“Dark, twisted, and awesome, you say? Well, let’s see how this one grabs you.”
Sometimes there’s not a lot that excites me about horror movies. Of all the genres, horror has the hardest time making quality films. Is it a source of untapped potential, or are the best, most original horror films behind us? I’ve wondered.
For the past month, I’ve watched one modern horror movie after another, seeking a piece worth telling people about. I’ve watched movies about witches, cabins in the mountains, and a lot of schlock I’ve already forgotten. Then I found The Mortuary Collection, and it was worth every bad movie I had to watch to find it.
There is magic of some cinematic kind at work here. This Shudder exclusive (which you can watch for one month free. Details below) is the story of Montgomery “Monty” Dark, played by Clancy Brown, who, and I shit you not, is also the voice of Mr. Krabs on Spongebob Squarepants. And boy, does Monty the mortician have some stories to tell!
It takes place in the 1980s in the small, peculiar town of Raven’s End. Monty is holding a service for a young child, and he becomes so emotional, he makes the family themselves uncomfortable. After the service ends, a girl by the name of Sam (Caitlin Custer) arrives, interested in the “help wanted” sign outside his business. While they look for potential paperwork for Sam to sign, and while Monty tries to learn more about her, they come across his books. Each book contains stories of how various people died and ended up in his funeral home. Sam wants to know the best stories Monty has about them. Thus our anthology of horror stories begins, as Monty shares with Sam his tales of terror.
Each story has something different to offer, but they all hinge on ideas of right and wrong, reward, and punishment. Whether about stealing or even safe sex, each story contains a moral to it. On the surface, while it seems like a dark movie, it has a tone that seems like it could be something you could show the kids one night—until it doesn’t.
The movie, Ryan Spindell’s directorial debut, is almost entirely profanity-free. There are tones that reflect some of the best in the genre: The anthology style of “Scary Stories,” the excitement of “R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps,” and cinematography that lends itself to the feel of Beetle Juice. Accompanied by a fantastically over the top soundtrack provided by the Mondo Boys, it’s great. There’s a lot that makes this movie a quality piece of work, but what carries it over the top is the music. I hope the duo that is Mondo Boys, whose work only appears to date back to 2014, will be around for a long time.
“It’s not bad. I was expecting something a bit more substantial. Maybe an ironic comeuppance, a big twist, but it was fun.”
Now these stories, despite the humorous tone I mentioned, and despite the youth of some of the lead characters, are clearly not for children. With exploding genitalia, tentacle monsters, dismemberment, and a cornucopia of other horrifying things, this film is absolutely a joy for the right horror fan. Yes, there’s violence and definitely a little gore, but it’s all in good fun… well, heh, maybe not the exploding genitals?
“The embalming room. This is where the sausage is made, so to speak.”
The movie is not without its flaws. One of the biggest sins is seemingly stories that almost all horror fans have seen before, from slumber party massacres to “The Tale Tell Heart.” The thing is, however, that the way in which they are told is filled with so many worthwhile twists and turns, and such fun acting, that while they are familiar, the movie has definitely made them their own.
What The Mortuary Collection gets right is that it is the perfect balance of humor and horror. At times it’s sexy, at other times scary, but most of all, it is incredibly fun, and I would gladly watch it again and again. I think I could appreciate something new about it each time. It’s the perfect Halloween movie to watch, and I highly recommend it.
“Oh, you’d be surprised what we find up people’s colons.”
The movie I’ve reviewed is a Shudder exclusive. If you’d like to watch along with me, you can get one month of Shudder free with promo code “HorrorHound”. After that, it’s $5.99 a month.