I was fortunate enough to interview Italian horror legend Dario Argento a few hours before sitting down with his latest movie, Mother of Tears, and when I asked the director how his world premiere screening went down the night before, his face lit up. I'm paraphrasing here, but Mr. Argento said something very close to "An excellent audience. They were screaming, clapping and laughing at all the right spots." Flash forward to my press screening a few hours later and, yep, there was lots of appreciative laughter from the audience -- in between all the gasps, groans, shrieks, and walk-outs. (Yes, I counted at least a dozen walk-outs. I can only assume that these people know nothing about the graphic nature of Dario Argento's films.)
Had I not spoken to Mr. Argento prior to seeing (and yes, enjoying) The Mother of Tears, I might have wondered about all that laughter. I mean, this is supposed to be a harsh and nasty piece of apocalyptic horror, right? So the chuckles and muffled giggles had me a bit confused at first. And then I started to settle in with the tone of the flick, and I walked away entirely positive that Argento wanted the movie to be half spooky and half ridiculous. If I'm right and that was his intention, then I'd offer the opinion that Mother of Tears is the master's best flick since ... hell, since at least the mid-'80s.