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Pretty Christie (Mary Beth McDonough) is certain that someone killed her father (Danny Rogers). The police think it was an accident and her mother (Lynda Day George) agrees, to the point where she is already spending time with the handsome mortician, Mr. Andrews (Christopher George). Andrews’ weird son, Paul (Bill Paxton) has a crush on Christie and now she keeps seeing a cloaked figure following her. Is it just hallucinations caused by grief?…or is someone stalking Christie with harmful intent?
Written and directed by Howard Avedis, this is an odd but fun 80s horror flick. We know from the opening scenes that Christie is not imagining things and her father was murdered and that there is something very odd going on involving Andrews and his mortuary. The film tries to play like a whodunnit, but it’s not too hard to figure out what is going on and who is involved, as Christie and boyfriend Greg (David Wallace) try to solve the mystery Scooby Doo style, complete with blonde Greg having a van. There is some bloodshed as our mysterious cloaked figure makes his way closer and closer to Christie, killing anyone in his way. Other than that, the body count is minimal and the film more atmospheric chiller than 80s slasher. Avedis does give the film a mood of dread and while there is little suspense or intensity, there are some well-staged action scenes and a few amusing red herrings leading up to the over-the-top mortuary/warehouse set climax. It’s a moderately entertaining flick, overall, even if you can see the big reveal coming a mile away.
The cast are fine for this type of flick. Mary Beth McDonough is a pretty and resourceful heroine. She has a fighting spirit and it’s alsmot a shame she spends a good part of the loopy climax unconscious. David Wallace is a solid hero as boyfriend Greg. He gives him a sense of loyalty to Christie and conveys his feelings for her well. He also comes to the rescue appropriately when she is a damsel in distress at the climax. Lynda Day George is fine as Christie’s doubting, self-absorbed mother, but makes her caring enough that she doesn’t become the stereotypical selfish shrew. Christopher George gives his Mr. Andrews an air of mystery as the mortuary owner who also runs seances on the side. Rounding out the main cast, young Bill Paxton is a hoot as Andrews’ son, Paul, who is an odd young man with a crush on Christie. He gets a large part in the action at the climax and is entertainingly over-the-top.
Mortuary is a moderately fun and entertaining 80s horror. It has a minimal body count, with modest bloodletting and plays out more like a Scooby Doo mystery complete with blonde hero with a van and the literal unmasking of the villain. He would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for those darn kids! Fun and worth a look for 80s horror fans.
Rated 3 (out of 4) embalming trocars…see the flick was educational, too!