DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com Awards & Recommendations at Amazon.com.
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main

Ryan Spindell
Clancy Brown, Caitlin Fisher, Christine Kilmer
Ryan Spindell

An eccentric mortician recounts several macabre and phantasmagorical tales that he's encountered in his distinguished career.
Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 111 min.
Price: $28.96
Release Date: 4/20/2021

• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Ryan Spindell
• “Amalgamated Dynamics Inc.” Featurette
• Kickstarter Promo
• 13 Cast & Crew Featurettes
• Deleted Scenes
• Photo Gallery


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


The Mortuary Collection [Blu-Ray] (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 6, 2021)

Few cinematic genres suit anthologies quite as easily as horror. In that vein, we get a new entry via 2019’s The Mortuary Collection.

Set in the 1980s, Montgomery Dark (Clancy Brown) runs the mortuary in the island town of Raven’s End. When she responds to his “help wanted” sign, Dark meets Sam (Caitlin Fisher), a young woman.

When Sam spies a child-sized coffin, she inquires about it. From there, Dark tells her a series of macabre tales about various creepy deaths that took place in Raven’s End.

Four macabre tales, to be precise, and we also spend time with Dark and Sam between stories. Collection follows a pretty traditional anthology framework and doesn’t attempt to muck with that formula.

Which seems fine with me. I don’t need – or want – this kind of project to go clever-clever, so the decision to frame the chapters in a standard manner works, and that side of the journey offers its own twists and complications.

Collection usually balances these segments reasonably well, though some can run a little long. The first of the four sections gives us a brief piece but then the rest tend to feel a bit on the over-extended side.

That doesn’t turn into a major issue, but the thin nature of the various tales creates more of a concern. Much of the time, the different sequences offer sketches of stories more than well-realized plots.

Some of that seems like the nature of the beast with an anthology, as we just don’t get a ton of room to explore narrative and character areas. Still, the elements of Collection lean a little looser than I’d prefer.

This means the segments come across more as ideas for tales than full-fledged stories. I get the impression writer/director Ryan Spindell came up with the basic premises and didn’t develop much past those.

Perhaps due to the lack of great depth to the sections, Spindell often relies on gore and shock value to carry the day. Collection goes the “gross-out” route too often, and that feels like a crutch. The movie lacks the patience to really develop the segments, so it opts for nastiness to cover these issues.

Much of Collection remains watchable, perhaps because the relative brevity of each component means it can’t truly wear out its welcome. Nonetheless, this winds up as a fairly mediocre horror effort, as it never really gets into a groove.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus B

The Mortuary Collection appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. As expected, the movie presented strong visuals.

Across the board, definition seemed good. Even with a mix of low-light sequences, the film appeared accurate and concise, as only a smidgen of slightly soft shots emerged.

Jagged edges and moiré effects didn’t mar the presentation, and I saw no edge haloes. Print flaws also failed to appear.

In terms of palette, Collection went with a standard teal orientation embellished with a fair amount of amber/orange as well. Within stylistic choices, the hues seemed well-depicted.

Blacks were dark and dense, and shadows gave us good clarity. I felt pleased with this transfer.

As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio, it offered a mostly typical horror movie soundscape. This meant a fair amount of creepy atmosphere and occasional “jolt moments”.

Along with good stereo music, the soundfield was able to open things up in a satisfying manner that embellished the story. We got a nice sense of various elements along with a useful sense of the spooky bits, some of which worked really well.

Audio quality was always good. Music appeared full and rich, while effects demonstrated nice clarity and accuracy. Low-end appeared deep and rich.

Speech was natural and distinctive throughout the film. The mix used the speakers well and created a fine sense of the material.

A bunch of extras appear here, and we launch with an audio commentary from writer/director Ryan Spindell. He offers a running, screen-specific look at the project’s origins and development, story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, effects and stunts, photography, music, and related domains.

