Ed And His Dead Mother (1993)

Ed And His Dead Mother (1993)

Ed And His Dead Mother (1993)

‘Ed and His Dead Mother’ is a black comedy that was directed by Jonathan Wacks and released in 1993.

Ed and His Dead Mother is the sweet story of a young man who just can’t bear to say goodbye to his mother and then rather wishes that he had.

When A. J. Pattle from ‘Happy People Ltd’ turns up at his hardware store, it initially seems like a dream come true for Ed. Pattle offers Ed a deal, his company will, for a mere $1000 bring his beloved mother back to life. But a $1000 dollars swiftly becomes over three thousand and then mother drops dead again because, as Pattle points out, Ed paid to have her brought back to life, not stay alive. To keep mother alive costs yet more money and Ed must feed her two live bugs a day. Unfortunately mother eats all the bugs at once and graduates first to dogs, then to her other son who has just got out of jail and whom she kills with a chainsaw!

Ed’s Uncle Benny finally persuades Ed that the only thing to do is kill mother to put her back where she belongs. But it swiftly proves that mother can’t be killed without more ‘help’ from Happy People Ltd and an additional $50,000!

The first thing that strikes you about this film is that it has a great cast; Steve Buscemi, Miriam Margolyes, Ned Beatty, John Glover and the stunningly beautiful Sam Jenkins (now Sorbo) playing the temptress next door who plays an unexpected role in the unfolding plot. Better still, this great cast gets to work with a sharp and darkly hilarious script that delivers on the potential of its offbeat premise. The gallows humour won’t be for everyone, but if you like your comedy jet black with enough subtly played sweetness to make it go down, then this movie is absolutely for you.

Ed And His Dead Mother (1993)

Ed And His Dead Mother (1993)

It’s also a very smart script, wasting the absolute minimum of time on disbelief and explanations. “Some of the top people in Washington have been dead for years” is Pattle’s only real justification to Ed, which is enough for him and enough for us. Meanwhile when Uncle Benny discovers of his late sister crouching in the fridge cooking he simply takes it in his stride. In real life of course people would react differently, but for a dark fantasy like this you’re more than happy to suspend disbelief and go along with it.

As well as the dark humour there’s also a brilliant strain of satire running through the centre of the plot. Happy People Ltd isn’t just a company selling life to the dead, it’s a scam, suckering people in to paying to have their loved ones resurrected then jacking up the price when the call inevitably comes to put them back in the ground. This corporate angle makes the idea feel fresh and modern. The scene between Pattle and his boss, who bemoans the similar technology being developed elsewhere (Japan of course), could happen between any salesman and his manager. For all its fantastic premise, the business is very well thought through and practical. Comic fantasy is at its funniest when its feet are rooted to the ground as it renders the fantasy elements all the more ludicrous and this one does a great job of making a door-to-door resurrection salesman seem utterly plausible.

Ed And His Dead Mother (1993)

Ed And His Dead Mother (1993)

Although the bug eating is an obvious nod to Dracula’s Renfield, Ed and His Dead Mother feels like a real original. How many films can boast Miriam Margolyes pursuing a dog down the street carrying a knife and fork? Or her severed head in a bag singing My Bonny in a graveyard at midnight? It’s not what you’d call a horror film, it’s not really what you’d call a zombie film, but it’s got a top notch cast, a clever premise and a script that delivers. Above all you’re left with the feeling that, if the technology existed to bring people back to life, someone would have already started this business!

Watch the trailer for ‘Ed And his Dead Mother‘ below:


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Written by: Robin Bailes