Ed (Steve Buscemi) is on trial for cutting off his mother’s head; however, as he explains, she was already dead. Going back a bit, Ed, still bereft about his mother Mabel’s (Miriam Margoyles) death, is approached by the Happy People Corporation; Mr. Pattle (John Glover) offers him “a simple reanimation” for a thousand dollars. Unfortunately, her body is unusually messed up—in fact, her brain was in pieces, making her reanimation more expensive and not as guarantee-able. Although she seems normal on the surface (aside from offering Ed juice from inside the refrigerator), she also has a nasty habit of chasing neighborhood dogs with a knife and fork, and cutting up a guy with a chainsaw (though to be fair, he was a mean guy). She’s also impervious to bullets, so once Ed decides he has to send her back, he has his work cut out for him.
There are obvious themes the film shares with Frankenstein: Ed is guilty of disobeying the laws of nature (and his mother also has an abnormal brain). However, he’s motivated not by playing God, but by being unhealthily obsessed with his mother. Like Frankenstein (at least in the movie version), he’s saved by the love of a woman—his neighbor Storm (Sam Sorbo), who naturally can’t wait to hop into bed with him.
I first saw this as a kid, on T.V. On a second, recent viewing, I found I still liked it. For such serious subject matter, it‘s quite effective as a comedy. I enjoy Mabel’s statement to the mean guy (as she brandishes a chainsaw), “We seem to be all out of tea. I’m afraid you’ll just have to settle for this!”
The only aspect of the film I don’t appreciate is the relationship between Ed and Storm; I think the movie would have been just fine without her. But we have to establish that Ed is definitely not gay, don’t we? Overall it’s amusing and entertaining. Check it out if you’re in the mood for a dark comedy. Even the movie posters are hilarious.