If you are craving some terror-filled fun, well look no future than The Mortuary Collection. Filmmaker Ryan Spindell brings us a demented assemblage of dread that will shock and bring a grin to any horror fan’s face.
Synopsis-In the phantasmagorical town of Raven’s End, nothing is as it seems. THE MORTUARY COLLECTION introduces us to a misguided young girl who takes refuge in a decrepit old mortuary. There she meets Montgomery Dark, an eccentric undertaker with more than a few skeletons in his closet. Montgomery chronicles the strange history of the town through a series of twisted tales, each more terrifying than the last, but the young girl’s world is unhinged when she discovers that the final story…is her own.
Just when I thought I wouldn’t find another great horror anthology – I discovered The Mortuary Collection. Boasting an entertaining and diverse assortment of horror subgenres in its stories, you can almost hear the Crypt Keeper cackling in the background. Instead, this time the storyteller is veteran horror actor Clancy Brown as Montgomery Dark, the proprietor of a creepy old mortuary in the small town of Ravens End. He has the most wonderful and terrifying voice, that can literally make your skin crawl with delight.
I have always been an avid reader and the idea that a macabre mortician keeps everyone’s death in a book is awesome. “What is life but a story?” Montgomery Brown invokes. “A single narrative thread in the tapestry that binds us all.” Well said!
The narrative throughout the film is the need to hire a helper at the mortuary. Montgomery describes himself as “an indentured servant to the great beyond.” The house where he and the mortuary reside is almost a character of its own. A creepy Victorian- the kind of abandoned-looking house where the neighborhood kids dare each other to go ring the doorbell. Not an easy place to get new help, but he has one person interested in the job. A young girl named Sam, (Caitlin Custer) who saw the help wanted sign outside.
Sam wants to know more about the job and is fascinated that he keeps an archive of his customer’s deaths, and why they died. She demands he tell her “something dark and twisted; something awesome.” This approach brings Montgomery much amusement and he starts to tell her some tales, each one a bit darker and more gruesome than the previous one. Sam has no fear as he tells his disturbing stories.
We start with a beautiful pickpocket who finds more than she bargains for in an ominous bathroom. Some great creature effects, but honestly my least favorite.
Then a wonderful tale that made me laugh out loud; a bad-boy fraternity member, who takes advantage of women, gets what he deserves from a pretty coed. I mean seriously dude, always wear a condom!
Next up is a man living a sad and pathetic life taking care of his ailing wife. In this very dark and blood-soaked segment, we find out what the vow “Till death do us part” really means. I may never look at an electric kitchen knife the same way again.
Telling Montgomery his stories are a bit predictable, Sam says, “Someone commits a sin, they pay a horrible price; rinse, repeat.” Montgomery counters with “The form may be familiar, but the message is timeless; no evil deed goes unpunished.”
Sam finally admits why she is there and that what he said is wrong; In real-life bad guys win all the time. So, Sam gets her chance to tell a story of her own; one she is personally involved with.
But Sam underestimates her audience, and she ends up in a vastly different place than she expected. Each and every action creates a ripple; each and every story has repercussions, you see. No one escapes fate.
What I liked: I really found a lot to love about this film. All the actors involved were top-notch with Clancy Brown as a stand-out. The cinematography was incredible. The sets were detailed and beautiful, the neon colors in all the episodes gorgeous. The practical effects were gory and very well done, which of course works for me.
What didn’t work: Mixing in CGI with great practical effects is always hard for me to watch, but in the cases where it was used I kinda understand, so it didn’t take that much away from the film as a whole.
This anthology is the perfect horror distraction for a twisted evening at home. Wonderfully weird and gore-filled stories, enough humor to make it funny without being silly, a perfect retro vibe, and a surprise twist at the end, make this a must-see.
The Mortuary Collection delivers five original and entertaining tales, narrated by one of the most sinister voices in horror since Vincent Price. And if you are looking for a job…. well, maybe the mortuary in Ravens End can dig up room for one more full-time employee!
The Mortuary Collection is currently streaming on Shudder and is available on Digital HD, DVD & Blu-ray on April 20, 2021
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