If you want to make a good horror film then it’s important to choose a suitable backdrop. Cabins in woods and very old houses are particular favourites with genre filmmakers around the world. If you’re going to tell a story then you need an atmospheric and complimentary setting. Given the clientele, mortuaries have also proved popular. This setting has been deftly employed recently in The Autopsy of Jane Doe and The Nighshifter. Ryan Spindell’s new anthology, The Mortuary Collection, uses a funeral home as its base.
After the funeral of a young child, Sam (Caitlin Custer) stays behind and approaches the mortician Montgomery Dark (Clancy Brown) about a vacant position. He’s dubious at first but she challenges him to tell his scariest story about his former clients. He tells three. Tales about a thief getting their comeuppance, a frat boy getting a lesson in safe sex and a husband with a difficult choice to make. She counters with a fable of her own about a babysitter stalked by an escapee from the local asylum.
At this point when reviewing an anthology I’d normally type something along the lines of ‘it’s a mixed bag’ or ‘that some sections are stronger than others’. Well, not in the case of The Mortuary Collection. It’s probably the best portmanteau horror I’ve seen. It’s beautifully shot, for starters. Each segment has its own unique personality, whilst steadily building up to the finale. The verbal swordplay between Custer and Brown is much more than just a sideshow as well. The Mortuary Collection is great fun.
The Mortuary Collection screens at Fantasia Festival.