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Film Review: Mortuary
By John Marrone
Mar 19, 2006, 14:40

After having the priviledge of seeing Tobe Hooper's Mortuary in an audience full of horror enthusiasts, its kind of a shame to see it go to the graveyard of not-to-be-widely-distributed films - the SciFi Channel.    At this viewing, we all had a great time laughing out loud and watching the thinner skinned viewers jump in their seats.  Mortuary was laughable, but still shocking in the theater.  I dont know if that will be the effect when its shown to you on a television in the living room when it airs Saturday night.

In Mortuary - which is not related to, in any way, the 1983 Bill Paxton film of the same name - a small family (mom, teenage son, and young daughter) are moving across country to a new job opportunity.  A run down, abandoned funeral home is the locale flashing memories of scenery from Texas Chainsaw Massacre. This place is disgusting and the septic tanks ooze sludge into the yard, into the house, nothing works, cracks, mildew everywhere... The kids are discouraged, but soon they find themselves trying to make the best of it all. The locals fear the place where in the sewer and soil lives an evil fungus which is hungry for every drop of blood available in the mortuary.  Bobby has survived by feeding the black ooze and soon all hell breaks loose.

Tobe is known, in my book, for showing no mercy to his victims, who usually die horrible violent deaths and his filmmaking doesn't waste time with people lumbering around halls looking for "what's there" for very long.  Mortuary is a dark film that had its finger on a good scare factor, but its guilty of not taking itself serious enough.  Tobe's style of mixing in so many different plot angles actually worked, but laughs and sillyness made this more of a adventurous romp than a nail biting gut wrencher. 

On the flip side, its a kind-of successful blend of the two.  For soon after chuckling at the caretaker who introduces them to the property, the dead are being reanimated and people are vomiting black scum all over the place.  Fans of the "living dead" should be pleased with the respect paid to certain scenes.  The embalming room and casket room both hold solid scares.  Tobe really put a good, original slant on the zombie routine and made it his own. Kudos to the special effects department as well. I worked in embalming rooms growing up and some of those cadavers looked real.

Final Analysis:  Its one of Tobe's better works in the past few years, so if you've been discouraged by the last few films, Mortuary should prove to be a fan's relief.  Prepare for an original tale of horror, filmed at another great Tobe Hooper location (a decrepidly scenic, actual closed down funeral home) that gives the eyes a great home for the next 90 minutes.  Dan Byrd is simply a natural and is more likable than most others who could have tried his role, so he lends that attachability that will keep your ears peeled to the story at hand.  Overall, its a great horror tale that was a near-miss at being a great new original horror beast at the theaters.   Mortuary will air on the SciFi Channel, Saturday March 25th at 9pm (EST)

OFFICIAL SITE - includes trailer (windows media/quicktime) 

VIDEO INTERVIEW (real media) - Jace Anderson and Adam Giersch, who wrote Tobe Hooper's upcoming zombie horror flick, Mortuary (provided by Horror.About.Com)  



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