DarkDreams.Org – the website dedicated to the cinema of Dario Argento – has a report by Alan Jones of the Italian premier of THE THIRD MOTHER, which took place on October 31 at the Adriano cinema in Rome:
As to the film itself, well, it’s not the conclusion to the SUSPIRIA and INFERNO trilogy any of us wanted to see. You know the story by now. The discovery of an ancient urn near a Viterbo cemetery awakens the cruel Mater Lacrimarum whose emergence unleashes apocalyptic social breakdown and mass murder in Rome. Art restorer Sarah Mandy can vanquish the evil nemesis if she listens to the guiding spirit of her mother and unlock her own hidden supernatural powers.
While it’s easy to criticise LA TERZA MADRE (occasionally different to the US MOTHER OF TEARS version) for what it isn’t rather than what it actually is – a gory, campy supernatural romp – the main problem with the film is simple. The layers of ethereal artifice given by lush cinematography and arch style to the prior two classic films lent their fractured stories a further atmosphere of palpable fever dream unreality. Stripped of that, and saddled with Fasano’s dull realism (his DO YOU LIKE HITCHCOCK photography was superior), the film’s equally episodic narrative comes off as contrived, crude and kitsch. Why on earth didn’t Argento use again the vivid colour palettes that made SUSPIRIA and INFERNO so fabulous to look at? He had the chance in Jace and Adam’s jewel-bleeding concept, but axed it as too fairytale instead of embracing its rich atmospheric possibilities.
THE THIRD MOTHER/MOTHER OF TEARS will open in Italy in over 300 engagements – large for that country. Its fate in the U.S. remains uncertain; although distibution rights have been picked up, a theatrical release -versus going direct-to-video – remains an open question.