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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Murder > Serial Mom – Collector’s Edition (1994/Universal DVD)

Serial Mom – Collector’s Edition (1994/Universal DVD)


Picture: C     Sound: C+     Extras: B     Feature: B



There are a few filmmakers out there who have the Midas Touch of film. One of them is John Waters, and in Serial Mom the king of subversive cinema trains his campy gaze on the American myth of suburbia.  Starring Kathleen Turner as the perfect mother and housewife, who just also happens to be a serial killer, along with Sam Waterston, Ricki Lake, and Matthew Lillard who you will most likely recognize as Shaggy from the live-action Scooby Doo movies, this is a hilarious satire of the American dream, slasher films, and the celebrity status of high-profile criminals.


To supplement the excellent film, there is a load of superior extra features including three featurettes, two commentary tracks, and the theatrical trailer.  The first two featurettes, “Serial Mom: Surreal Moments” and “The Kings of Gore: Herschell Gordon Lewis and David Friedman” are fantastic. Each about ten minutes long, they're what any cinephile wants from a special feature.  The first gets into the mind of John Waters and his motivations for writing and directing Serial Mom, while the second discusses the careers of two of the first names in gore flicks and how their work influenced John Waters as a developing filmmaker.


The third featurette, “The Making of Serial Mom”, is obviously older and not nearly so interesting nor well-made.  As for the commentary tracks, the first features John Waters and Kathleen Turner, while the second is just John Waters.  On the surface, it doesn't make much sense at all to have both on the disc, and if you're going to choose just one to watch (which you most likely are) definitely go with the first.  But for die-hard Waters fans, the extra insight from the legendary filmmaker is worth the additional hour and a half.


The picture quality is adequate, but the reds pop noticeably more than the other colors which, except for some bright greens, tend to fade.  This is probably due either to the transfer to DVD or the remastered image advertised on the back cover. The frame is 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen.  The sound is Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround and just a tad soft.


In the featurette “Serial Mom: Surreal Moments” John Waters says that this is the movie of his that everyone likes.  Whether it's die-hard John Waters fans who rank Pink Flamingos higher than Citizen Kane, or 15 year old girls who rent Hairspray every weekend, Serial Mom is a movie that everyone can sit down, watch, and thoroughly enjoy.



-   Matthew Carrick


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