23 May 2011

Movies: Ed and His Dead Mother

Ed and His Dead Mother (1993) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106792/

Comedy/Horror

We first meet Ed as he retains a lawyer and goes to court for killing his mother. Ed insists he didn't kill his mother because she was already dead, although he admits to severing her head.  As the trial gets under way we hear the story, which starts about three months earlier.
Ed's mother died about a year ago (remember - this is three months before the trial). Ed is approached by a man representing a company (Happy People, Ltd) that can give Ed's dead mother life, for the modest fee of $1000. Ed, ever the mama's boy and still grieving her loss, gladly accepts the deal.
Now we watch the hi-jinks as Ed and his uncle deal with Ed's mother and her increasingly wacky ways, the recently released convict that Ed's mother put in prison, the tantalizing neighbor across the street that's taken a shine to Ed, and the company that gave life to Ed's mother.

Stars Steve Buscemi as Ed, Ned Beatty as Ed's Uncle Benny and John Glover as the Happy People Ltd  rep.  Glad to see John Gries make an appearance as the revenge-hungry convict (he played Uncle Rico in Napoleon Dynamite and Ben's father in Lost).  Also was a kick to hear They Might Be Giants playing over the credit scroll.

I'm not sure how this film gets billed as horror. Sure, the mother starts off dead and gets reanimated. But there isn't anything remotely scary about the film, so calling it a horror film is being generous. Plus as far as comedies go, it maybe hits 'amusing' at times, so it's also generously lumped in the 'comedy' category. The cast does fine for the most part, although the mother is probably played the most exaggerated. Buscemi and Beatty do fine in their roles - they play 'em straight and allow whatever humor in the script to happen on its own.

I'd suppose this film is amusing at times because it is absurd. The plot is absurd, the characters are absurd (even when played straight).  About the only reason I watched the film is it's from 1993, has Buscemi and Beatty, and I heard that the box of corn flakes on the breakfast table were HyVee corn flakes. And they were.

Not a great movie, not exactly terrible.  Easily forgettable.  I wouldn't recommend seeking it out unless you're driven by curiosity, as I was, or bored (as I was) and it happens to be on.

I did notice this is the last film Jonathan Wacks directed, and the last film written by Chuck Hughes.  Now I'm not saying this film stomped their careers dead, I'm not implying this film flushed their careers into the crapper. I'm just noticing that coincidentally it was the last film for both of them as director and writer.  I also noticed it had a $1.8mil budget, showed on ONE screen, pulled in $673 its opening weekend and grossed a whopping $1,097.  Smells like a vanity or write-off production with those numbers - that's what, a -99.9% return on investment? Yeesh.

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