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My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done
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My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done (2009) More at IMDbPro »

Videos (see all 3)
My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done -- Inspired by a true crime, a man begins to experience mystifying events that lead him to slay his mother with a sword.
My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done -- My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done -- "Astounded at the Silence" Clip


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Up 7% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Herbert Golder (written by) &
Werner Herzog (written by)
View company contact information for My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
8 July 2010 (Portugal) See more »
The Mystery Isn't Who. But Why.
Inspired by a true crime, a man begins to experience mystifying events that lead him to slay his mother with a sword. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Nice digestible chunks of Lynch & Herzog served up in classic style See more (45 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Michael Shannon ... Brad Macallam

Willem Dafoe ... Detective Havenhurst

Chloë Sevigny ... Ingrid Gudmundson

Udo Kier ... Lee Meyers

Michael Peña ... Detective Vargas

Grace Zabriskie ... Mrs Macallam

Brad Dourif ... Uncle Ted

Irma P. Hall ... Mrs Roberts (as Irma Hall)

Loretta Devine ... Ms Roberts

Candice Coke ... Officer Slocum

Gabriel Pimentel ... Little Man

Braden Lynch ... Gary

James C. Burns ... Brown

Noel Arthur ... Naval Guard
Julius Morck ... Phil (as Julius Mørck)
Fred Parnes ... Male Bystander

Jesse Rodriguez ... Officer Guarding Tape

Jenn Liu ... Receptionist

Brian Sounalath ... Young Man
Stefan Cap ... Detective (as Stephan Cap)
Douglas Lay ... Chorus Master: The Theatre Inc
Melissa Hamilton ... Chorus Member: The Theatre Inc
Robin Christ ... Chorus Member: The Theatre Inc
Bonnie J. Stone ... Chorus Member: The Theatre Inc
Wendy Savage ... Chorus Member: The Theatre Inc
Diana Sparta ... Chorus Member: The Theatre Inc
Andres Torres ... Chorus Member: The Theatre Inc
Branca Chapman ... Chorus Member: The Theatre Inc
Joseph Ramos ... Lieutenant, San Diego Police Department S.W.A.T Team
Don Dolezal ... Sergeant, San Diego Police Department S.W.A.T Team
Keith Lucas ... Sergeant, San Diego Police Department S.W.A.T Team
Ken Impellizeri ... Sergeant, San Diego Police Department S.W.A.T Team

Dave Bautista ... Officer, San Diego Police Department S.W.A.T Team (as David Bautista)
Darby Darrow ... Officer, San Diego Police Department S.W.A.T Team
Jerome Joaquin ... Officer, San Diego Police Department S.W.A.T Team
Tony Lessa ... Officer, San Diego Police Department S.W.A.T Team
Anthony Morasco ... Officer, San Diego Police Department S.W.A.T Team
Timothy Peterson ... Officer, San Diego Police Department S.W.A.T Team
Brad Pickett ... Officer, San Diego Police Department S.W.A.T Team
Jason Scott ... Officer, San Diego Police Department S.W.A.T Team
Steve Spurlock ... Officer, San Diego Police Department S.W.A.T Team (as Steven Spurlock)
Robert Rude ... Officer, San Diego Police Department S.W.A.T Team
David Speck ... Officer, San Diego Police Department S.W.A.T Team
Mark Willhelm ... Officer, San Diego Police Department S.W.A.T Team
Matthew Zdunich ... Officer, San Diego Police Department S.W.A.T Team
Mark Zdunich ... Officer, San Diego Police Department S.W.A.T Team
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Brady Abbott ... Boy in Wheelchair (uncredited)
Eric Bassett ... Man at Piano (uncredited)
Herbert Golder ... Man with Breathing Mask (uncredited)
Teresa Hardisty ... Shushing Woman at Theater (uncredited)
Lena Herzog ... Woman Photographing Basketball (uncredited)
James Lacey ... Man in Theater (uncredited)
Ernst Reijseger ... Cellist - The Theatre Inc (uncredited)
Stephen Tompkins ... Emergency Medical Technician (uncredited)

Frank C. Wells ... Pizza Delivery Man (uncredited)
Reed Willard ... CSI Investigator (uncredited)

Directed by
Werner Herzog 
Writing credits
Herbert Golder (written by) &
Werner Herzog (written by)

