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Ghost Canyon

Mortuary: Special Edition [Blu-ray]
(Bill Paxton, Lynda Day George, Christopher George, Mary McDonough, David Wallace, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1983) 2021 / MVD Visual Rewind Collection)

Overview: Real-life husband and wife Lynda Day George (TVs Mission Impossible) and Christopher George (Pieces) star along with Bill Paxton (Aliens), Mary McDonough (TVs The Waltons) and David Wallace (Humongous) in this chilling tale of horror-filled nightmares that come startlingly close to reality.

Christie Parson (McDonough) has been having terrifying nightmares ever since her father, Dr. Parson, drowned in the family swimming pool. She knows his death was not an accident, but no one will believe her... until her boyfriend, Greg Stevens (Wallace), sees the hooded figures that Christie describes in her dreams, in the towns mortuary.

Greg’s and Christie’s curiosity plummets them into a series of bizarre and terror-filled circumstances, leading them to the ghastly truth behind her fathers so-called accidental death.

Blu-ray Verdict: Mortuary (aka Embalmed) follows a young woman, Christie (Mary McDonough) whose psychologist father has recently died in an apparent accident, and whose mother has just begun dating the local mortician.

Oddly enough, one of Christies boyfriends friends has vanished from the mortuary warehouse after observing an occult ritual there. To make matters worse, it seems Christie is now being stalked by a cloaked assailant with a trocar who wants her (and everyone around her) dead.

This is a film that has been on my bucket list for years, and now having watched it (thank you, MVD Visual), I can say that it is absolutely nothing like what I expected!

Indeed, do note fooled, for Mortuary is no supernatural slasher or quasi-zombie flick (nor is it nearly as bonkers as its 1983 peer Mausoleum).

Really, it is hardly a slasher, and more a giallo thriller of sorts--it even has visual references to show for it, and a slow motion glass-shattering sequence that may have inspired a similar scene in Dario Argento’s brilliant Phenomena.

While it did not match my expectations in content, it did not necessarily fall short in terms of value. Truth be told, this is actually quite a fun horror flick!

For a horror film of this era, Mortuary has surprisingly high production values, and Gary Gravers cinematography is quite lush and atmospheric.

The Southern California locales, particularly the secluded Malibu estate where the protagonist resides, are atmospheric and at times eerie despite their sunny disposition.

The film also offers some adequate scares, with a handful of jolting appearances of our cloaked villain as he torments poor Mary McDonough.

There is still a definitive Scooby Doo quality to the proceedings, and the plotting of the film feels odd at times, though it does manage to drop plenty of red herrings for the viewers to gnaw on before the inevitable (and frankly rather obvious) reveal.

Rounding out the cast with McDonough is Lynda Day George (of the outrageous Pieces, made several years prior) as her mother, and Christopher Day George as the mortician.

Bill Paxton, in of his first major roles, turns in a fantastically over-the-top performance as the morticians eccentric son.

In the end, Mortuary is an all-around good time for fans of 80s horror. It is a technically well-made film that offers plenty of atmosphere and a handful of memorable sequences.

McDonough, coming off her adolescent longtime role on the wholesome The Waltons, makes for a likable heroine here, and the finale, as silly and Texas Chainsaw Massacre-esque as it is, remains in good spirits. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

High Definition (1080p) presentation of the main feature in 1.78:1 aspect ratio
Audio: 2.0 Mono (LPCM)
Optional English Subtitles
Interview with Composer John Cacavas
Original Theatrical Trailer
Collectible Mini-Poster
* Special Features May Not Be Rated, Closed Captioned Or In High Definition

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