The Mortuary Collection : ‘Fantasia’ Review – Anthology of Horror Stories that take you by surprise
It has been quite a while since we got a good horror comedy that too in an anthology format where each story increases its gore, violence, and its element of surprise. Writer/director Ryan Spindell sends us on a journey inside tales of horror, which are dark, twisted, and kinda awesome. The Mortuary Collection fruition into a feature is a long time coming since Ryan Spindell presented it at Fantasia’s Frontières Marketplace in 2013, and shot the babysitter story as a stand-alone short that played festivals two years later.
The Mortuary Collection has your attention from the opening frame itself. The haunting score, a small town that can be read in a Stephen King’s novel and finally arriving at a big old lonely house where the children are quite afraid to step in. The doors open and we are welcomed inside mortician Montgomery Dark (Clancy Brown) giving obituary for a departed soul. Enters a young woman, Sam (Caitlin Custer) who asks Montgomery about the job opening and challenges him to tell the scariest stories about death that he has witnessed in his position and what follows is four short stories. The first story is about a woman at a party who is a thief and while counting her night’s capture she stumbles upon door behind the mirror which ends on the note of, Don’t put your nose where it doesn’t belong.
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Unsatisfied with the scare element of the story and its short length, Sam insists Montgomery for another tale which is quite a familiar one about a college boy who comes to regrets his one nightstand. While it has its twist, the story came with social commentary but still not providing the highest order of dark, twisty, and kinda awesome Sam needed from a story. Moving to the next story about a man, caring for his sick wife leading into his final moments of patience where he takes a step that plunges into one comedy of error after another with blood spread all around and spinning into one twist after another.
Now we come to the part where Sam takes the seat of the storyteller as she takes us back to the period where the horror stories consisted of Baby Sitters, slashing, and haunting electronic score. This is the story where the movie pulls out everything, the suspense, violence, horror, and the twist that leads into the final segment. From the start of the movie, Ryan Spindell kind of sprinkles the build-up that will lead to a finale to be remembered for. While we have to go through some stretched and boring parts of three stories, the final two make everything worth.
The film itself is self-aware of its elements and the limitations it has. Ryan goes all-in trying to get that flavor of humor, horror, twist with a dash of social commentary and visual effects of the story. The visuals composed by cinematography by Elie Smolkin are quite mesmerizing to look at. For example, the final sequence that took place during the man and his wife’s story segment. The baby sitter story had a composite look of that era which made it quite a cinematic experience. The score by Mondo Boys reminded me of It Follows with a dash of Cliff Martinez.
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The Mortuary Collection takes you back to the time of your childhood when you were intrigued to listen to a scary story before you went to sleep. It is an entertaining watch for all horror fans and others too. It takes you by surprise with every segment, offering you the pleasure of humor, exciting storytelling, gore, violence, its stylish presentation, and ending on quite a bloody note.