15 June 2009

Flesh Eating Mothers

Forbes Video doesn't want you to forget who the tape belongs to.

United States - 1988
Director – James Aviles Martin
Academy Entertainment, 1989, VHS
Run time – 1 hour 30 minutes

Preceded by trailers for One Man Force, and Murder Story, Flesh Eating Mothers benefits from a great name, but the inclusion of action movie trailers makes me think the distributor wasn’t sure what to do with this movie, which usually means the film itself is every bit as confused.

The opening scene is good though. A hunter running through the woods notices some blood dripping into the snow and looks down to find only the ragged stump of an arm. No explanation is given, so I guess that was the expository question that will be answered by the remaining plot.

Several average lookin’ middle-agers breathe heavily and congratulate each other after a particularly sweaty adultery session. The guy, Roddy runs off home to make an appearance but soon leaves his unsuspecting wife at the house for a jog over to another lonely waiting housewife. This guy must have some serious coital trapeze act because he’s ugly as sin but all the married ladies in the neighborhood are tripping over eachother to ride the Rod. Checking up on the health of the ol’ rod, Roddy stops at the wood-paneled VD clinic to ogle the assistant and exchange lurid sex tales with the doctor who posts various amusing VD related signs on the wood paneled wall behind his desk.

In one of the few creepy scenes in the film one of the adulterous moms discusses the production of veal with her son while trying to force him to drink more milk. I turned to my companion and said, “Hey, maybe this is a metaphor for women’s liberation from the domestic prison” or something just as wishful.
“This film is barely a single entendre” my comrade in pain replied.
How right he was.

But honestly there are a few satisfying moments, like when the mom eats her baby, and when the battered wife splits her face open into a giant toothy jaw and eats her alcoholic husbands arm off. It’s badly shot and badly edited, but it’s fulfilling, really it is. They are just housewives (and amateur actresses,) and it loses it’s novelty really quick, particularly with the addition of forehead slappingly tedious “comedic” dialogue. The addition of the mother’s various high-school aged children banding together to fight the epidemic was supposed to add some sympathetic protagonists and action/tension I reckon, but the closest it got was the cryptozoological spectacle of one lovesick hydrocephalic girl and her extremely greasy sleazoid boyfriend.

Fortunately the 3 foot tall mortician adds a little comedic interest. He isn’t convinced by the asshole VD doctor’s dismissal, and after doing an autopsy on one of the mothers, discovers some unusual virus in “the vaginal passageway”. This guys dialogue is moderately funny, and it helps that most of it is delivered alongside the 7 foot tall VD docs hot assistant, but it’s not enough to save the movie. The physical effects had a lot of potential for menace, and if you really pushed it, maybe some humor since the mothers looked like Killer Klowns. The feel good ending, chock full of hugs as it is belies an inability (lack of budget?) to explore the possibilities of the film. It’s like a domesticated cannibal snow globe where most of the real flesh eating occurs off-screen and the wink at the end lets everyone off the hook.

This British VHS box art is hilarious thanks to use of the word "mum" in the synopsis.

I don't remember seeing DVD's available when I bought my tape, but there are at least three variations of the same cover art.

And finally, the defunct Austrian rock band Flesh Eating Mothers.

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