Mommy’s Day (1996)


aka Mommy 2: Mommy’s Day

USA. 1996.


Director/Screenplay – Max Allan Collins, Producer – James K. Hoffmann, Photography – Phillip W. Dingeldein, Music – Richard Lowry, Special Effects Supervisor/Production Design – Paul Steffensen, Makeup Effects – Lisa McDougall. Production Company – M.A.C. Philms/Eagle Entertainment/The Television Syndication Company, Inc/The Roan Group


Patty McCormack (Mommy), Rachel Lemieux (Jessica Ann Sterling), Brinke Stevens (Aunt Beth), Paul Petersen (Paul Conway), Gary Sandy (Sergeant Anderson), Michael Cornelison (Dr John Price), Sarah Jane Miller (Jolene Jones), Mickey Spillane (Attorney Neal Eckhardt), Pamela Cecil (Glenna Cole), Paula Sands (Herself), Todd Eastland (Jerry), Mark Cockrell (Skating Instructor)


Mrs Sterling is about to be executed by lethal injection. She manages to make an escape in the execution chamber – just as she is granted clemency. One year later and she is released back into the community after she agrees to be implanted with an experimental device that controls her violent behaviour. However, her daughter Jessica Ann is now living with Mrs Sterling’s sister Beth whose husband Paul Conway wrote a book about the Mommy Murders. Beth gets a court order to keep Mrs Sterling from coming near Jessica Ann. Mrs Sterling breaks the order anyway. Someone then starts killing the people who get in Mrs Sterling’s way. Mrs Sterling is adamant that it is not her and could not be due to the implant – but all evidence points to her being the killer.

Novelist Max Allan Collins had minor success as director with the independently made psycho-thriller Mommy (1995) starring Patty McCormack. Max Collins, Patty McCormack and most of the original cast – Rachel Lemieux, Brinke Stevens and Mickey Spillane – and production crew return with this sequel.

Mommy was a routine psycho film. On a technical level, it suffered badly from amateurish photography and lighting. The good news is that Max Allan Collins has improved his technical skills somewhat and Mommy’s Day is a good deal more professional looking than its predecessor was. Collins’ writing has sharpened considerably too. He offers up an attention-grabbing opening where Patty McCormack heads off to the execution chamber, telling writer Paul Petersen that if he is hoping for a sequel it will be a short one and then consoling the nervous executioner “Your first time? Mine too,” before a well-done scene where she pleads with the executioner and manages to turn the tables as a result. There are witty lines: “I know, dear, you’re innocent – like O.J.” There are even times that Mommy’s Day starts to reach the level of meta-fictional referentiality of Scream (1996) and sequels. “Don’t you know the sequel is never as good as the original,” Patty McCormack shouts at the person responsible as she realizes they have been trying to provoke her to conduct more killings.

Alas, after a fine start, Mommy’s Day slows down. The middle is routine and never surmounts the cheapness that beset the first film. What’s more, the focus of the film has now changed – and in ways that are disconcerting. The first Mommy had a clean simplicity to its premise – mother who believes in traditional values kills to ensure her daughter’s success. Alas with Mommy’s Day, these sympathies have been entirely swung around – in the first film Patty McCormack was a disturbed killer, whereas here we somewhat incredulously have a further series of murders and the same psycho from last time trying to insist that she is an innocent throughout.

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