24th Aug2020

Fantasia 2020: ‘The Mortuary Collection’ Review

by Chris Cummings

Stars: Clancy Brown, Caitlin Custer, Christine Kilmer, Jacob Elordi, Ema Horvath, Jennifer Irwin, James Bachman, Barak Hardley, Sarah Hay, Ben Hethcoat, Mike C. Nelson | Written and Directed by Ryan Spindell

Writer and director Ryan Spindell (Kirksdale) delivers to us a new entry into the world of anthology-based horror with The Mortuary Collection. The film takes a funeral home as its central location, a proven setting in the world of horror films.

The film, in my mind, immediately harkened back to such anthology delights as Tales from the Crypt, with Clancy Brown (The Shawshank Redemption, Starship Troopers) delivering a wonderfully energised performance as Montgomery Dark, the mortician. He’s a hoot in the role and it really pulls the whole film along in an enjoyable way, with his delivery as this central host-type figure. Now, believe me, I’ve seen my fair share of passable or even terrible portmanteau horror, but The Mortuary Collection drew me in quickly and certainly didn’t disappoint.

There’s an indie budget at play here, but the film is slick and crafted very nicely and looks really good. If you’re a horror lover, there’s likely something to tantalise your tastebuds here, with stories spanning different decades taking place all while a kid is interviewing for a job in Montgomery Dark’s Mortuary. Whether it’s a tale of a husband forced to make a difficult choice or a frat boy encountering a very dangerous girl, there’s some fun, horror-taining blasts of dark enjoyment to be found within this funeral home. Its ever-changing atmosphere with each story helps to keep things fresh, which is always a nice touch. This isn’t a “same old, same old” situation, and I was thankful for that.

I really liked the way the stories in The Mortuary Collection happened, it felt seamless and easy, not shoehorned in awkwardly like can sometimes be the case in anthology films. The script, performances, stories and direction all work harmoniously together to create a damn fine slice of horror in the guise of an almost old-school anthology. I had a lot of fun with The Mortuary Collection and found that, for a change, there wasn’t a massively obvious weak-link in the tales it contained. I often watch an anthology and watch the credits whilst thinking “that story was easily the worst”, but this time around I just enjoyed this from beginning to end.

A success, then, for sure, and one of those releases I can see becoming a staple for many come Halloween season, like other top notch anthologies such as Tales from the Crypt, Creepshow and Trick ‘r Treat have before it.

**** 4/5

The Mortuary Collection screens as part of this years Fantasia Festival, which takes place August 20th – September 2nd 2020.

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