Produced by
Jimmy Balodimas .... co-executive producer
Eric Bassett .... producer
Herbert Golder .... associate producer
Bingo Gubelmann .... executive producer
Benji Kohn .... executive producer
David Lynch .... executive producer
Giulia Marletta .... co-executive producer
Ken Meyer .... co-executive producer
Julius Morck .... executive producer (as Julius Mørck)
Stian Morck .... executive producer (as Stian Mørck)
Chris Papavasiliou .... executive producer
Jeff Rice .... executive producer
Ali Rounaghi .... executive producer
Jack Sojka .... line producer
Rick Spalla .... co-producer
Austin Stark .... executive producer
Original Music by
Ernst Reijseger 
Cinematography by
Peter Zeitlinger (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Joe Bini 
Omar Daher 
Casting by
Jenny Jue 
Johanna Ray 
Production Design by
Danny Caldwell 
Costume Design by
Mikel Padilla 
Makeup Department
Felicia Dechristian .... assistant makeup artist
Juyoun 'Ivy' Hong .... hair stylist assistant
Juyoun 'Ivy' Hong .... makeup artist assistant
James Lacey .... makeup department head (as James Lacy)
Stephanie Rollison .... assistant makeup artist
Tricia Sawyer .... additional makeup artist
Cathi Singh .... assistant makeup artist (uncredited)
Production Management
Ulrich Bergfelder .... unit manager: Peru
Jack Sojka .... unit production manager
Oscar Veytia .... unit manager: Mexico
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Ian Calip .... second second assistant director
John T. Churchill .... first assistant director
Anneke Scott .... second second assistant director
Frank Tignini .... second assistant director (as Francesco Tignini)
Art Department
Tyson Estes .... set dresser
Vera Haddaway .... art department assistant (as Vera Hallaway)
Tim Ott .... prop master
Brian Pettitt .... graphic artist
Sound Department
Greg Agalsoff .... production sound mixer
Alex Bushe .... audio sync
David A. Cohen .... dialogue editor
Ronald Eng .... sound re-recording mixer (as Ron Eng)
Ronald Eng .... supervising sound editor (as Ron Eng)
Luke Gibleon .... additional sound editor
Dean Hurley .... sound re-recording mixer
Dean Hurley .... supervising sound editor
Mark Jennings .... boom operator
Willard Overstreet .... sound effects editor
Robin Harlan .... foley artist (uncredited)
Klint Macro .... commentary re-recordist (uncredited)
Sarah Monat .... foley artist (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
Chris F. Woods .... visual effects producer: Cinemapixel (as Christopher Francis Woods)
Chris F. Woods .... visual effects supervisor: Cinemapixel (as Christopher Francis Woods)
Jason Michael Zimmerman .... compositing artist: Cinemapixel
Camera and Electrical Department
John Baron .... electrician
Brant Beland .... electrician
Brad Elsey .... electrician
Greg Flores .... best boy grip (as Gregory Flores)
Lena Herzog .... still photographer
Paul Lambiase .... dolly grip
Guy Livneh .... chief lighting technician
Dan Malkovich .... grip
Keith Mentze .... best boy grip
Ari Robbins .... steadicam operator
Loren Savitsky .... electrician
Bruno Schiebel .... camera assistant
Erik Söllner .... camera operator
Michael Valenzuela .... grip (as Mike Valenzuela)
Jonathan Wenstrup .... assistant chief lighting
Bryan Gilbert .... key grip (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Kristy Brooks .... wardrobe assistant
Kelly Brown .... wardrobe assistant
James D. Clayton .... wardrobe assistant
Lindsey Friedman .... wardrobe assistant
Editorial Department
Steve Johnson .... color timer: Cinemapixel
Tobias Rogers .... conforming editor: Cinemapixel
Chris F. Woods .... digital intermediate producer: Cinemapixel (as Christopher Francis Woods)
Chris F. Woods .... digital intermediate supervisor: Cinemapixel (as Christopher Francis Woods)
Music Department
Sandip Bhattacharya .... musician: tabla
Sandip Bhattacharya .... musician: voice
Luciano Biondini .... musician: accordion
The Ernst Reijseger Ensemble .... musicians
Harmen Fraanje .... musician: piano
Philipp Heck .... music recording engineer
Djoeke Klijzing .... musician: cello
Julie Laderach .... musician: cello (as Julie Läderach)
Bonno Lange .... musician: cello
Alan Purves .... musician: percussion (as Alan 'Gunga' Purves)
Ernst Reijseger .... musician: cello
Mola Sylla .... musician: voice
Mariko Takahashi .... executive music producer
Tom Van Lent .... musician: cello
Adrian Von Ripka .... music mixing and editing engineer
Stefan Winter .... music producer
Annette Fradera .... music clearance (uncredited)
Transportation Department
Brad Elsey .... driver
Kerri Foster .... driver
Omar Gaieck .... driver (as Omar Galieck)
Brett Hundley .... driver
Ned LaGrotta .... transportation coordinator
Carolyn Matteo .... driver
Other crew
Rosemarie Anthony .... studio teacher
Jamie Arizaga .... craft service
Martha Artega .... caterer (as Martha Arteaga)
Shawn Bisi .... assistant: Mr. Herzog
Carly Bodmer .... production facilities manager
Carol A. Compton .... script clearance: IndieClear
Oscar Corrales .... caterer
Christiane Covington .... script supervisor
Scott Davis .... animal trainer
Ryan Dean .... production assistant
Mary Decaro .... assistant to producer
Brett Doogan .... caterer
Kathy England .... insurance agent: Taylor and Taylor Associates
Nathan Ferguson .... craft service
Lindsey Friedman .... craft service
Jake Gross .... production assistant
Phillip Limas .... production accountant
Reid Meloy .... consultant: forensic psychology (as J. Reid Meloy)
Ken Meyer .... legal services
Tom O'Connor .... caterer
Chris Pollard .... animal trainer (as Christopher Pollard)
Thomas Sbrega .... production assistant
Chris Smernes .... production coordinator
Tammy Soto .... insurance agent: Taylor and Taylor Associates
Michael Spencer .... media manager
Frank C. Wells .... location manager (as Frank Wells)
Kevin Zelman .... key production assistant
Dylan Bergstrom .... production assistant (uncredited)
Omar Gaieck .... production assistant (uncredited)
Brett Hundley .... production assistant (uncredited)
Isaac Rubio .... production assistant (uncredited)
Frank C. Wells .... location scout (uncredited)
Christopher Bartholomew .... special thanks: Best Western Island Palms Hotel & Marina - San Diego
Christiane Covington .... in memory of
Stephen Esposito .... special thanks
John Hardisty .... special thanks
Teresa Hardisty .... special thanks
Fraya Hopster .... special thanks
Kathy McCurdy .... special thanks: San Diego Film Commission
Hunter Moskowitz .... in memory of
Stephanie Nelson .... special thanks
Doug Osborne .... special thanks: OK Corral Ostrich Farm
Loren J. Samons II .... special thanks
Jerry Sanders .... special thanks (as Mayor Jerry Sanders)
Loren Savitsky .... in memory of
Stephen Scully .... special thanks
José Koechlin von Stein .... special thanks: Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel
Allen Wichard .... special thanks
Margie Wichard .... special thanks

