Mom and Dad Come to Austin

Alamo Drafthouse marquee for Joe Bob Briggs, photo by Richard Whittaker

Joe Bob Briggs came to town last weekend and screened Mom and Dad, an infamous exploitation "sex hygiene" film. Its infamy accrued from its sensational marketing campaigns, not its cinematic content. The film is an extraordinarily poor production, with the payoff being some (disturbing still today) film-within-a-film "educational" pieces that show a human birth delivery, a cesarean section, and ravaged victims of venereal disease.

I put "educational" in those air-finger quotes because the inset films really aren't educational. They are shock footage wrapped in a veneer of educational presentation, to protect from prosecution. The information presented careened between hysterical and wrong, such as the discussion on how a fertilized egg divides into 2, 4, 8, and then 12 (should be 16) cells. Joe Bob Briggs said that after seeing these films, he wasn't sure he ever wanted to have sex again.

I'm finding it interesting that the power of that movie seems to persist even today. Articles about the well-attended-but-not-crowded screening are popping up around the blogosphere. There is a cool reproduction of one of the vintage newspaper ads for Mom and Dad posted over at Reel Distraction. There is a summary of the evening posted to My Movie Journal is Better than Your Movie Journal. I thought the comment about the first half of the evening being like a "jazz lecture" was dead on, and kind of why I liked it. Even the Austin Chronicle weighed in, albeit over a question about the Texas film production fund asked in the earlier part of the evening.