Expect a solid commentary from Spindell, as he offers a fine take on the movie. He covers an appropriate array of insights and makes this an engaging and informative piece.

Amalgamated Dynamics, Inc. provides a 13-minute, 51-second program that involves Spindell, shop supervisor Yuri Everson, key special effects makeup artists Ana Gabriela Quinonez, Mo Meinhart and Bruce Spaulding Fuller, fabrication supervisor Jon K. Miller, producer T. Justin Ross, puppeteers Aaron Bonilla and Mark Royston, ADI co-owner Alec Gillis and actors Clancy Brown, Christine Kilmer, Caitlin Custer and V Nixie. They discuss some of the movie’s effects in this fairly informative piece.

A Kickstarter promo lasts one minute, 21 seconds and features notes from Spindell. He tells us about the reel created to raise funds for Mortuary. We get decent notes but oddly, the disc doesn’t include the actual short.

12 Cast & Crew Featurettes follow. Though listed separately, I decided to combine my discussion to save space!

We find “Director” (9:53), “Actors” (17:23), “Camera” (6:54), “Costumes” (4:56), “Art Department” (22:25), “Locations” (7:47), “Props” (4:41), “Hair & Make-Up” (4:10), “Special Effects” (3:09), “Sound” (8:23), “Stunts” (1:22) and “Visual Effects” (6:11).

Across these, we hear from Spindell, Brown, Custer, Kilmer, Nixie, Ross, Quinonez, Fuller, Meinhart, producer/actor Ben Hethcoat, Clatsop County Historical Society’s Sam Rascoe, Mac Burns and Emily Gray, 1st AD Andrew Adams, DPs Caleb Heymann and Elie Smolkin, 1st assistant camera Layne Inselman and Ryan Hogue, gaffer Adam Goral, key grip Donato Bragagnolo, 2nd assistant camera Katherine Oostman and Patrick La Valley, costume designer Tammie Marheb-Chavez, production designers Lauren Fitzsimmons and Harrison Chambers, set decorator Kayleigh Engelbrecht, art department coordinator Megan Mantia, concept artist Kati Simon, assistants Mick Alderman and Elias Harold, prop masters Gregory S. McMickle and Lauren Shell, key set production assistant Eric Gilbert, producer Allison Friedman, location manager Gordon Scott Marshall, assistant prop master Tracy Barbara Cutts, key makeup and hair artist Cali Mazariego, hair stylist Jessica Leigh Schwartz, special effects coordinator Simon White, special effects technicians Kyle Holley and R. James Schmidt, sound mixers Brian Mazzolla and Adam Howell, boom operator Justin McCaffrey, foley artist Matt Davies, re-recording mixer Juan Campos, key visual effects artist Santino Vitale, and actors Ema Horvath, Jacob Elordi, Michael Bow, Brennan Murray, Jennifer Irwin, Michael C. Nelson, Barak Hardley, Sara Hay and Tristan Byon.

We get notes about cast and performances, sets and locations, various effects, story and characters, photography, costumes, production design and props, hair and makeup, sound, and stunts.

The featurettes tend to focus on a lot of material from the set more than traditional interview segments. While we do get plenty of the latter, the clips take on a more informal feel than usual.

At times, these lean a little too hard toward happy talk and praise. Still, we find many good shots of the production along with enough filmmaking data to make the segments worthwhile.

A Deleted Scenes featurette runs five minutes, 57 seconds. Here Spindell tells us about four different cut sequences and we see snippets from them. I’m not sure why we didn’t get these as traditional deleted scenes, but this still becomes a decent presentation.

Finally, we locate a Photo Gallery. It includes 22 shots from the set. This turns into a short but appealing compilation.

As a horror anthology, The Mortuary Collection offers occasional glimmers of promise. However, the end result seems fairly lackluster, as the movie doesn’t develop the different segments as well as it should. The Blu-ray brings solid picture and audio along with a good compilation of bonus materials. Though not a bad flick, Collection doesn’t really hit the mark.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main