• Mom (Scorpion Releasing) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Scorpion Releasing
    Released on: October, 2019.
    Director: Patrick Rand
    Cast: Brion James, Jeanne Bates, Mark Thomas Miller, Mary McDonaugh, Art Evens, Stella Stevens
    Year: 1991
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    Mom – Movie Review:

    Written and directed by Patrick Rand in 1991, Mom starts off with an interesting scene wherein a young pregnant woman sits down to rest on her suitcase. She asks a strange man clad in black with mirrored shades for a light, but he doesn't respond. Maybe because he doesn't think pregnant women should smoke? Nope, that's not it. He's biding his time. When the moment is right, he takes her out into the nearby desert and eats her.

    That man is Nestor Duvalier (Brion James) and, by impersonating a blind man, he has just rented a room from a kindly old woman named Emily Dwyer (Jeanne Bates), though not without raising the suspicion of her TV news reporter son, Clay (Mark Thomas Miller). When Nestor ‘turns' Emily and she turns into a flesh-eating monster herself, things obviously get… weird. Clay calls to check in on her but when he gets no answer he pays her a visit. This turns into a bit of a stealth mission where he trails Nestor and Emily and sees them kill and eat a homeless man in a back alley.

    As Clay starts to realize what's happened to his mother, he has to figure out what to do with her, all while keeping his wife Alice (Mary McDonaugh), who is great with child, safe and out of harm's way. This gets even more complicated when the cops, led by Lieutenant Hendrix (Art Evens), start to wonder who is behind all of these killings…

    The most interesting part of this movie is when Clay, drunk off of his ass, picks up a ditzy hooker named Beverly Hills (Stella Stevens) in a dive bar, takes her back to mom's place and essentially wrestles with the morality of feeding her to his mom or not. Beverly, also pretty drunk, is oblivious to what's actually going on but Clay really is trying to do the right thing and at the same time, take care of the woman who raised him. Moments like this are, sadly, fleeting in the film and that really brings it down. For this to work, we need to feel the connection between Clay and Emily and while on paper maybe it was there, in the film itself it's not. Jeanne Bates creates a nice enough old lady but she's just that, a nice old lady, there's no distinctive personality here while Mark Thomas Miller as Clay has trouble emoting. He's fine at playing frustrated but you never get the impression that there's any sort of parental bond here.

    The movie also has trouble finding its place in terms of tone. It starts off as sort of a weird, gory comedy. Brion James' character is actually a lot of fun to watch here and he's great in the part but once he's out of the picture, the movie takes a step down as it tries to become more serious. Is it a horror movie? Well, it's never scary despite some admittedly cool, albeit brief, monster effects and gore. Is it a comedy? If so, it's only occasionally funny. Is it a drama? The ending certainly plays it off that way but the eight-minutes that come before the last fifteen don't do a very good job of selling us on the seriousness of the matter. And that's a shame, because there are interesting ideas at work here. Clay should have had more soul searching to do here, he should have maybe spilled his guts to his wife to let us know what was bothering him and in turn to let her know. This would have given us some insight into the marriage he winds up having to try and save and into his relationship with his mother, but this never happens.

    What we wind up with, for reasons stated, are a few scenes that were probably meant to have legitimate impact but wind up falling flat. Which is basically the problem with the whole movie: it falls flat. It's nicely shot, it's well assembled if occasionally poorly paced, and it has good ideas but the cliché characters and performances, coupled with the problematic script, keep this one from hitting its potential.

    Mom – Blu-ray Review:

    Mom arrives on Blu-ray from Scorpion Releasing on a 25GB disc in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.85.1 widescreen. The transfer is quite good, though likely taken from an older master and not quite as strong as it would be had it been given a fresh new scan. Detail definitely surpasses the old MOD release that came out via MGM years back. Colors look nice and the image is stable, showing no noticeable print damage. There are also no problems to note with any compression issues, edge enhancement or noise reduction.

    Audio chores are handled by a 24-bit DTS-HD 2.0 mix, in English, and it sounds fine. Subtitles are provided in English. No problems with the audio at all, the track is nice and clean with crisp dialogue and properly balanced levels.

    The main extra feature on the disc is an audio commentary track featuring writer/director Patrick Rand. He starts off by talking about the locations where the opening scene was shot and introducing the cast, working with Winston the dog in the film, the editing featured in the picture and the system that was used for that, what the cast were like to work with, what it was like writing the picture, other locations featured in the film, how the MPAA originally gave the film an X-rating, and more. Unfortunately there’s a fair bit of dead air here and lengthy stretches where Rand simply narrates what’s happening on the screen for us.

    Actress Maray Ayres shows up in an interview that lasts ten-minutes. Here she talks about auditioning for the role of Carla in the film and how the director and producer also knew she was a professional dog trainer and, as they wanted a name for the role, they offered her the part of supplying and training a dog for the film. She then talks about how she acquired the dog for the film, and then got the role of Carla after all. She then talks about how she got along with some of the cast and crew, her thoughts on the film and more.

    Rounding out the extra features we get trailers for Night Visitor, Record City, California Dreaming, Hell Camp and Panga (but no trailer for the feature itself), menus and chapter selection options.

    Mom – The Final Word:

    Mom has its moments but never quite comes together the way that you want it to. Still, the film understandably does have a cult following and those in that group will appreciate the high definition upgrade provided by Scorpion Releasing’s Blu-ray for the film.

    Click on the images below for full sized Mom Blu-ray screen caps!