Monday, December 28, 2009

Mindless Movie Monday: Mortuary

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
WTF, Tobe Hooper?

I'm not saying I was expecting another Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a Poltergeist (though some might say it's really Spielberg's movie), or even another The Funhouse, okay?
But I was expecting a wee bit of dignity from a man who helped define the horror genre with TCM.

Oh well.

Mortuary (2005) tells the tale of the Doyle family - Mom Leslie (Denise Crosby), teenage son Jonathan (Dan Byrd), and daughter (whose name already escapes me).

("Another movie with a haunted cemetery? Yeah, I guess I could...")

With the father dead and out of the picture, they've come to a small town in California so Mom can put her newly earned mortician license to work. They buy an abandoned funeral home that comes with its own nasty local legend.
The house is an absolute and utter wreck. Leaking faucets with brown water, backed up sewage in the front yard, black fungus all over the walls...let alone the boards in the porch and steps are barely there. No self-respecting parent would move their kids into a shit-hole like this one. Yikes.

(Fixer-upper doesn't begin to cover it...)

Legend states that the land and house are haunted, and that an evil creature/zombie/monster/whatever still lurks in the adjacent creepy cemetery.
Right. Nothing new there.

So Jonathan gets a job at the nearby diner, makes some new friends, smokes some weed, and wanders around the property, eventually falling prey to the power of suggestion and the rumors that surround the place. He and his new buddies discover something does indeed lie in wait on the graveyard grounds.

(she seems to share my unmitigated opinion on this stinker)

When a trio of (very annoying and very stereotyped) gothy-slash-punk teens go missing, Jonathan and Co. find a catacombs of sorts running under the house/cemetery and what surprises them down there is, I guess, the entire implied fright in the film. Whatever.
(This was done so much better in last weeks Mindless Monday, Hell Night.)

("we should have stuck to being Avril Lavingne's backup singers!")

To earmark this as strictly a "zombie" feature would be falling short. It is an odd bird, with Denise Crosby capping off the weirdness with her less than stellar mortician skills and all around irritatingly blasé attitude. The way she acts when performing her duties is what scared me the most. In a serious breach of privacy, ethics, - and all around good manners - she allows her son and his friends to "check out the body" of one of her expired wards.
Say what?
And her unbelieveable lack of aptitude and ability for the task at hand is downright appalling. Perhaps this was meant as comic relief? God I hope so. But the fact that I'm not really sure should speak volumes about the validity of this as an actual horror movie.

(is that observant walking corpse wearing a diaper?)

Then there's the congealed black "X-Files-ish" gunk that seems to be growing all over the house. What gives with that shit? I guess it's supposed to be the creepy---- , but it really looked like icky black mold that would put you in the hospital for an extended stay if you were to inhale too much of it or even worse, have it creep onto you like that crap from 'The Raft' segment of Creepshow 2.
Eventually people start actually spewing the black gunk and the film wanders into campy Evil Dead territory. Wait, hold it. Not really. I mean, I liked The Evil Dead.
In all reality, the black crap looks like that silly string kids squirt out all over each other.

("But they told me it was a Tobe Hooper film, dammit!")

And for reasons only vaguely explained, Mom becomes I'm not sure what to call it - possessed? - and begins acting (only slightly) crazier than she already was. The scene at the dinner table was trying to show shades of Texas Chainsaw but failed miserably.

(Blood. It's what's for dinner!)

Fact of the matter is, Mortuary is not a scary movie. Premiering on the Sci-Fi Channel ought to tell you right there that you're in PG-13 stomping grounds. Though better than the average fare that station serves up, it still lacks a lot. I'm not a big fan of Crosby - she'll always be Rachel Creed to me. And I think her acting lacks depth and certainly this movie does not improve her credibility.
Frankly, she annoys me.

("I'm ready for my close up, Mr. Deville.")

Thankfully, I got this in the bargain bin.

HorrorBlips: vote it up!


Anonymous said...

This movie is so incredibly terrible. And the pit that is the main source of the black goop looked EXACTLY like the Sarlacc from Star Wars.

Franco Macabro said...

Tobe Hooper...its so sad that his films have gone down in quality so drastically.

For me, his movies were watchable upto Spontanious Combustion, but even in that one he was showing signs of exhaustion as a director.

Dont know what happened to him from TCM to this...but its sad!! He is legendary in the horror world for TCM and has made other great horror films like Poltergeist, The Funhouse...I freaking LOVE Lifeforce...but what the hell has happened to him?

That killer crocodile movie he did, what an embarassment! I want to see this, but simply out of curiosity. Just to see how far he has fallen...too bad.

: said...

Another great review!

Agreed on all counts. It's a shame this one couldn't have been at least "so-bad-it's-good", 'cause I think the actor who played the teenage son is very talented. I thought he was wonderful in the HILLS HAVE EYES remake, at least.