Hello! Yes, it’s Burl here with another review, this time of the mad killer movie Mortuary, from way back in the early 80s! It was released in 1983, but I’m pretty sure it was actually made a couple of years before that!
I had the poster for this one hanging in my room, and both the poster and the trailer for the movie make it seem like some kind of zombie picture, but really it’s a slasher movie set in sunny Malibu or somewhere like that! The trailer featured notorious nice guy Michael Berryman as a gravedigger who gets pulled under the ground, but there’s no such scene in the movie, and Michael Berryman isn’t even in it! Too bad, ha ha!
But Christopher George and Linda Day George, the First Couple of exploitation movies, are in it, and they both do their standard professional jobs! Linda doesn’t get a chance to wave her arms and shout “Bastard!” like she does in Pieces, but she gets a few decent scenes, and a very bloody death indeed! Bill Paxton is also in the movie, and the moment where he tra-la-las his way across a graveyard is certainly one of the finest of his career, along with that John Hughes movie where he turned into a pile of poo!
It seems that young Christie’s psychiatrist dad has been bonked on the head to death by person or persons unknown, and that everybody but Christie thinks it was merely a poolside accident! Other people begin vanishing mysteriously, but we know they’ve been murdered by a person in a white mask and a black cape who’s wielding a trocar, which is the big long needle used in embalming! (The same instrument is used as a weapon in Funeral Home!) We also see Christopher George conducting weird rituals, and there seems to be some sort of conspiracy afoot to make Christie think she’s going crazy – a conspiracy her own mother appears to be a part of!
For the first half or so this movie seems much more mysterious and complicated than it is – they really do manage to keep you wondering what’s going on! But things that appeared to be subplots are simply forgotten about; a group of Christie’s friends are introduced in a great scene at a disco roller rink, and instead of becoming one-by-one victims as we might expect, they just disappear; and a fat sheriff shows up only to vanish without a trace!
All of that is somewhat regrettable, but at least there was the forty-five minutes or so where at least you thought all that stuff was going somewhere! Turns out there’s just one crazy guy behind it all! There is a little extra twist at the very end, which will make the movie seem extra familiar to those who’ve seen Pieces, and in fact the whole climax is very similar to Happy Birthday To Me, which, like this picture, starred one of the actresses from the beloved TV program Little House On The Prairie! Ha ha, it’s all so delightful!
I give Mortuary two pokes with the trocar, along with a bonus ha ha! for the scenes involving Bill Paxton! Plenty of goofy laughs may be found in this picture, so be sure to have some good pals and plenty of beer and marijuana at hand when you watch it! Ha ha!