Traumafessions :: Unkle Lancifer On Mother’s Day

This is kind of embarrassing but we’re all friends here right? I don’t really have to worry about my horror cred being destroyed anymore as that was pulverized beyond repair when I admitted to bawling at the end of THE BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA. Here is the thing…I once walked out of a movie because I was just too mortified to endure any more. I wasn’t a kid either, I must have been twelve or thirteen at the time. The movie was CHARLES KAUFMAN‘s MOTHER’S DAY and although it no longer has much of an effect on me at all, the truth remains, that movie scared me right out of the theater.

The year was 1980 and my older brother somehow snuck both me and my younger brother into the theater with him. (He either worked there or had a friend that did at the time.) Sneaking into the theater usually worked out fine for me and my little brother (like when we got to see THE BOOGENS) but this time we were both in way over our heads. All was fine at first, three pretty campers out in the woods alone, two crazy hick psychos and their lunatic mother out to get them, it wasn’t worse than anything else we were consuming on vhs on a nearly daily basis. Then suddenly out of the blue MOTHER’S DAY starts getting all weird and twisty with the rape action. Say what you will about FRIDAY THE 13TH‘s Jason Voorhees, he may have had a violent streak but he was always a gentleman.

Keep in mind that at this point I had already seen I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE and LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT and been rightfully disturbed by but not completely devastated by both. It wasn’t as if I was some Pollyanna or something. I thought I could handle just about anything. MOTHER’S DAY was just so damn perverse though. This wasn’t some SALLY STRUTHERS in A GUN IN THE HOUSE type of deal (yikes, now that I think of it that T.V. movie did a number on me too.) For some reason this particular sexual assault involved dressing the victim up as SHIRLEY TEMPLE, taking Polaroids of her distress and all under the watchful eye of a laughing elderly crone. Sorry folks, lil Unky Lancifer just had to bail! I took as much as I possibly could, looked over to my little brother (poor guy was about ten!) and then we both made a silent agreement that it was time to scram.

I didn’t try to watch MOTHER’S DAY again until I was in my twenties. By that time the movie, although still not a walk in the park, was at least partially redeemed by a clever level of satire that was previously lost to me and the fact that if you stick around you get to the part were revenge is served to the repulsive brothers and their not so sweet mom. So there, now it’s out there. I admit it, I walked out of a movie because it just scared me and horrified me too much to take one other second of it (every subsequent time I’ve walked out a movie it was due to a different emotion-boredom.)

I can’t say MOTHER’S DAY traumatized me for life, but it certainly ruined SHIRLEY TEMPLE movies for me for a long time after.

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13 years ago

This movie disturbs me because SHIT LIKE THIS COULD REALLY HAPPEN! Which is why I NEVER go camping!
I had almostt forgotten  this was a TROMA movie and someone brought it up the other day as “The Best TROMA Movie”. While I cant call it a ‘Masterpiece’ by any other standards…for TROMA it IS pretty good (They specialize in crap!)
I remember watching this movie with a boyfriend as a teenager. The end has One Last Jump Scare and when it happened he turned to me and said “God, that was cheesy!” and I said….nothing. I was too busy wetting my pants! I don’t know if that last BOO-YAH at the end worked for anyone else…but it worked for ME!

SPOILERS coming——

I speak of the evil Queenie, thief of ears popping outta the bushes to finish everyone left alive at the end of the movie off. Brrrrrrrr!


Happy Mudders Day All!

Amanda By Night
13 years ago

Don’t fret Uncle Lancifer, I have a very good friend who saw this as an adult and walked out halfway through because it was too upsetting for him. He’s never tried to see it again.

I love this movie. That last bit is CREEPY too!

13 years ago

Four words: Head in a birdcage.

I rented Mother’s Day with some friends during my freshman year of high school, and I too remember feeling like we were in over our heads. It wasn’t just another splatter film from the early ’80s — it was some seriously disturbing shiite.

And is it just me, or does one of the two sons look a bit like Squiggy from Laverne & Shirley? Come to think of it, doesn’t the other son have a jacket that says “Lone Wolf” on the back? (jk)

Dylan Donnie-Duke
Dylan Donnie-Duke
13 years ago

It is perfectly understandable that this would have bothered you.  A friend and I were discussing your site recently and we both found it remarkable how there were very few traumafessions about the sexual confusion of prepubescence in conjunction with seeing something like you describe here.
There are few movies with rape scenes that I will watch more than once, even now at the ripe old age of 37.  I know exactly where it traces back to.  My sister was watching a rape & revenge movie called “Lipstick” on our newly acquired cable.  I was probably 10 and of course I ended up watchin it with her.  I still remember the rape scene and, ugh.  My young mind was staggered.  I think that I thought that was what this sex thing all of the kids on the playground were talking about was supposed to be like.  Yikes!
Since then scenes of sexual violence have always been my limit.  I guess that’s a good thing.  The most notable exception is “A Clockwork Orange.”  I suppose the surrealism of that scene in how it was shot and the absurdity of “Singin’ in the Rain” being belted out by McDowell and his droogs just made it…. well, not watchable, but at least more art than realism.
Oops!  Just meant to write a quicky and this turned into a full-fledged traumafession.

Derek Obrien
13 years ago

What gets me is that this was put out by Charles Kaufman, Mr Troma himself, he of the OTT movies that nevertheless offset the hideous scenes in his other flicks (like Toxic Avenger) with goofy, absurdist humour. Was this one of their early efforts, one whose unrelenting grimness made them pull back for subsequent efforts?

13 years ago

I dont know about a guy looking like Squiggy but for YEARS I thought the chick who played “Sabrina” on CHARLIES ANGELS was one of the female victims! (Of course I was wrong).

To the person who hates rape flicks – Ever see DELIVERANCE? I made my sister watch that movie and she just about ran out of my house. She said it takes an evil mind to enjoy Ned Beatty getting buggered! (Yeah, if I was a bi-sexual hillbilly I think I woulda stuck it to Burt reynolds or John Voight….but I’m choosy like that!)

I have a little hangover (to much wine on Mothers Day) and my husband was channel-surfing and caught some of  CLASS OF NUKE EM HIGH. He was so excited! He was like “Watch this with me!” and I was like “Hard enough to enjoy TROMA on a good day! Watch that hung-over? No thank you!”  I kid because I love. TROMA is like WHITE CASTLE. Every once and awhile I indulge even though I know I’m not gonbna feel very good about it afterwords!

11 years ago

I think you meant ‘bawling’ … ‘Balling’ is a whole other thing!!

11 years ago

It really is a skeevy flick. But kind of fun. In a skeevy way.

Also, I don’t recommend bringing it to sleepovers for your friend’s 14th birthday party. Apparently, they totally don’t get the social commentary of it all.