Like Adamson's infamous HORROR OF THE BLOOD MONSTERS, MEAN MOTHER utilizes footage from a foreign product and combines it with Hollywood-lensed stuff. In this case, Independent International had an Italian/Spanish co-production called "El Hombre que Vino del Odio" directed by Argentinean León Klimovsky, a veteran of numerous Spanish horror films often starring Paul Naschy. Adamson's footage would incorporate a black action hero, turning this hodgepodge into an exploitable piece of blaxploitation.
Oddly enough, it casts "Clifton Brown" as Beauregard Jones, but Brown is actually pop singer Dobie Gray who sang "The In Crowd" and "Drift Away" (the later was a top-ten hit the same year this film was released). The plot has him in battle in Vietnam (actually, the fields of California) and he and his white buddy Joe (Dennis Safren) decide to go AWOL. Jones flees to Spain while Joe goes to Rome. They both get wrapped up in crime (drugs and jewels) and romance some lovely ladies before deciding to meet up in Canada.
The footage of Safren in Rome is from the Klimovsky film, and also includes appearances by Lang Jeffries (MISSION STARDUST), Luciana Paluzzi (THE GREEN SLIME) and Spanish horror favorite Julio Peña (HORROR EXPRESS). Klimovsky's scenes, involving crooked jewelers and a defecting ballerina, are very boring. The Adamson footage brings in actors like Marilyn Joi (aka Tracy King), Albert Cole (THE INCREDIBLE 2-HEADED TRANSPLANT), and some guy who happens to be Tom Boston's brother. Even though Safren was brought back (with longer hair) for continuity purposes, Dobie Gray is too goofy to be an action hero and the Adamson footage is only slightly more appealing.
MEAN MOTHER has been released to DVD full frame. While there is some definite cropping from the original aspect ratio, the framing is not too bad. Colors are rather dull, and some scene are very soft and blurry. The transfer is watchable, but nothing to show off your system with. The mono sound is fine and dialogue comes though with no noticeable distortion.
Extras include a commentary by
Sam Sherman that lasts over 40 minutes, the film's trailer as well as trailers
for other Adamson titles, and a reproduction of original theatrical pressbook
with liner notes by Chris Poggiali and David Konow, author of Schlock-O-Rama:
The Films of Al Adamson. (George R. Reis)
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