August 20, 2012
Like many horror fans, I used to be a huge admirer of Dario Argento's work. From The Bird with the Crystal Plumage right up until Opera, I more or less enjoyed every one of his movies. For me, his masterpieces were Suspiria and Inferno, the first two chapters in the infamous "Three Mothers Trilogy". They were full of inventive ideas, startling use of colours, hypnotic music and some breath taking photography. However, by the time our Maestro came around to finally completing the trilogy with Mother Of Tears, the intervening years had made him a very different, arguably less focused film maker. Indeed, some may claim he just cared less about his work. The result, unsurprisingly, was a mess of poorly executed ideas which seemed to confirm the Argento we came to know and love was all but gone. So disappointed was I with the film, I never really thought I would ever see it again.
Recently however, having been looking through some of the fanedits I've missed, I came upon Dr Sapirstein's Mother of Tears:Redux and having read Neglify's and TMBTM's postive feedback, my interest was piqued enough to venture once more into the world of the Three Mothers.
The first thing to applaud here is the picture quality. It looks absolutely gorgeous on the MKV version I viewed. Not only that, but the colour correction work here by Dr. Sapirstein is so impressive, that you would never ever think the film had looked, or indeed should have looked any different. I would have perhaps pushed the envelope even further and used more of the colour palette which was so startling in both Suspiria and Inferno, but admittedly this would not be easy, as despite the wonderful picture quality on show here I'm afraid Federic Fasano's photography still comes across as "flat" at times.
Sonically, the DTS mastered track sounded nice and clear, but I do wonder about the levels which were administered during the mix, as occasionally my speakers began to crackle a little (particularly during the first murder scene). Now, either it's my speakers at fault (which is possible) or the audio gain was not limited to the maximum -3db. I'm not sure which, but it was slightly annoying to have to turn down the volume during some scenes. Other than that however, the use of music from Inferno and Suspiria works a charm in making Mother of Tears feel more part of the trilogy. Before this, it always felt like an imposter, trying desperately to fit into the worlds of Argento's former work. Hearing Goblin's hypnotically scary Suspiria theme and Keith Emerson's funky Inferno music, means that's no longer the case, at least musically!
The choice of scenes to cut were more or less perfect, and allows the film to get on with the task at hand. True, as TMBTM has pointed out, some trimming of the gore scenes would not have gone a miss, but I can live with them. Despite this however, as the movie headed towards the climax of what should be an epic ending of either the world, or the world of the dark witches, the problems of the original movie truly rear their ugly head for all to see. The original ending was horrible beyond words, so the task at hand to salvage this was more or less impossible. Dr. Sapirstein makes an attempt to use the voice-over by the architect Varelli, which I believe is from Inferno, but I'm afraid it not only screams "edited", but is still wholly unsatisfying.
Having said that, Mother of Tears:Redux is still an excellent piece of fanediting. This was a truly awful movie beforehand, so the fact that it's now been turned into a watchable, entertaining albeit flawed viewing experience, well I can not heap enough praise onto Dr. Sapirstein's shoulders. The editing is flawless, even taking into account the rushed feel of the ending, and whilst I still don't believe it deserves to belong in the same trilogy which has Suspiria and Inferno as it's predecessors, it nevertheless comes highly recommended as a lesson to all faneditors who believe a movie is unsalvageable.
Shame you couldn't improve Asia Argento's performance though ;)