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated R for some language
91 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Canada:14A (Ontario) | Finland:K-11 (2011) (video rating) | Germany:16 | Netherlands:16 (Blu-ray rating) | Netherlands:12 (DVD rating) | Portugal:M/16 (Qualidade) | Singapore:PG13 | UK:15 (DVD) | USA:R (certificate #46189)

Did You Know?

Executive producer David Lynch had previously worked with Willem Dafoe in Wild at Heart (1990) and Brad Dourif in both Dune (1984) and Blue Velvet (1986). He has also worked with Grace Zabriskie on several projects including "Twin Peaks" (1990), Wild at Heart (1990) and Inland Empire (2006).See more »
Revealing mistakes: In the escalator scene, which takes place in Calgary but which was filmed at the San Diego Convention Center, one can clearly see a row of palm trees outside.See more »
[first lines]
Detective Vargas:Do you want me to take the wheel Hank?
Detective Hank Havenhurst:No, no - it's no problem. I've driven halfway across the country with one hand.
See more »
Movie Connections:
I Was Born to Preach the GospelSee more »


What was wrong with Brad?
How is this movie to be interpreted?
Is 'My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done' based on a book?
See more »
38 out of 55 people found the following review useful.
Nice digestible chunks of Lynch & Herzog served up in classic style, 27 June 2010
Author: Chris_Docker from United Kingdom

