Senior HTF Member
- May 9, 2003
Studio: Universal (Originally released via Savoy Pictures)
Original Release: 1994
Length: 1 hour 34 mins
Genre: Comedy/Satire/John Waters
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Both Commentaries
Rating: R (Sexual Humor, Violence, Language)
Release Date: May 6, 2008
Starring: Kathleen Turner, Sam Waterston, Ricki Lake and Suzanne Somers
Written and Directed by: John Waters
Serial Mom is a typically caustic John Waters black comedy, focused on the exploits of Waters’ ultimate suburban housewife and mother – one who resorts to violence to ensure that things remain wholesome. In a major casting coup, John Waters has managed to get Kathleen Turner to play the title role, and she pretty much devours all the scenery while having a fairly good time in Waters’ tilted world. The film is garish and loud, and Waters fans really wouldn’t have it any other way. There is some violence, but it’s played directly for laughs, in keeping with the dark comedy motif of the film.
This film was previously available on DVD roughly 10 years ago from HBO Home Video, with a non-anamorphic transfer and a commentary by Waters. The new release has a new anamorphic transfer, 5.1 sound, and new extras to go along with the original commentary.
VIDEO QUALITY: 3/5
Serial Mom is presented in an anamorphic 1.85:1 transfer that is loudly colourful, as is appropriate for Waters’ films. There’s a lot of primary color on display here, particularly the blues and greens of suburban life and then the red of the blood that the main character spills throughout the film. It's a pleasure to watch, with the caveat that the images tend toward the lurid. This transfer is a solid improvement over the earlier release, if only for the anamorphic encoding.
AUDIO QUALITY: 3/5
Serial Mom is presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix in English only, but most of the sound really lives in the front channels. There’s some use of the surrounds for atmospheric effects (chirping birds early on, a punk rock concert later) and for music, but a good part of the sound of this film happens in the front stereo and center speakers. The dialogue is as clear as it can be, although there is the occasional moment where the actors don’t enunciate clearly.
SPECIAL FEATURES: 3 ½/5 ½
Serial Mom comes with the original commentary by John Waters, and then adds several new features, including a new commentary with Waters and Kathleen Turner, a making-of featurette, a gore film featurette, and the original trailer. This is a pretty nice package, particularly for an older cult film that hasn’t had much love on DVD before.