! She looks much better in Mommy...

theron said...

Has it really been 50 years since "The Bad Seed" came out? Sheesh, I'm getting old. I used to see it often on Saturday daytime TV in the late 60s, when I was a kid. Little Rhoda was a role model. She was a kid who knew how to get what she wanted...

SikeChick said...

I too love The Bad Seed, but mostly because of all the over-acting by just about everyone in the movie. It is one of my guilty pleasures.

David Lee said...

Wasn't there a sequel to this? Let's check the imdb.

Yup. Mommy II: Mommy's Day. More bad seed goodness.