I once wrote a review for Charles Kaufman’s MOTHER’S DAY. It’s a Troma style flick that actually predates THE TOXIC AVENGER, with slapstick and massive gore. It’s not a great flick, but you can certainly see the Kaufman DNA in it, as it fits right in line with all of Troma’s post-sex comedies. When I heard a few years ago that Darren Lynn Bousman, he of the first few SAW sequels and REPO: THE GENETIC OPERA, I wasn’t exactly enthused. I hate torture porn, the field in which Bousman excels, but on the upside, I figured it wouldn’t feature dreadful songs about organ thieves. Bousman’s remake went on the back burner for a long time, never a good sign for a film, so long in fact that the director’s 11-11-11 which he made after it was released while it was still in limbo. But now, MOTHER’S DAY is finally ready to meet its public. The good people in marketing at Anchor Bay films were kind enough to send me some promo material, which I’ll kindly share with you here.
Let me be straight. Anchor Bay sends me a lot of promo material, and I pass on most of it. Don’t get me wrong; I feel it’s good to promote new horror, especially if it’s quality. But by the time I got home from work a few hours past noon, you could find this stuff on 19 other sites, and by 4 p.m. you could find it on 197. I would only post this stuff for one of two reasons: it’s about a project I really believe in, and choose to support personally; or, there’s room for commentary. Bingo on the latter.
What I find interesting about Anchor Bay’s decision to release MOTHER’S DAY after all this time on the shelf is that it follows just about a month on the heels of Lloyd Kaufman promoting Troma’s newest project, Astron-6’s FATHER’S DAY. When I had my Low Budget Lunch with Lloyd he discussed both Bousman’s project and Astron 6’s feature, which he described as a “spiritual companion” to Charles’ original film. He also said that he offered input on Bousman’s version, but the people who bought the rights had zero interest. Lloyd chose to get people to make his own damn spiritual companion, and Bousman went forward making his own damn remake. Now they’re entering the marketplace within months of one another.
Gamesmanship between Anchor Bay and Troma? Perhaps. I haven’t seen either film, but if one did substantially better with fans than the other, there’d be bragging rights. But I’m not so sure this has anything to do with the timing of the releases. MOTHER’S DAY is going straight to DVD and Blu-Ray, while FATHER’S DAY is doing the roadshow, playing theatres in select cities as Lloyd tries to book the film in new territories (historically, this is always a problem for Troma, as the independent studio takes on the devil worshipping megaconglomerate theatre chains). If they were both hitting audiences in the same format, gamesmanship would make more sense.
Or maybe it’s the exact opposite. Maybe Anchor Bay is trying to take advantage of FATHER’S DAY and hoping that people will see their MOTHER’S DAY as a companion piece. Though plenty of horror sites have covered the film, there’s no clear explanation for why it’s been collecting dust for so long. Given Kaufman’s cache with the horror audience, this could boost sales for Bousman’s film and keep it relevant. Even given they’re released by two different companies and the link between them is only tangential, they’re likely seeking the same audience. Anchor Bay has gone out of its way to promote that Bousman’s film is a much gorier take than Charles Kaufman’s. And if you doubt Troma will match it in the grue department, just look at this trailer:
Not to be outdone, Anchor Bay sent me these pictures, and when Rebecca De Mornay is holding a gun at you, they’re obviously ready to up the ante:
They also sent me this nifty synopsis, which sadly does not mention that Briana Evigan was in SORORITY ROW. What gives, AB?
ANCHOR BAY FILMS PRESENTS
Rebecca De Mornay, Shawn Ashmore and Jaime King Star
In The Highly Anticipated Remake of the Troma Cult Classic;
Coming Home on Blu-ray™+DVD Combo and DVD May 8
Beverly Hills, CA – There’s nothing more comforting than the love of a Mother for her children. But beware any Mother when her children are threatened! And for a certain diabolical Mother and her vicious progeny, she’ll send anyone who threatens her brood straight to Hell itself!
Anchor Bay Films presents the ultimate “Mother” with the May 8th release of Mother’s Day on Blu-ray™+DVD Combo Pack and on DVD. With an all-star cast including Rebecca De Mornay (The Hand That Rocks The Cradle, Wedding Crashers), Jaime King (Red Tails, My Bloody Valentine, Sin City), Briana Evigan (S. Darko, Step Up 2: The Streets), Patrick John Flueger (Footloose, Brothers), Deborah Ann Woll (HBO’s “True Blood”), Lyriq Bent (Saw II-IV, Skinwalkers), Frank Grillo (The Grey, Minority Report) and Shawn Ashmore (the X-Men films, Frozen), Mother’s Day is the chilling and gorier remake of the 1980 Troma classic by the same name. SRP is $26.98 for the DVD, and $29.99 for the Blu-ray™+DVD combo. Pre-book is April 11th, 2012. Mother’s Day will also have an exclusive theatrical engagement in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago on May 4th in select theaters.
Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw II, III and IV) with screen story and screenplay by Scott Milam based on the original Mother’s Day written by Charles Kaufman and Warren Leight, Mother’s Day is a graphic remake of the Troma horror classic. After a bank robbery gone wrong, three brothers go home to hideout…only to discover that their Mother (Rebecca De Mornay) lost their house in a foreclosure. The new owners and their party guests become the depraved brothers’ unwitting hostages. Their sadistic Mother soon arrives and brilliantly takes control of the situation, ratcheting up the terror. As the hostages struggle desperately to survive the harrowing torture, they realize that there is nothing a Mother won’t do to protect her children.
The Mother’s Day Blu-ray™ and DVD feature an audio commentary with director Darren Lynn Bousman and actor Shawn Ashmore.
Notice Anchor Bay is high on touting the Troma name, and bragging about how they’ve anted up the violence. And hey, Rebecca De Mornay once romanced Tom Cruise on film, but now she’s ready to blow your brains out.
So are we in for a full-on battle between Mom and Dad? Fans of Bousman or Kaufman or both should hope that both these flicks are great examples of exploitation horror that carry the spirit of Troma. That would be a triumph not just for fans, but for the genre. Let’s hope this turns out to be the win-win I hope for.
Kind thanks to Anchor Bay for supplying Death Ensemble with the materials noted for use in this article.