Filmmakers sometimes engage on pure passion projects for a multitude of reasons, a DIY initiative or wanting to put forth positive energy, well director and screenwriter Christopher James Miller had a different motivation for his horror anthology movie Mortuary Massacre from Wild Eye Releasing. He actually battled issues on the set and within himself in the post-production due to his stage 3 cancer and immediately upon finishing the film he began chemo treatments. Now, aside from that revelation, his flick contains a grindhouse throwback essence, which continues the exploits of a character of his known Detective Giger, actually the third time he’s graced the screen. As with all anthology movies a customary wraparound story needed and this one does not disappoint as it’s called “Toe Tags” the obvious reference to the Mortuary. Herein Giger chats in a nonchalant manner with a mortician as he goes from mangled body to another, it reminds one of CSI: Crime scene Investigation Season 7, Episode 3 (2006), which coincidentally is called ‘Toe Tags’ of dead bodies speaking about their deaths.
Chris Miller makes sure not to cram too many stories into the anthology allowing each the time breathe, and his character Giger to endure some more pain. Assisting him on his quest, (Carl Crew, who worked with Miller beforehand) Mortimer King the local mortician, who opens each segment on a folksy manner. These tales each have a gruesome and gore filled attitude to them, which appeals too many horror fans, but this might make some cringe.
The first tale, “The Apartment” has a landlord who basically distrusts everyone, especially his tenant, and fears the graffiti artists (taggers) have set a plan in motion to kill him. However, no authorities take him seriously and therefore reduced to his own logic and means of defense. The brutality in the story becomes increasingly violent and gory; nevertheless the duration seems too hurried going from zero to insanity too quickly. A brief slow down likely to assist in the mental destruction of this individual make the payoff more completely satisfying for the audience. “Snake-Eyed Jack” serves as the second story, and clearly owns the DVD box art, of a hedge-trimmer zombie freak, on the hunt thanks to teenagers trying to connect with the land of the dead, namely one of their fathers. The monster nails a Wild West outlaw, who likes little and is a cross between Curse of the Forty-Niner (2002) and Slim (Dean Cleverdon) in House II: The Second Story (1987). This flick falls squarely into a zombie stalker slasher with a mining ability to strike splatter faster than one can scream, effectively. Lastly, “False Face”, of a struggling acting seeking to win roles, but suffering from rejection to a headliner, and later finds this big star stole his girlfriend. The rejected actor’s actions quite puzzling he alters himself drastically and then steal back others facial recognition, think of a very twisted version of Face/Off. The story feels sadly lost; the means don’t justify anything and therefore a gore fest for the gore-hounds.
Miller gets everything he needs from his writing team, while he did most of the screenplay along with Erin Blaisdell (first time as writer) but worked with Chris and played Leslie in “Snake-eyed Jack” segment. In addition Kyle Morris and Sean Stearley, who both also previously worked with Chris, get their first time script/story writing credit. The stories all have the entry-level acting, as the it fits the bill, this isn’t a high-brow art or Shakespearean work, rather sick humor and gallons of gore.
Mortuary Massacre definitely fits itself into grindhouse meets exploitation in a darkened alley, lusting for a lot of T&A, drench in blood, guts and gore with very dark humor. Splatterpunks rejoice this movie wants you!
IMDb Rating: 5.8/10
Baron’s Rating: 4/10