Who doesn’t love a good horror anthology? Books, television, and movies have all been home to some classics. The genre has gotten so popular, it is even crossing over into video games. It is a beloved style of storytelling that does not look to be slowing down any time soon. The Mortuary Collection from Ryan Spindell is another fun entry into the genre. Using classic horror tropes with topical themes, the movie is a gory and disgusting romp that holds up to other anthologies.
A young girl wanders into a mortuary looking for work. She is inexperienced but eager to learn. Thankfully, the mortician Montgomery Dark (Clancy Brown) is willing to take her on. But before Sam (Caitlin Custer) is ready to accept the morbid job, she would like to hear about some of the bodies there. The four tales that follow work to varying degrees.
Horror fans tend to be forgiving. So much so, many films are applauded for following the tropes of the genre. The Mortuary Collection’s greatest strength is that it never tries to reinvent the wheel. From the creepy setting, to the oddly charismatic storyteller, to the cool twist at the end of the overarching story, the movie never tries to be more than what it advertises itself as. There is a sense of familiarity that makes the movie welcoming and terrifying at the same time.
Just because the film is comfortable working with tropes does not mean it is another case of “same old”. Each of the stories is a modern take on long time horror classics. Whether its an oversexed frat boy or a thief who gets their comeuppance, the segments have a recognizable quality to them. What makes them work is though they move in the expected direction, there are plenty of fresh turns along the way.
The Mortuary Collection also differs in that it just does not have a wraparound story. All of the tales also have the theme of female empowerment. The scares and the gores may be extreme, but the inclusive message is delivered in a tasteful way. It is not necessarily subtle (the frat boy learns a painful lesson about safe sex), but it also is not overbearing. The statement fits into the natural flow of the movie.
This does not mean that all goes well, however. ‘Til Death Do Us Part’ is a standard idea. A man’s ailing wife is causing him extreme financial hardship and he will do anything to get out. There are some laugh out loud moments, but the story reaches a point where it has gone one for too long. It is simple case of diminishing returns. What initially led to belly laughs starts to illicit meek chuckles. This story is the exception the the rule, however. Even segments that go just as long do not feel like they have worn out their welcome.
The same came be said for the large amounts of blood and guts seen in the movie. It is an unabashed splatter fest that is unafraid to push the limits of good taste. Using carnage so freely is a tricky proposition. It can start to feel cheap or pointless. That does not happen in The Mortuary Collection. It is always effective, funny, and disgusting. This collection of stories is the definition of bloody fun.
The Mortuary Collection is almost an homage to horror anthologies. It has almost every trope that is associated with the genre. As gross as the movie may get, there is a comforting feeling that makes watching it very enjoyable. The Mortuary Collection is the definition of a bloody good time.
Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can browse AIPT ad-free, gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!