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.
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Christie Parson has constant nightmares of her father's death whom died in a swimming pool. Christie's mother thinks it was an accident, but Christie believes in was murder. Christie then sees a sinister hooded figure following her and harassing her. But still nobody believes her, except her boyfriend. Who is this hooded person actually? Written by
Last year, I was looking for some obscure horror films, when I caught a glimpse of 'Mortuary'. The cast was good, but I decided to download it only because it had Christopher and Lynda Day George in it. I never grew up beyond the early 80s and have watched tons of those famous and forgotten gems that were released between 1980 and 1990. I usually watch them because they give me a kick and throw me back to my childhood days, when the censor boards used to be so raw and wild. As far as 'Mortuary' is concerned, it has very little gore and few intense murders, but it's nothing compared to Lucio Fulci's classics like 'The Beyond', 'Zombie 2,' 'The New York Ripper' and 'A Lizard in Woman's Skin'.
'Mortuary' begins with a huge mansion with a swimming pool overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Yes guys! It's the Gulls Way Estate located in Malibu, California. The scene is picturesque, but what actually makes this scene outlandish is the marvelous synthesizer tune by John Cacavas. I really want to credit him for bringing a special flavor to 'Mortuary' as without his music, 'Mortuary' couldn't have become a mini-cult classic. Back to the story, so it begins with a young lass Christie Parsons (Mary Beth McDonough), who has just been back from somewhere around and probably witnesses her father Dr. Parsons (Danny Rogers) being smashed by a baseball bat by an unknown assailant. Dr. Parsons falls into the pool and drowns. A month later, everybody believes that Dr. Parsons, a renowned psychiatrist, fell prey to an accident but Christie still believes that it was a cold- blooded murder. Tensed and depressed, she develops a strange habit of sleepwalking. Christie's mother Eve (Lynda Day) also thinks that her husband died a natural death and often tells Christie not to over imagine. She thinks that Christie is a victim of trauma and whatever she says is just her imagination.
A few days later, Christie feels that someone is stalking her. She is not very sure about who he is, but believes that he must be the person who killed her father. Christie often opens her heart before her handsome boyfriend Greg Stevens (David Wallace) and thoroughly believes on him. One day Greg and his friend Josh (Dennis Mandel) happen to sneak inside Hank Andrew's (Christopher George) warehouse. Mr. Andrews is a respectable citizen and a popular man in the community. Trolling around, the friends discover that Mr. Andrews is conducting a séance with few women. Greg finds that one of the women is Eve, Christie's step mother. Josh tells Greg that he has come to Mr. Andrews's warehouse to snuck a pair of tires because he was previously an employee at Mr. Andrews's mortuary but got kicked out for his 'peeping' habits. Josh believes that Mr. Andrews owes him some money and stealing tires would even their accounts out. Leaving Greg behind, Josh goes to the adjacent room to collect tires. Suddenly, the door behind him closes separating him from Greg. A hooded figure with a huge embalming trocar springs out of nowhere and stabs Josh to death. The door opens and Greg finds that Josh is nowhere around. He also gets a glimpse of his van rushing out of the Mortuary premises and thinks that Josh left without him. With the help of Christie, Greg manages to get out and then discusses the incident with her.
Paul (Bill Paxton) is Mr. Andrews' son. He holds a silent but overwhelming obsession about Christie. He is not so bold to say this on her very face and is always uncomfortable to see Greg around her. Christie sympathizes with him because as a child Paul's family was a dysfunctional one and he was often punished by his parents. On silly mistakes his parents would lock him up with the dead bodies the horror of which gradually made Paul a psycho. Since nobody likes Paul due to his daft attitude, he usually finds solace in Christie who likes him the way he is. After Paul's mother (whom he loved dearly) committed suicide, Paul lost his mind and Dr. Parsons had suggested Mr. Andrews to put him in a mental asylum. Mr. Andrews, however, rejected his offer by telling him and the other community members that he alone can take care of Paul. Now a hooded figure with a white mask and a huge trocar is stalking Christie everywhere. Greg and Christie team up together to unfold the mystery behind those dramatic and illusionary episodes of stalking, which Eve strongly believes are the part and parcel of Christie's sleepwalking sessions. Their investigation leads them to Mr. Andrews' Mortuary where they may get all the answers they ever wanted.
I fell in love with 'Mortuary' at once and it has now become a guilty pleasure of mine. I can't put my finger specifically on what I like most about this flick, but I guess it has been filmed in brilliant locations and the Gulls Way Estate is surely something I wouldn't like to visit in the dark! Moreover, the roller disco scene and the absolutely soothing track 'Be My Lover' that plays alongside gives it a nice nostalgic touch. Actors have acted well but David Wallace needed more space here to show his talents. The storyline doesn't have much scope for David's character and leaves many questions unanswered. Howard Avedis begins it nicely and also introduces some sub plots (séance and the witchcraft scenes) that ultimately wash out somewhere and are never harnessed. Bill Paxton is great as usual and the way he maintains his plain face is worth a look. Overall, 'Mortuary' is a good return on investment and one of the decent ways to get drowned in nostalgia of those years we call early 80s. Wonderful!!
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