Wednesday, January 27, 2010


(Jim Henley, 1985)
Unlike most horror films this obsessed with the protagonists' asses, this amazingly lively gothic really does retain a female-friendly point of view on its profoundly un-female-friendly world: Suzanne Delaurentis may remove her bikini top, but then she stuffs it in a molotov cocktail and blows up her assailant's boat. Fresh out of juvenile prison, best buddies Delaurentis and film buff Linda Singer rob their pimp and move into an isolated, ramshackle marina to start a new life. Soon they're menaced by a creepy redneck sheriff and the titular mama's boy, and you can cut the sleaze with a knife. But these foul-mouthed women are so startlingly strong, likable and in-charge that the movie has to introduce a rather perfunctory third female character to serve as human punching bag - these two are having none of it. Where many rural-nightmare movies present the thick hicks as an unknowable zombie army, here the good old boys are remarkably human; the filmmakers have a lot of fun playing with our preconceptions of friends and enemies, and almost all the reversals make sense in context. As usual there are a few yawning gaps in logic and motivation, and as a firsthand study in psychotic misogyny this can get a little heavy. But when Junior's mama turns out to be played by some nerd in a wig, it doesn't feel cheap - it feels like a gift to the audience, a good-hearted alienation effect to keep all the ranting about 'cunts' at a generous arm's length.

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