Don't say I never do anything for you guys. I've yet to see the -produced Mama, but I've had to expose myself to major spoilers in order to bring you this article. I suppose it's the burden I must bear to bring you this gift... Anyway, del Toro has always been known for his uncompromising and unflinching dedication to his artistic vision. It seems like for his latest horror, he was all fired up to fight a slogging battle with the studios over the film's ending. Luckily for him, it turns out studios aren't always the slashing and cutting business-obsessed philistines we sometimes think they are.
Mama is the story of two guardians (played by and ) who take on two feral children who have been lost in the woods for five years. Unfortunately, when the kids return to civilization, they haven't returned alone. They bring with them a spirit known merely as 'Mama'. While their guardians try to re-assimilate the children into family life, they are faced with the powers and influence of Mama.
Any adult horror film which includes children is always going to be slightly controversial. However, both del Toro and director seemed to have expected a much greater backlash than which actually occurred. Of course, we have to discuss the ending to Mama, so if you haven't seen it yet, stop reading now!
In the film the two children readjust to family life to varying degrees of success. The older child Victoria, who slightly remembers life before she became lost, is able to settle to an extent. Her sister, who can only only remember the protection of Mama, is different and happily sacrifices herself with Mama at the end of the film. So basically, del Toro and Muschietti kill a little kid at the end of the movie. It wouldn't be del Toro's first time (remember Pan's Labyrinth?), but he thought it would be his hardest creative choice to defend.
That’s the only ending possible. You as an audience are sort of cheated to believe things will go well. You start thinking this girl can be recovered, but there’s nothing to be recovered too because she doesn't know this world. Her attachment to Mama is complete, stronger, she doesn't know anything else like Victoria does because she was 3 years old. So that’s the happy ending, her going to Mama.
Del Toro adds:
Her happy ending. I made sure, for that, ending, that I had final cut. I was amassing the weapons of mass destruction in case it was needed. We financed the movie in a way that we had autonomy in the decisions, that we could preserve the ending and after all those preparations, we send it to the studio and the studio says 'We love it.' And we said 'Really?' Because in my experience that normally doesn't happen. I was really prepared for that and really prepared for some of the choices. I wish I could tell you I went in a room and slammed my hand and punched. We prepared but it was really super easy.
So there you go. I have to say, this does slightly elevate my faith in movie studios, perhaps they won't always ruin movies with their editing demands? I suppose Mama's production companies should be congratulated for allowing the artistic vision of the movie-makers to shine through unaltered. What do you think though? Was this the ending to Mama you wanted? Let us know below!