Mortuary title

AKA : Embalmed.

Tag line : Where nobody rests in peace.

MortuaryNot to be confused with the movie of the same name that came out in 2006,  this early 80's slasher fare revolves around the goings on of a small town funeral parlour, that's harbouring a dark secret. When two young high school students break into a warehouse belonging to the Funeral Parlour's owner Mr Andrews (Christopher George), they are surprised to see him and some of the locals engaged in a bizarre satanic ritual in the buildings basement.

Believing they haven't been spotted, one of them, Greg (David Wallace) decides to stay and watch from a safe distance, whilst his partner Josh (Denis Mandel) goes to rip off some of the equipment stored there. Unfortunately, as he attempts to make off with some loot he winds up being skewered with a morticians embalming lance by some guy in a dark cloak.

When Greg attempts to find his friend and discovers he's vanished, along with his van, he realises something's definitely amiss. Believing Andrews to be behind his disappearance and with the police not being too helpful, Greg and his girlfriend Christie (played by a post "Waltons" Mary Beth McDonough) start prying into the goings on at his funeral parlour.

But when they discover that Christie's mother is herself part of Andrews bizarre cult  they suspect that he may also have had something to do her father's recent mysterious death. Things get even more sinister when Christie finds herself being stalked by the same shadowy figure we saw despatching Josh earlier in the film. It begins to look like one of the group of occultists trying to silence her, but if its not, who could it be and what is their connection to Andrews and his Funeral Parlour?

Whilst the film is not overly gory, it does feature some neat plot twists and red herrings. Most notably the killer in the cloak, Christies nightmares and her sleepwalking antics, and  the introduction of Andrews socially inept son Paul who works in the mortuary at the funeral parlour, who is played by none other than a young Bill Paxton of "Aliens" fame. This is a good old fashioned slice of 80's horror fare, which should appeal to fans of that era. Worth seeing if only for Christopher George trying to be like Charles Gray from "The Devil Rides Out" and for Bill Paxton's oddball antics.

Overall Marks : 5/10.

Terrifying Trivia.

  • Alternate tag lines "Before your funeral...Before you are buried...Before you are covered with the last shovelful of dirt...Be sure you are really dead!", "When the living are EMBALMED...beware of the LIVING DEAD!", "Before you are sure you are really dead!"

  • Christopher George also starred in Lucio Fulci's "City of the Living Dead" as well as James Glickenhauses cult exploitation pic "The Exterminator". Sadly, this was to be his last film before his death in 1983.

  • The films budget was $250,000.

  • Mary Beth's Mother, Eve, was played by Christopher George's wife, Lynda Day George.

  • At the time this was filmed, the slasher movie boom of the 80s was slowing down, and the distributors were concerned about the commercial appeal of the film. So they tried to market it as a zombie film, complete with a totally unrelated trailer starring horror actor Michael Berryman as a gravedigger.

  • Mary Beth McDonough had previously played Erin Walton in the old US TV series "The Waltons". She still acts in feature films and television, her credits including Ally McBeal, The West Wing and Boston Legal.

  • The film was released uncut on UK video back in the early 80's with an unofficially approved 18 rating from the BBFC. However this was before the introduction of the Video Recordings Act, and so the certificate had no legal standing once the new laws came into effect. The film was later re-released under the title "Embalmed", but the BBFC made the distributors cut over 2mins of footage before passing the film for release. It would undoubtedly pass uncut if submitted today!

  • This was one of Bill Paxton's first movie roles, before becoming a name actor. The film that launched his career, Aliens, was filmed a mere 3 years after this films release.

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