There have been many, many, many horror anthology movies made over the years. Some of them are great, such as Creep Show, while others are downright horrible such as… well, I won’t name names. Thankfully, The Mortuary Collection, written and directed by Ryan Spindell, falls into the first category. I have a wariness about watching anthology films because of how easy they are to mess up horribly. I was soothed out of this feeling by the end of the first vignette.
Legendary character actor, Clancy Brown, plays Montgomery Dark, the mortician for a large Victorian mortuary whose house is reminiscent of the one in which the Addams Family resided. Sam (Caitlin Custer), a twenty-something girl looking for a job, answers the mortuary’s help wanted sign. It takes relatively little time before Sam gets the job, and Mr. Dark starts telling her stories. There are four different tales altogether, entitled The Medicine Cabinet, Unprotected, Till Death, and finally, The Babysitter Murders.
“…a twenty-something girl looking for a job, answers the mortuary’s help wanted sign.”
Christine Kilmer plays Emma in The Medicine Cabinet, a story of snooping gone terribly wrong. In Unprotected, Jacob Elordi once again proves to be a master of teenage villainy –have y’all seen Euphoria on HBO? Please watch it if not– as Jake, a womanizing frat-boy who thinks he’s met another notch on his bedpost in Sandra (Ema Horvath). Til Death follows Wendell Owens (Barak Hardley) and his wife Carol (Sarah Hay), who seemingly have the perfect married life. But Carol falls into a long term comatose state. In The Babysitter Murders, our mortician’s assistant, Sam, finally gets her own story.
All four of the vignettes follow the logic that every bad act gets repaid. Sam doesn’t agree with Montgomery that all stories are so black and white. A lot of the dialogue between the two of them could be seen as a critique of other anthology movies and all storytelling formats in general. There are meta moments, such as when Spindell puts his short film, The Babysitter Murders, in the background of another short film by the same title. Altogether the stories are extremely satisfying, just like a good episode of Tales From The Crypt with which this film definitely has a love affair.
So if you do find yourself entertained by short films filled with blood, guts, creatures, and morality tales–don’t forget the morality tales–then you will undoubtedly love The Mortuary Collection as much as I did. It’s a pastiche of all the good anthologies we had back in the day, such as Tales From The Crypt, Creep Show, and more. It’s a perfect Halloween watch brought to us by Shudder, which manages to continuously put out good quality genre content.
"…filled with blood, guts, creatures, and morality tales..."