Patty McCormack’s Homicidal Mother

Mommy and its sequel Mommy’s Day were disposable schlock made for video shelves back in the 1990s. The hammy, melodramatic thrillers rode actress Patty McCormack’s (The Bad Seed) portrayal of an overbearing-mother-gone-homicidal for all that was worth.

Director Max Allan Collins crafts overwrought tales of murder that ultimately became formulaic touchstones for the cheesy thrillers later produced by Lifetime. Neither movie has aged particularly well, having been superseded by better developed thrillers on cable television over the years.

The cast includes a number of recognizable names, though their acting is no great shakes outside of star Patty McCormack. Mommy features Jason Miller (The Exorcist), Majel Barrett (Star Trek), Mickey Spillane and former scream queen Brinke Stevens.

Mommy’s hammy acting and cheesy dialogue are soap opera worthy

Widowed Mrs. Sterling (Patty McCormack) is a deranged mother willing to do anything for her precious young daughter, Jessica Ann (Rachel Lemieux). A Stepford mother that believes her daughter is perfect, that includes killing Jessica Ann’s school teacher over trivial issues. That careless murder leads to a series of complications that soon envelops other hapless victims as Mrs. Sterling spirals out of control. Mickey Spillane plays a gritty cop investigating the mysterious deaths occurring around the innocent Jessica Ann.

Max Allan Collins first made a name for himself as a successful mystery writer but his uneven script is anything but a mystery. Patty McCormack’s deranged character is the villain, demonstrating a remarkable lack of self-awareness. Most of the tension and suspense builds around sweet little Jessica Ann, who begins wondering about her mother’s disturbing behavior.

The hammy acting and cheesy dialogue are soap opera worthy. Mommy and its sequel aren’t high art. They are thrillers about a ruthless mother that will kill to get her way with major issues. The biggest issue that sticks out is the reliance on Jessica Ann’s annoyingly overused internal monologues. It’s a terrible storytelling device having a small child narrate so much of her thinking. The sequel is ridiculously contrived, bringing most of the original cast back by hook or crook.

Neither thriller are great films. Mommy and its sequel Mommy’s Day are cheesy attempts that should have remained on VHS. A couple of interesting kills aren’t enough to save their fate.

Video

Oh boy – another checkered VCI release on Blu-ray. The double-feature release includes both Mommy (1995) and Mommy’s Day (1997) in upscaled 1080P presentations on a single BD-50. VCI has never been known for videophile quality transfers and the label uses standard-definition transfers for both movies. Both films are encoded in AVC, presented in 1.78:1 aspect ratios.

The upscaled transfers resemble soft DVD picture quality. Mommy and its sequel share the same basic cinematography; there aren’t major differences in their aesthetic and lighting. Colors are fairly bright and stable. Black levels are consistent.

Flat and lacking true Blu-ray definition, improved compression transparency is this set’s primary benefit. The video is riddled with limitations leftover from the dated video transfers, almost certainly made during the pre-HD era.

Audio

Both movies have adequate-sounding 2.0 PCM soundtracks. Clean fidelity and decent sound design produce fine audio quality. The low-budget thrillers aren’t action vehicles but occasionally offer more involved sound elements. These are serviceable soundtracks without notable problems.

Optional English subtitles appear in a white font for both movies.

Extras

VCI’s three-disc set includes one Blu-ray and two DVDs. Mommy and its sequel Mommy’s Day are together on the same BD. The only actual special features on the BD are commentaries for each movie. The older video supplements can only be found on the DVDs.

Audio Commentaries for Mommy and Mommy’s Day – Director Max Allan Collins and his cinematographer give okay discussions for each film.

Leonard Maltin On Mommy (03:12 in SD)

Mommy: Trailer (03:21 in SD)

Mommy Bloopers (18:00 in SD)

Mommy PBS Documentary (08:15 in SD)

Mommy’s Day – Patty McCormack Interviewed by Max Allan Collins (17:17 in SD)

The Making of Mommy (28:42 in SD)

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

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Patty McCormack stars as a mother willing to kill anyone that gets in her way in these cheesy b-movie thrillers from the 1990s.

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