5.2/10
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44 user 40 critic

Mortuary (1983)

Convinced that her father's death was not accidental, a beautiful girl decides to investigate to find out the truth, aided by her boyfriend. Her sleuthing draws her to a local mortuary, where many secrets will be revealed.

Director:

Howard Avedis
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mary Beth McDonough ... Christie Parson (as Mary McDonough)
David Wysocki ... Greg Stevens (as David Wallace)
Bill Paxton ... Paul Andrews
Lynda Day George ... Eve Parson
Christopher George ... Hank Andrews
Curt Ayers Curt Ayers ... Jim
Bill Conklin Bill Conklin ... Sheriff Duncan
Donna Garrett ... Mrs. Andrews
Greg Kaye Greg Kaye ... Mark
Denis Mandel ... Josh
Violet Manes Violet Manes ... Mortuary Customer
Alvy Moore ... Bob Stevens
Danny Rogers Danny Rogers ... Dr. Parson
Beth Scheffell Beth Scheffell ... Bonnie (as Beth Schaffel)
Marlene Schmidt ... Lois Stevens
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Storyline

Christie Parson has been having terrifying nightmares ever since her father drowned in a swimming pool. Christie's mother believes this was a tragic accident, but Christie believes he was murdered. Then her boyfriend Greg Stevens sees a sinister hooded figure in the town's mortuary, the same figure that was following and harassing Christie. Greg's and Christie's curiosity plunders them into a series of bizarre and terrible circumstances at the mortuary, a dark and ghastly place managed by Hank Andrews and his son Paul. Christie will soon discover the ghastly truth behind her father's death, but in doing so, she may not live to see the morning. Written by WilliamPaxton

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Before your funeral...Before you are buried...Before you are covered with the last shovelful of dirt...Be sure you are really dead! See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 September 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cementerio, el último paso See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$250,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$763,184, 5 September 1983

Gross USA:

$4,319,001

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$4,319,001
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hickmar Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Christopher George's final cinematic appearance. See more »

Goofs

(at around 1h 11 mins) When Paul injects Christie as he presses the needle to her arm you can see the needle move further into the syringe and not into her arm. See more »

Quotes

Christie Parson: Hey Boogeyman - let's boogie!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs: Pieces (2018) See more »

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User Reviews

 
An unfortunate misfire (a misleading cover)
9 March 2002 | by baumerSee all my reviews

I think perhaps you know your film is in trouble when you have to disguise it as something it is not. The cover on the video cassette when we rented this movie read, " Before your funeral, before that last shovel of earth is put over you...make sure you are really dead." That sounds intriguing. This makes me think I am going to watch a film about some sick b**tard who is going to attack (whoever) and then attempt to bury them alive. That sounds interesting to me, more than that, it sounds like a great premise for a horror film. But as I watched the film, I kept waiting for something, anything to happen. But it never does. And that is unfortunate because there are some great elements to the film that could lend it the credibility it needs to reach cult status. Bill Paxton has one of his first starring roles, you have the husband and wife team of Lynda and Christopher George and you have a good premise. What this film does not have is execution.

The film begins on a promising note. A man is murdered in his backyard in broad daylight. Next, two friends enter a warehouse to collect some tires that one says his former boss owes him. They begin to hear voices and decide to check them out. They end up seeing what looks to be a black magic ritual and leading this ritual is one of the kid's former boss. His name is Hank Andrews and played by Christopher George, he is ripe with suspicion from the outset. Is he the killer? He could be since he is performing the mumbo-jumbo with a bunch of ladies dressed in black cloaks.

Soon the boys separate and then one of them dies, without the other knowing. This sets up the rest of the film where everyone is trying to figure out what the hell is going on. We are introduced to Bill Paxton as the mortician's son and then there are the usual players in the hero and the heroine.

The problem with this film is that it is not scary enough for horror purists, not nearly enough gore for a film about embalmment and another major problem with the film is it tells you who the killer is about an hour into the film and then for the last half hour all you have is the hero trying to stop him. I don't mean to be cynical but even an episode of Scooby Doo doesn't reveal the villain until the final two minutes of the show. I think this ruins the film because up until that point I wasn't thrilled with the film but I wasn't bored either. But the last half hour of the film is just the killer playing Mozart and talking to his victims he is about to kill while they are in a catatonic state. I don't see how the director could possibly see this as interesting, freaky, scary or entertaining. There are just too many plots cavities to make this a real cheesy classic like some of the other horror quickies that were offered to us in the early 80's.

There are some good elements to the film, one of them being the music and the other being Bill Paxton's performance as a mortician's son who just happens to be a couple cans short of a six pack. First, the music reminded me of Friday the 13th overtures and it worked quite effectively here. The few times that there was a little tension in the film the music contributes nicely to it. I cannot say it is on par with some of the greats like Halloween, but it certainly isn't a nuisance. Secondly, Bill Paxton is just about the finest thing in this mess of a film. I know there are many people out there that happen to think that Bill Paxton is one of the most under-appreciated actors working today (I am one of them). Here he gets to ham it up for the camera. He has a few memorable scenes which some of the other reviewers have commented on. There is a scene that has him running through a cemetery with flowers in his hand that had me cracking up. Also his final few scenes where is talking to himself, you can see he is doing is absolute best to pull off what the screenwriters have doomed him to say, and he almost does it without looking like a complete idiot. Bill Paxton is a credit to the film and without him it may not even be as good as it is.

All in all Mortuary is a waste of time. Many films tried to cash in on the horror craze of the 80's and this was one of them. There is really nothing to remember about this film as it created more levity surrounding it than sheer terror. And although that is not it's only problem, it is a major one. There are some very good cheeseball horror films that have entered my V.C.R. Some of those include The Prey, The Burning, The Forest and The Beast Within just to name a few. These are the types of films that aren't going to win any Oscar's but they will grace the pages of Fangoria. And although you may find Mortuary in one of the back issues, even they would have to admit that this is an unfortunate misfire.

5.5 out of 10--It receives a passing grade because of the eerie music and Bill Paxton.


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