Be Sure You Are Really Dead!

MORTUARY (1983)

Good looking Mary Beth McDonough (best known to old farts as Erin from“The Waltons”) stars as a dimwitted teenage girl named Christie who mourns the mysterious death of her father by wondering around at night in her skimpy nightgown. It appears that ever since her Daddy got a bonk on the noggin from an unseen assailant and drowned in the backyard pool that Christie has become a chronic sleepwalker. Christie on the other hand is convinced that her mother (Lynda Day George of “Pieces” infamy) is trying to drive her insane. Things get even more complicated for the already terminally confused Christie when a lunatic in a black death shroud begins stalking after her with a knife.

In desperation, Christie turns to her blonde doofus boyfriend Greg (a blonde doofus named David Wallace – who also starred in the cult clas-sick “Humongous”) for help. The wacky kids laugh in the face of death and crank up some disco, which causes Christie to exclaim “Hey Boogieman – Let’s Boogie!” Greg keeps himself busy after school stealing tires from a warehouse, stumbling upon a séance being led by non other than Christopher George, and looking for his missing (dead) best friend. The search ends at the roller disco. Need I say more? Needless to say, much hilarity and roller-padding quickly ensue. Watch out for the token comic relief fat guy.

The legendary Christopher George plays an angry asshole mortician and funeral home owner named Hank Andrews. Hank also owns the warehouse that Greg and his buddy like to steal tires from, and heads up a coven of witches that apparently includes Christie’s mom. Hank’s son Paul (a fresh faced and already completely insane Bill Paxton!) is a fruity little weirdo who also happens to have a big crush on Christie. Greg thinks Paul is a creep, but Christie has a soft spot for the harmless loser who prances and skips with delight after talking to her. Christie and Greg try to find out what her mother and Hank are really up to, and as the title might have already clued you in – it all ends with a deadly confrontation inside a mortuary…where NO ONE rests in peace!

Christopher George AND Bill Paxton in the same fucking movie?!? Playing a psycho father and son duo no less? This one is Brain Hammer approved in a BIG way! Christopher turns in another great, angry and irritable performance. One of the many highlights of the film is Christopher snarling “Get out of here before I embalm you!” at his blonde pretty boy co-star. Speaking of co-stars, Bill Paxton completely steals the show here. His performance is…unique, to say the least. This film is perhaps best known for the short yet sweet moment where Bill shows off his new classical music record and then SKIPS through a graveyard on a quest to put some flowers on his mommy’s grave. It’s such a bizarre little moment in slasher history.

Sadly, that’s about the only slasher history MORTUARY makes. The rest of the film is somewhat predictable and is hampered by a thin body count. There’s also a bit too much disco in this one for my tastes. Flicks like“Mortuary” and “Prom Night” were probably cutting edge at the time for featuring hot and happening sounds, but now they come off as painfully dated. The “who done it” aspect of the film isn’t exactly riveting either. The cast consists of about six people, and one of them is clearly insane. But somehow I doubt anyone would watch this one for the mystery. Perverts will be happy to know that Mary Beth McDonough gets naked in this movie and has a fuck scene on a bear skin rug. This is a must see flick if you ever had fantasies about plowing Erin Walton’s bean field.

Oddly enough, the trailer and cover art for “Mortuary” are a bit more interesting than the film itself. The incredibly cool trailer for the film included no footage at all from the movie, and instead featured the one and only Michael Berryman of “The Hills Have Eyes” legend as a creepy looking gravedigger who gets pulled into a fresh grave by undead hands. This madness was accompanied by one of the all time great ominous voice over narrations:

Before your funeral…Before you are buried…before you are covered with the last shovelful of dirt…Be sure you are REALLY dead!”

Scorpion Releasing recently released MORTUARY on dvd as part of their Katarina’s Nightmare Theater series. As with the other entries in this series, viewers have the option of watching the film with or without wraparound host segments starring former WWE skank Katarina LeighWaters. The special features consist of the film’s trailer and an interview with composer John Cacavas. This one isn’t exactly overflowing with goodies, but I couldn’t care less. I’m happy to finally have this flick on dvd, and I can now retire my dvd-r copy, which hilariously enough came from a crappy high speed VHS copy of the film that I bought at Walmart. (the first thing I ever bought at Wallyworld!) The title “Mortuary” is now easily confused with the unrelated Tobe Hooper film of the same name which sucked, so make sure that you are buying the right flick. Paxton demands it!

KEEP THE BLOOD FLOWING!!!    

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