Mortuary

Ah the wonderful world of 80’s horror. Let’s jump right in to this little ditty from 1983.

mortuary_poster
THE POSTER:
There’s a lot to love about this poster. It’s a simple, striking image that’s easy to understand and gets the message across really quickly. It’s an iconic hand reaching up, bursting forth from its grave with the classic headstone behind it. We aren’t distracted by anything in the background or extra little details hidden here and there. We know exactly what’s coming and it’s dead.

I like the way the text is used on the headstone and the fact that the poster really doesn’t give much away about the movie. Since this came out in 1983, if I think about it in that context it’s right on the cusp of the 80’s zombie revival. So it wouldn’t have seemed cliché.

If I were going to take this poster to task for anything it would simply be that the name of the movie is mortuary and we don’t actually see a mortuary in the poster. Text on the gravestone lets us know what the connection is so I don’t think this is really so bad. I’m not sure about the speed lines coming off of the hand but they serve the illustrative purpose of letting us know that the hand is bursting forth with a lot of power and energy and it’s coming  up quickly. It would be easy to imagine this as a gif. So as horror movie posters go, this one is close to the top of my list.

THE GOOD:
Hey! Bill Paxton is in this! Awesome. Granted he plays a total dingbat but he’s still awesome.

Ok so the plot follows the story of the daughter of a man whose death was ruled accidental but who she believes was murdered. She has dreams about it, turns detective and goes looking for the real murderer.

THE BAD
– Everything I said about the poster up above? I very nearly have to take it back. I admit, I got tricked. This is NOT a zombie movie. It’s a psycho killer movie. And it’s not one of those movies where it seems like a zombie or an undead killer and it turns out not to be, no no. You are never in doubt throughout the film as to exactly what is going on and there are NO zombies involved.

Only once in the movie do they hint at the dead coming back to life and when they do, it lasts about two seconds and is nothing like what we saw on the poster, nothing like a zombie movie and a bit of a cop out as we are told that that person’s death was faked and they weren’t really dead in the first place.

– Early in the movie two boys stumble upon an occult ritual so badly acted that they aren’t even freaked out or impressed by it. Neither is the audience but as you can guess, everything goes down hill from there. Murder ensues and the body count starts ticking.

– The killers weapon of choice is an embalming tool. It just seems gimmicky to me. Why not a knife? Or a club, maybe a gun. An embalming tool? There are better weapons out there.

– There are some pretty glaring logical gaps in this movie, or at least characters lacking common sense. I know that’s not really the most uncommon thing in these types of movies but I am continuously baffled by how some of these ideas managed to get through the writing process and into the script. How did anyone think that these scenarios made sense.

Here’s an example. Put yourself in this situation:
Your girlfriend was followed by a dude in a car and then someone tried to kill her. She’s having a huge fight with her mother, and the lights go out in her house so you decide to what? Comfort her? Make sure she’s ok? No you hide in the dark and try to scare the bejesus out of her. Dumb ass main character is a dumb ass.

– Your daughter stabs at an intruder through a window and you admit to her that in fact it might have been that crazy boy who has always been psychotically obsessed with her since his mother died. You hear a noise and say . . . . Let’s call the cops? C’mon we have to get out of here? Nope. In fact she says it was probably just the wind.

WTF!!? This is why I’m not an actor or a writer. I’d never be able to put up with this bullpucky.

THE UGLY
– Like a lot of B movies from the time the music is pretty horrible. Only the Mozart is passable but it’s a public domain piece that was too easy for them to use and doesn’t really fit the tone of the movie.

MY FAVORITE QUOTE
What are you waiting for? Get out of here before I embalm YOU!

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Mike Kloran

Educational Designer from Brooklyn New York. I'm a teacher, an artist, an athlete and constantly doing, making, drawing, creating! It's a busy life but I'm doing what I love and that's what matters most to me!

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