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By Fred Beldin | May 26, 2005

It’s good to see this minor classic is still in circulation, grossing out new generations of impressionable youngsters more than fifteen years after its original release. The new DVD edition from Elite suggests “Flesh Eating Mothers” to be in the tradition of “Shaun of the Dead,” a nice try from the ad department, but the tag line is not entirely inappropriate. The only real connection is that both films are superior examples of an easily botched sub-genre, the cannibal gore comedy. That’s not to bash the quality of venerable, time-honored institutions like “Microwave Massacre,” “Dead Alive” or flabbergasting oddities like “The Undertaker and His Pals,” only to recognize that too often these entertainments are limp, laugh-challenged gumbos of lame gags and gratuitous rubber appendages. In this case, “Flesh Eating Mothers” delivers everything that its ridiculous title suggests, fast-paced bad taste gore comedy played with poker faces and juicy excess, nowhere near the heights that “Shaun of the Dead” scaled but still good enough to bring honor to its ilk.

A mutant strain of venereal disease disrupts the family unit in small town suburbia, thanks to the adulterous entanglements of several bored housewives. The virus is benign in men, but it’s a different story for any women who have given birth in their lifetime. For some reason, they develop an overwhelming craving for human flesh, attacking sons, daughters and husbands without pity. The moms grow stronger and hungrier, and are ruthless in tracking down and devouring their prey. A group of teenagers bands together when their mothers attack, and with the help of a pair of research scientists, they fight to cure their moms of the deranging virus before they have to be destroyed for the sake of mankind.

The gore is taken seriously, and if the effects are a bit plastic at times, the sheer overkill of the imagery more than makes up for it. The cast is the usual batch of community college theatre majors with more energy than talent, but director James Aviles Martin has them play each scene with refreshing restraint, cutting the camp and letting the anarchic absurdity of his premise do the work. “Flesh Eating Mothers” is some quality trash, worth repeated viewings whenever like-minded connoisseurs drop by, a stomach-churning laugh riot perfect for Mother’s Day, or any day.

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