Friends, as we are basically in the middle of this Holiday season – we fright fans are continuing to reap a bounty of horror films and television series. From the likes of Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, and of course Shudder – these streaming services have been releasing a wonderful collection of vintage, contemporary, and brand new horror treats fitting for this most spooky of seasons. The Mortuary Collection just debuted on Shudder this morning – a horror anthology in the vein of Trick r Treat, Asylum, and of course Creepshow to name a few. This film which was written and directed by Ryan Spindell (Two Sentence Horror Stories, 50 States of Fright) totally flew under my radar until just last week, when I happened to catch the trailer for it on Shudder’s YouTube channel. The fact that Clancy Brown (Highlander, The Shawshank Redemption) was starring in it was the first thing that made me sit up and take notice. But it was the brief and stylistic look of the film – with it’s promise of monstrous and madcap mayhem that made The Mortuary Collection a movie that I longed to get the chance to see.
First of all, I am happy to report that the film did not disappoint – although I will cop to I am possibly an easy sell when it comes to horror anthologies. Having said that though, from just the opening, I was hooked – because the style and look of the film that takes place in the mythical town of Raven’s End is intoxicating. This is especially true within the confines of the Raven’s End mortuary – the home and place of work for Montgomery Dark (Brown) – who is a collector of stories, from those that pass into his care. And judging by the massive library located… somewhere… in the mortuary, Raven’s End is home to all manner of monsters and devilishly delightful deviants.
After all, as Dark comments on in the trailer for The Mortuary Collection:
“Every corpse tells a story. It is our task to listen.”
That is the setup for The Mortuary Collection of course, stories, and the premise of the anthology is that Dark has an unexpected arrival – a young woman named Sam (Caitlin Custer) who is interested in being hired as an assistant. But first she wants to hear about the types of stories that Montgomery Dark has in his collection – the strangest and scariest tales he might be able to regale her with. Which allows him to share three stories with the young woman, three different and horrifying accounts of those whose life’s journey has ended up at the Raven’s End mortuary.
Interestingly enough it appears that each of the stories happens to be a period piece – starting with the first tale taking place in what I assume is the 50s, with the following occurring in the 60s, and then with the third offering being in the 70s. The fourth one is different as after listening to Dark, Sam feels like she can top his spooky stories with a tale of her own choosing… set in the 80s of course. As for the fifth story, it is a long-standing practice in horror anthologies that the connecting segments between the tales themselves act as a story too, right?
The Mortuary Collection is really a fun horror anthology and I consider it a must-see to say the very least. It has an abundance of style and the cast of each of the segments really deliver – although it is both Brown and Custer who perhaps are deserving of the most praise . As a matter of fact, Caitlin was in The Babysitter Murders short film by Spindell in 2015 – which is the basis of her character’s tale by the way and a nice nod to the original title for John Carpenter’s Halloween of course. Brown is obviously having a blast as Montgomery Dark – his character feels like a throwback to the original CryptKeeper from EC Comics Tales from the Crypt. Although I agree with the esteemed Rockford Jay, who after watching the trailer remarked that he is also channeling a little of the late and great Angus Scrimm’s performance as the Tall Man from Don Coscarelli’s Phantasm series!
So if you are looking for something spooky and fun to watch this Holiday season – why not pay a visit to the Raven’s End mortuary and check out The Mortuary Collection?