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Shaun vs. Ed and his Dead Mother (1993)

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Directed by Jonathan Wacks

Starring Steve Buscemi, Ned Beatty, Miriam Margolyes and John Glover

Ed Chilton is grieving over the loss of his mother…which was almost a year ago.  Presented with the opportunity to bring her back, Ed jumps at the chance when a salesman tells him that he can do just that.  For a price…


Today is like every other day since Ed’s (Buscemi) beloved mother (Margolyes) passed away almost a year ago, as Ed strangely carrying on the mourning process much longer than anyone would imagine.  He operates the local hardware store in his mother’s stead though maybe it’s a safe harbour from his perverted uncle Benny, who lives with Ed and is constantly peeping on the attractive new neighbour with his telescope.

Unlike every other day, however, Ed receives a knock on his door and a salesman (Glover) presents him with an incredibly unique offer — for just a thousand dollars — he can bring Ed’s mother back from the dead.  As unbelievable as it sounds, it’s guaranteed and he doesn’t have to pay until she comes back.  How could anyone refuse that offer?

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Who the hell is Mr. Pink?

Sure enough, the salesman pulls through and delivers the next day, though not without some initial complications (she believed in organ donation for one thing.)  It’s a done deal, and so cheap, but Ed starts to learn the hard way how much it costs to keep his mother running after she runs out steam.

Though the process is never fully explained, aside from the cost, an American company has discovered how to bring back the dead.  To keep the undead going after reanimation however, they need to feed on living beings, so they’re given bugs to eat which adds the life of the bugs to  their life and that keeps them going.  A little gross, but nothing too awful, I suppose.

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Ed…sometimes dead is better.

Ed, never having much of a social life in the first place, is at ease with his mother around but when the hot neighbour (wife of Kevin Sorbo!) comes around to get cozy with Ed, he has a hard time balancing time with her and his mother who constantly gets into trouble, eating all her bugs then moving on to bigger forms of life like dogs and it’s not long before she sets her sights on people.  Though Ed has gone through so much to bring his mother back, can he finally say goodbye once and for all?

As it sounds, the film is a dark comedy with a just hint of zombie.  There’s not a lot of blood, with most scenes only implying anything grotesque, the film is more about this unusual situation and the implications involved.  Yes, Ed’s mother is undead, but know that the “zombie” part is really just a tease.  It’s all about Ed keeping an eye on his mother who throws his life more out of whack then when she was still alive.  Sounds kind of like a PG version of Dead Alive (or Brain Dead if you’re outside North America.)

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A running zombie?! Booooo!

The cast is terrific and play their roles perfectly.  A young Steve Buscemi, who at the time when I first saw this I never thought would become such a high profile actor, plays a naive man who loves his mother enough to bring her back from the dead.  Ned Beatty is a crotchety, perverted uncle who is also the voice of reason for Ed and looks out for his nephew is his own way.  John Glover, whom I remember most as Mr. Clamp in Gremlins 2, is a salesman with a heart of gold who goes out of his way to help Ed whenever it’s financially viable.   And lastly, Miriam Margolyes, who just comes off so happy to be alive! 

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The only time you’ll hear me say “I wish I was Kevin Sorbo.”

It’s a fun little movie, a bit oddball considering the subject matter, but it finds its way to entertain you through its unique brand of humour through the movie’s excellent cast.  Give it a shot if you ever come across it.

TL;DR

Story: 8 – A young man, mourning the loss of his mother, is given a cheap and easy way to bring her back but not without complications.

Blood: 2 – Eh, there’s a few scenes with splattered blood on the walls but you don’t see how it happened.

Nudity: 7 – Sam Sorbo shows off quite a bit, thank you!

Overall: 7 – Interesting story, a few good laughs, and a slightly zombified mother.  You could do much worse than this.

Trivia

-ITC Entertainment released Ed and His Dead Mother to a single theater in Los Angeles. It made $673.

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