Sunday, January 1, 2012

Flesh Eating Mothers (1988)

Happy New Year! How about a new review to kick it off.

By the time 1988 rolled around, the Grindhouse theater as we knew it was pretty much dead. That of course, meant that you had to go to your local VHS rental for cheap, exploitative thrills, and there were more of those than there were Grindhouse theaters. Unfortunately, a lot of what you were getting now paled in comparison to what you got then, as we ended up getting an abundance of bad, low budget horror comedies. Movies like "Flesh Eating Mothers" for example.

In quiet suburbia, it seems the local mothers are acting strange. This isn't the usual "There's something bad going on in the suburbs" problem though-these ladies have acquired an appetite for...well, look at the title. Now, it's up to the local kids (who look older than teens-I mean some of them are clearly in their 30's) and a scientist who doubles as a mortician to save the day.

The biggest problem I have with "Flesh Eating Mothers" is how lazy it all feels. The whole thing is lifelessly directed and edited, without any thought given to things like characterization or plot development. The acting is bad even by the standards of straight-to-video schlock, and it's not the least bit shocking that few of the cast members went on to do anything else. I do have to give the movie props for being tasteless in it's depictions of violence, pretty much anything that's alive can become mom-chow. However, the gore is sloppy and unconvincing (save for a choice nose ripping), and even the biggest splatter fans might find their patience tested with this, though I will admit that the make-up effects on the mothers are shockingly good.

Also, there's ripe potential for some kind of moderately intelligent social satire, but the movie puts the ixnay on that. In fact, there's a weird pseudo-religious angle thrown in, in which it's said that the wave of cannibalism is the wrath of God punishing sinners. However, you then get more bloody cannibalism and a woman stuffing an entire sandwich down her mouth (which is grosser than any of the gore on display), which makes you realize how stupid the thing is, and that it's less a "Christian Horror" movie than it is another bad horror-comedy clearly inspired by Troma. That's fitting too, considering that it feels like the kind of forgettable movies Troma distributed back in the day.

I remember seeing the VHS cover of this back in the mid 90's. Looking back, it's a good thing I didn't bother to sit through this then, since I doubt even a 13 year old me would have enjoyed this kind of thing. Why? No nudity, though in this case, that's a good thing, as only one or two of the women here are attractive.

Rating: 1.5/10

This was the first directorial effort from James Aviles Martin, whose previously produced and co-wrote "I Was a Teenage Zombie" was a satire to 50's era B-Movies, as well as an homage to Troma. I've never seen it, though I do remember seeing the VHS box back in the day. His most recent work (2003) was a documentary called "Artwatch", so I doubt he looks back fondly at his contributions to the horror genre.

The songs in the movie were performed by Sherri Ehrlich (here performing under the pseudonym Sherri Lamar.) According to some research, it turns out that she now does folk music for kids under the name Miss Sherri. The things you learn while wasting your time.

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