• Kelly M. Hudson

Mortuary of Death!


Greg (David Wysocki) and his pal are fooling around in the local mortuary warehouse when they stumble upon a small group of adults who are holding a séance while wearing black robes. The buddy finds himself on the receiving end of a deadly stabbing while Greg is busy gathering the tires they had come there to collect (don’t ask). Greg’s van races away into the night leaving Greg stuck there. He assumes it was his friend who drove away and he calls his girlfriend Christie (Mary Beth McDonough) to come get him. Turns out, Christie’s father died mysteriously a year earlier and she has nightmares/memories of his death that involves a strange man wearing a black robe, much like the ones the séance attendees were wearing. These dreams have bled over into real life as Christie is now seeing a robed figure at night, and he is stalking her. In the midst of this, she decides to investigate into what happened to her father and Greg helps out. Everything revolves around the mortuary at the beginning, owned and operated by Hank (Christopher George) and Paul (Bill Paxton) Andrews, the father and son proprietors. In the end, Christie does get down to the nitty gritty of the mystery, and all roads lead to the mortuary, and death!

Yes, it’s a convoluted plot. There’s lots of extraneous details that are easy to get lost in and in the end, none of them really matter. The whole deal with the stolen van and Greg’s missing friend all amounts to much of nothing. The séances and the robed figures don’t matter, either. Red herrings, one and all. What this moves basically boils down to is a mystery mixed with a stalk and slash affair. The best parts of this movie are the murders, of course, the killer using an,, uh, unusual weapon, and the ending itself is pretty swell. It goes all grand gothic preaching villain, madman ranting included. You can really see where Scream 2 could have cribbed its ending, as well as its look, with the killer actually resembling Ghost Face and Death from the second Bill and Ted movie. Only our mortuary murderer came first. Everyone is good in their roles, especially Bill Paxton who kind of steals the movie. And while nothing amazing happens, there’s this weird, creeping dread in the picture which I’m not sure how they obtained, but it’s there, and it gives this film a little bit of an extra nudge.

Mortuary isn’t a movie that will change the world. It’s not some hidden slasher great that few people know about. It’s actually a creepy little film that is a bit unsettling in parts and a bit silly in others, a murder mystery with some surreal nightmare imagery as well as a slasher film with a maniacal killer on the loose. And while it never quite succeeds at being great in either case, the combination works to create a strange movie that’s worth a watch or two, especially to see young Bill Paxton do his thing.

★★✮☆

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