I Dismember Mama (1974)

aka Poor Albert and Little Annie
Article 2991 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 7-16-2009
Posting Date: 10-22-2009
Directed by Paul Leder
Featuring Zooey Hall, Geri Reischl, Joanne Moore Jordan
Country: USA

A young man is kept in an institution after attempting to kill his mother. After he attacks a nurse, he is marked to go into an institution with higher security, but he escapes, intent on finding his mother and killing her.

I found Paul Leder’s MY FRIENDS NEED KILLING better than expected, but then, I was expecting the worst. If there’s any one thing that strikes me that this movie shares with that one, it’s that he liked to make psycho-killer movies that were a little bit off the beaten path. That doesn’t mean they work, and this movie features one of the most ill-advised sequences in cinema history; after having established the killer as an arrogant, hateful psychotic who terrorizes, humiliates and finally murders his mother’s servant, the movie then has the psycho fall in love with the servant’s nine-year old daughter, a circumstance which eventually leads to one of those romantic montages of the psycho and the little girl having fun around the town while a song plays on the soundtrack. This looks for all the world like an honest-to-God attempt to garner sympathy and affection for the psycho; I found this sequence utterly reprehensible, and if there’s any part of the movie where I would have been tempted to use the “Up Chuck Cups” that were handed out to ticket-buyers, this is it. It’s very cheaply made, though the musical score (which is often totally inappropriate) does its damnedest to cover up the fact that the direction is dull and lifeless. Even gorehounds will be disappointed at the small amount of blood in this one. In the end, it’s not horrifying or scary; just unpleasant and unaffecting.


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