Of all the films I saw at the 2010 Edinburgh International Film Festival, this is the only one (apart from Savage Messiah) that deserved, for me, repeated viewings. I'm not implying it's the best ever Werner Herzog film. Or the best David Lynch film (if you feel his 'producer' role influenced it that much, as many did.) But I was captivated by what 'My Son' had actually done. Even though it is obvious from the start. Less obvious though is the Greek tragedy playing out in his mind which, in his head, is mostly what he's actually doing. Apart from that, I wanted to re-watch so many scenes. Crazy stuff that is made believable simply by the conviction with which it is presented. The first viewing had me gripping my seat in open-jawed amazement throughout, only to breathe a sigh at the end and wonder what I was getting so excited about. Flamingo hostages? Give me a break! (Even if you are supposed to call them 'eagles in drag.' Or ostriches.) God is in the kitchen. On a tin of oatmeal to be precise. But this isn't comedy (though you may laugh) and consider, if you will, that, "The cruel bitch of female passion can break apart the yolk that joins a pair; and force apart the dark embrace of beast and man alike."

Now we're getting somewhere, and it's hypnotically arty, fiendishly funny, upsettingly evocative of nasty dread around the corner, and aren't you pleased that dreams are only dreams and this is only a film.

Story One. The Truth.

The film is based on the true story of Mark Yavorsky, a San Diego man who stabbed his mother to death, inspired by his recent role as Euripides' Orestes in a production of The Eumenides at University of California, San Diego. Or was it Aeschylus' version. Or maybe it was Electra, by Sophocles. (The Truth isn't very interesting anyway, so you can skip this bit.)

Story Two. The Cinematic Truth.

Brad McCullum (Michael Shannon) is maybe in his late twenties but lives with his eccentric and overbearing ("You know you like your jello!") mother. Brad adores mum (played by Grace Zabriskie) with a Norman Bates –like unhealthy shine. This being a Herzog movie, it goes with saying that he's crazy, although the line between 'crazy' and 'madly inspired actor-artiste' is deliberately nebulous. He is engaged to a very normal girl (played by Chloë Sevigny, whose characters do seem to specialise in dubious boyfriends, don't they?). Their shared passion for theatre somehow makes this believable. Willem Dafoe and Michael Peña are bizarrely and beautifully caricatured Lynch-style detectives for whom the unusual is just another day's work. Rather more interesting for them is a tale of the plain clothes policeman getting busted for speeding by another plain clothes policeman. They're about as normal as the blood-related cops in Tarantino's Deathproof. If a murder won't fit on the report sheet, it will by the time they've finished with it. They are also about the sanest thing we've got short of lovesick Sevigny or an exasperated theatre director.

So Brad doesn't get to kill mum on stage cos he's far too 'inspired' to be managed by the director and gets kicks off the cast. He runs the stage sword (which is meant to be Greek but isn't, because Brad prefers it that way) through his mother several times as they are sitting down for morning coffee with their nice neighbours. This occurrence is treated in a fairly routine way near the beginning of the film, so we can enjoy the rest of the time in extended flashbacks to understand what really happened and why.

Story Three. The Real Truth.

Orestes (with whom Brad identifies) is the last link in a bloody line of godly nastiness. Tantallus had been hard done by, and invites the gods to dinner to see if they are real. When they turn up, he serves his son in a stew (They didn't have jello in ancient Greece). The gods puke, but the bits of half-chewed flesh live on to father more cannibals. Only Orestes can lift the curse, but has to kill his mother to do it. If that sounds crazy, it probably was. But Orestes is something of dramatic symbol for anyone whose crime is mitigated by extenuating circumstances. Mad or not, you do what you have to do. "At least some people act a role," says Brad, "others play a part." Historically, it's about replacing matriarchy.

This is a film where you are entranced throughout, awaiting the dark brooding fury or the mother's 'vengeful hounds from hell.' (Or at least an ostrich that steals yours glasses while you're cleaning them.) It even has a dwarf. At the end, you might wonder what on earth you were getting so worked up about, but it's hard to deny you enjoyed the ride. Analyse it too closely and you might not like the extended freeze frames which are ludicrously pretend (you can see Sevigny moving, understandably, as she tries to eat her horrid jello). I did, but for someone people who spotted it the first time round, the joke had worn off. For others, it might be a re-hashing of Lynch/Herzog staples without breaking radical new ground. I suspect I may have to change my 'rating' to five stars if I slink back and see it yet again.

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There's more to it than that!! adamfromspace
A shockingly bad film from a great director... cinema_show
Why are people keep calling it a Lynch movie? SomeIdiotOnTheWeb
Lynch+Herzog genericimdbid
Horrible Lynch-Wannabe Snoozefest snake-boy
Strangly reminded me of Eraserhead - Odd? fortionat1
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