For anyone that is a fan of horror, it is almost inevitable they will encounter some sort of anthology movie. From VHS to Trick r Treat, these movies take small bite size horror stories and string them together in fun and exciting ways. Now showing at the 2020 Fantasia Festival, The Mortuary Collection is one such film that hits all the right notes to make it an instant classic that delivers on the anthology concept in a darkly beautiful way.
Set in a stylized small town America, The Mortuary Collection tasks Montgomery Dark (Clancy Brown) with looking over the dead, and keeps the stories of their passing the countless books that litter the halls of the Raven’s End Mortuary. When a young woman seeks a job (Caitlin Fisher), it sets into motion a look at the untimely passing of many of the clients of the Mortuary, and a set of tales both stylized and fantastical.
Spanning decades, the tales in The Mortuary Collection are as stunning to look at, as they are fantastical to behold. From the set design, to the cinematography, this is a film that bleeds style out of every frame. It is hard to not find a striking image from any part of the movie, and that fantastical energy elevates The Mortuary Collection to something far more exciting than a run-of-the-mill anthology.
Each story in the collection feels unique and crafted to be filled with a life all their own. From the stunning symmetry of the first story to the brutal surreal sadness of the third, every tale in The Mortuary Collection offers a striking and beautiful mini treat for the eyes and the ears. From a morality tale I am purposefully being vague on these descriptions to ensure anyone looking to watch the movie goes in as blind as possible to take in what the filmmakers have put into every frame.
Perhaps the most exciting of the stories is one that turns the babysitter home invasion story on it’s head. It has some truly twisted scenes that blend action and gore in a perfect balance. It works as a strong ending segment that not only blends the framing device into the narrative but manages to keep ramping up the tension to a satisfying crescendo of violence, gore and dark storytelling.
Writer/director Ryan Spindell has crafted a movie filled to the brim with character and style, from the opening segment, to the final story of the collection, there is a marvellous sense of purpose to all aspects of The Mortuary Collection. It blends gore, shock and creatures into a tapestry of horror that is quite unlike anything else currently out there in the genre. It is what I desperately wanted Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark to be, yet somehow this movie captures that feeling in a more graphic, dynamic way that other filmmakers should take note of.
Beautiful, twisted, and dark, The Mortuary Collection is a masterpiece of horror fiction, and one that will infect the hearts and minds of any fear seekers ready to give it a watch. Ryan Spindell has built a horrific world that is as mesmerizing and it is shocking. For anyone that loves a bloody journey that never takes itself too seriously, add The Mortuary Collection to your must watch list, you won’t be disappointed.