Dario Argento has been inadvertently parodying himself for years, and that trend unfortunately continues with The Mother of Tears, yet another of the horror maestro’s futile attempts to recapture the magic that made his seminal ‘70s giallos so bewitching. As with his contributions to Showtime’s Masters of Horror series, Argento’s latest feature functions as an anthology of familiar, egregious faux pas: horridly wooden acting, laughable soft-core nudity, graceless ADR, inexpert gore. Argento was never much of a writer – his clunky plotting and functional-at-best dialogue were always overshadowed by hypnotic, lush visuals laced with potent symbolism – but here, his story is awkward and ridiculous to the point of embarrassment. Working at Rome’s Museum of Ancient Sciences, Sarah Mandy (Asia Argento) foolishly opens an aged urn that houses the evil Third Mother (the other two were dealt with in Suspiria and Inferno), who it turns out is a silicon-enhanced stripper who exhorts her equally trashy goth-chic minions to create chaos from a catwalk-esque dungeon dais. Again starring for her father, Asia exhibits absolutely none of the unpredictable violence and deviant sexuality that have previously made her an interesting actress. Worse still, Argento is incapable of sustaining any sort of ominous apocalyptic mood, instead offering up narrative silliness like Sarah being aided by the ghost of her dead mother (who appears in Obi-One Kenobi fashion) and bumbling sights of shocking grisliness, highlighted by a crazed satanic skank chomping on an elongated Twizzler protruding from the rear end of a less-fortunate soul. Devoid of malevolent aesthetic splendor, and engaged in thoroughly unflattering thematic dialogue with its far-superior forbearers, The Mother of Tears is an ignominious mess, one that – for anyone who once prized Argento’s work – is apt to make one misty-eyed.