My Son My Son What Have Ye Done

My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done? is a film directed by Werner Herzog and produced by David Lynch, inspired by the story of murderer Mark Yavorsky. Herzog describes the film as "a horror film without the blood, chainsaws and gore, but with a strange, anonymous fear creeping up in you".

Click here to watch the trailer


The film is inspired by the true story of Mark Yavorsky, a San Diego man inspired by Sophocles’Orestes who stabbed and killed his mother with an antique saber. Yavorsky was at the time a graduate student at UCSD who had recently been cast in the lead role of a production of Electra. Yavorsky was tried and found not guilty by reason of insanity, and spent many years at Patton State Hospital before his release. Herzog's story, as in his other feature films based on true stories, does not follow the historical story of Yavorsky very closely. Most obviously, Yavorsky's name in the film has been changed to Brad McCullum. Herzog has stated that "About 70 percent of the script is false ... loosely made up." The narration will jump between the scene of the murder, and the man's troubled life leading up to the event. It will be shot "guerrilla-style" on digital video.


The film was shot in and around San Diego, near Yavorsky's home. Actors Shannon and Zabriskie appreciated filming so close to the story's actual setting, while producer Eric Basset said that the choice of location was for financial reasons, and Herzog says that it was simply "a matter of convenience".

Before production, Herzog arranged a meeting with Yavorsky, then living in Riverside County, whom Herzog described as "argumentative".


The film premiered at the 2009 Venice Film Festival on 5 September 2009 and is scheduled to have its Canadian premier at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival in September 2009.


Michael Shannon - Brad McCullum
Grace Zabriskie - Mrs. McCullum
Willem Dafoe- Detective Havenhurst
Chloë Sevigny - Ingrid
Loretta Devine - Miss Roberts
Irma P. Hall- Mrs. Roberts
Michael Peña - Detective Vargas
Brad Dourif - Uncle Ted
Bill Cobbs
Udo Kier - Lee Meyers
James C. Burns-Swat Commander Brown

RSS icon Stay informed with the RSS news