On a dark and spooky day, atop a dark and spooky hill, sits a dark and spooky house inhabited by a dark and spooky mortician. Welcome to The Mortuary Collection.
When a young woman attends a funeral in the strange, expansive old mortuary, she stumbles upon a room of curious tomes and meets the ominous mortician that cares for the dead. Under the guise of looking for a job, the woman allows herself to be guided through the mortician's collection of the macabre. Each part of the collection tells the story of a corpse. Who they were, how they died, and (most importantly) why Death took them.
The Mortuary Collection stars Caitlin Custer, Christine Kilmer, Jacob Elordi, Barak Hardley, and Clancy Brown (who is absolutely FABULOUS in this!). The anthology horror by writer and director Ryan Spindell originally premiered at the 2019 Fantastic Fest film festival in Austin, TX, before finding a home on the horror streaming service Shudder.
Horror anthologies have become increasingly popular over the years, and for good reason. From Tales in the Hood to Trick ’r Treat, anthologies are a perfect vehicle for delivering a feeling and a vibe without allowing the scares to be bogged down. Anthologies are a highlight reel and practically designed for the popcorn viewings of a good spooky movie night at home. The Mortuary Collection is not as heavily thematic as some of the aforementioned anthologies, but instead offers up a buffet of unique stories. These short stories are worth telling and they find their home in The Mortuary Collection.
In the spooky stories department, I’m a big believer in accessibility and that’s an area where The Mortuary Collection excels. Yes, for us longtime genre fans, there is a high tolerance built up for horror. But it’s also true that some of the most fun horror viewing is done with a mixed crowd of the bloodthirsty, the squeamish, and the virginal eyes. The Mortuary Collection evokes the nostalgia of something like Tales from the Crypt, creating a spooky thread that is fun for any viewer. The scares are accessible, delivering gross and inventive kills for fans of horror, but stopping just short of alienating the less gore-inclined.
The Mortuary Collection is frightening, but it’s also damn funny! A key component of softening the horror impact is by approaching every strange and twisted tale with a great sense of humor. It’s silly… and smart.
Horror has always been inherently political, especially when it comes to social and gender commentary. The Mortuary Collection does not dwell on this aspect of horror, but it certainly understands it. For the seasoned viewer, The Mortuary Collection flips the script and plays with the genre’s favorite tropes in a way that speaks with authority. This film is more than just an atmospheric romp through spooky storytelling and that’s so appreciated.
You’d be hard-pressed to find an audience that The Mortuary Collection can’t appeal to. For devoted genre fans, it’s a bloody frolicking venture into all things spooky. For horror tourists in search of an October watch, The Mortuary Collection gives a delectable sample of the best gooey bits. Pairs well with popcorn and a shiver down the spine! A fun watch that I can happily recommend.
Movie Score: 3/5
The Mortuary Collection is streaming now on Shudder!