26 September 2012

September 26th

Mother's Day (1980) directed by Charles Kaufman
Having already watched Father's Day, I think it was obligatory that I watch the original Troma parent's holiday movie as well.  This is the only Charles Kaufman movie I've seen -- there aren't many -- but I'm tempted to say he has more technical filmmaking talent than his brother Lloyd.  His shooting style is fun, with interesting angles and things framed nicely.  There are some shots that are terribly out of focus, but I'm guessing the cameraman was asleep at the switch here (there's only so much $115,000 can buy).  The screenplay is nicely constructed, with lots of not-too-obviously-placed setups that payoff by the end (using a sleeping bag to escape the dorm curfew, pretending to be stabbed with a knife, Abbey taking care of her own demanding mother).

Except, one bit of the script bothers me.  The focus of the early part of the movie seems to mostly be on Jackie.  Some time is spent establishing that she's always being walked over and never stands up for herself.  It seemed like this would lead up to her finding the inner strength to overcome her tormentors at the end of the picture, leaving the film a stronger person.  Instead, she dies and her companions have to extract revenge for her.  If this was what Kaufman wanted to do, he should've spent more time with Abbey and her sick mother.  That would've given more impact to Abbey going nuts while killing the hillbilly mom at the end.  Anyways, I can't figure out if Kaufman was trying to take the unexpected path through the story, or if Behind the Mask has permanently warped my perception of horror movie structure.

Watched: blu-ray from Anchor Bay.
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