Friday, February 12, 2010

Bloody Winters!

Wow. Wanna be really, really uncomfortable? Have some friends over for Awesome Club Movie Night and watch Bloody Mama, Roger Corman's 1970 exploitation movie starring two-time Academy Award Winner Miss Shelley Winters as Ma Barker. It's like Myra Breckinridge, only much much worse.
The horrors start in the first five minutes. We see a young Shelley being brutalized by her brothers and fathers (in X-Files meets Mackenzie Phillips fashion). In voiceover she swears she'll grow up and raise all boys, and have them do everything for her, her own army.
Flash foward and we're in the middle of the Great Depression, and she and her sons - including young Robert DeNiro - do exactly that. They drive across country robbing banks and killing people. In one scene, they rob a bank, take hostages, and have the hostages - old ladies - stand on the running board of the car as human shields. Inexplicably, the cops chase after them, shooting. Also inexplicably, they drive past a modern shopping mall, but no matter.

The best part of that scene is when they bust into the bank and the two-time Academy Award winner fires her machine gun and yells "everybody reach for the nightgown of the Lord!" I'm going to use that line as much as possible.

One of her sons gets caught and thrown in prison. In there, he gets R'd by his cell mate. Later, they break out together and become boyfriends. Later still, after Shelley has slept with all of her sons, she sleeps with this son's boyfriend. Oh, and that's Bruce Dern.

Eventually, there's a big bloody shoot-out. Sometime before that, smack-addicted Robert DeNiro picks up a girl that Shelley eventually drowns in a tub. Here's one of the more light hearted scenes, where she consoles him and all her sons by leading a rousing rendition of the World War 1 peace song, "I Didn't Raise My Boy To Be A Soldier." I'm not kidding.

God Bless you, Shelley Winters. And God Help Us All.


ALH said...

Having left after the scene where the one son gets R'd (although to me it seemed like he was really being beaten with a chambray shirt) in prison, I am not surprised how the film turned out. What was going on there?

ALH said...

I was thinking about it, and it's not true that:

"In voiceover she swears she'll grow up and raise all boys, and have them do everything for her, her own army."

Actually, we see young, post-R'ed Shelley leaning against a tree and she says it aloud with tears in her eyes.

CRD said...

I am intrigued by how much you think about this film.

ALH said...

I can't stop it. It's with me as I fall asleep at night.