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On the cusp of retirement, an eccentric mortician recounts several of the strangest stories he’s encountered in his long career, but things take a turn for the phantasmagorical when he learns that the final story – is his own.

Cast:  Clancy Brown, Caitlin Custer, Christine Kilmer, Jacob Elordi, Ema Horvath, Jennifer Irwin, James Bachman, Barak Hardley, Sarah Hay, Ben Heathcoat, Mike C. Nelson

Directors: Ryan Spindell
Writers: Ryan Spindell

Horror anthologies can be very hit or miss. Getting the framing for the collection right is as important as the shorts and the order they’re told in. The fabled Tales From the Crypt is as popular for its host as it is its stories. On both these elements, I’m happy to say that The Mortuary Collection succeeds. Not only is the base story and narrator engaging, but there’s not a dud in the collection of stories to be seen. 

A make-up heavy Clancy Brown plays our would-be narrator. Montgomery Dark is the head mortician in a small town with an apparently high death count. It’s when Sam (a charming Caitlin Custer) comes to apply for the vacant position that Dark decides to test her ability to stomach death with stories that grow in length and their dire nature. 

Some dead things still move in this morgue

Some dead things still move in this morgue

The first is less of a story and more a warm-up. A young thief gets trapped in a bathroom and some would say gets what she’s deserved. It’s a short taste tester and Sam even calls Dark out for it is not too deep in character or featuring many interesting scares. From there Dark’s love for macabre sends Sam down the paths of a teen who learns to use protection, a horrific twist of fate for a married man and finally, a bloody night a babysitter won’t forget. It all culminates in a huge pay off for both Dark and Sam who come to learn things about each other on the journey. 

Director Ryan Spindell includes and repurposes his 2015 short ‘The Babysitter Murders’ here in a very smart way. The film culminates with that short as the finale in a well-played chess-game happening behind the scenes unbeknownst to the viewer. 

Releasing onto Shudder in time for Halloween, The Mortuary Collection is a very welcome addition to the spooky festivities. No, it’s not the scariest film, but it’s a lot of fun and in that regard, it reminded me a lot of Trick ‘r Treat. Super-fun, great direction, solid stories, well-acted and packaged together in a neat and bloody package. You can tell Clancy Brown was having a blast and so was Caitlin Custer and sitting at home, so was I.

The Mortuary Collection is streaming on Shudder from October 15th.


(The Mortuary Collection screener provided for review)