Mortuary, Scorpion's Limited Edition Blu

Today, I thought we'd take a look at one of Scorpion's limited edition blu-rays, Mortuary. This is one of four titles they released at the same time - the others being Girly, Island Claws and Don't Answer the Phone. These are still pretty recent - debuting this past October - so even though they only pressed 1200 copies, there's still a chance you might find one. And Mortuary is certainly my pick of the four.
I mean, it's kind of a goofy movie. It's got a very 70s, made-for-TV vibe. Although it's not, mind you. It's actually from 1981/1983, and if nothing else, its widescreen cinematography and brief nudity proves this wasn't shot for television. It's just got that aura to it, whether it's the actors' feathered hair or the simple, expedient way most of the scenes seem to be laid out. But on the other hand, it's a fairly original plot, ably produced and performed, that manages to drum up some genuinely creepy atmosphere at the right times.

Greg and his buddy drive their very 70s van to a warehouse to pick up a couple tires, when they stumble upon the owner of the local mortuary (Christopher George in his final film) leading a witches coven with a bunch of the local housewives. Immediately after, Greg's friend disappears. Meanwhile, his girlfriend is having other problems. Ever since her dad died, she's been sleep walking and keeps seeing a mysterious pale man in a hooded robe carrying a scythe. Of course nobody takes her seriously, until the hooded figure starts doing some real world damage. How do these two mysterious plots interconnect? Or do they at all? This isn't one of those perfunctory, by-the-numbers budget horror stories that you'll be way ahead of at every turn. It'll have you guessing, if not just throwing up your hands in bewilderment; but it does ultimately come together without ever really getting too far our there.
The whole film moves at a breezy upbeat pace; at first you almost feel like you're on a Scooby Doo mystery. And it's the occasional, powerful image or moment that grabs you and makes the film stick with you in the long run. Bill Paxton fans will definitely want to check this one out, too, for an early yet sizable role. I doubt it's anyone's favorite horror film, but I really appreciate how too off-center it is to blend in with the rest of the slashers and regular horror that was coming out in the same era.

Scorpion gives Mortuary it's HD debut with this blu-ray, updating their previous DVD release from 2012. It's not exactly a loaded special edition, but it's a pretty high quality release.
Bill tries to show his classmates the gift of Mozart.
I haven't seen the previous DVD, but this purports to be a brand new master taken from the original IN (InterNegative). It's full widescreen, meaning 1.78:1, which is the same AR as the previous DVD.  And honestly, it looks pretty great... Certainly greater than you'd've ever thought if you'd seen this movie on television or VHS back in the day. Like I said this movie has that made-for-TV vibe, but this transfer really opens it up into a real movie. Smooth, crisp lines and natural colors. It gets grainy in the nighttime scenes, but I'm sure that's a product of the original film exposure, not a flaw with the blu-ray. I really don't think you can ask for more than what we've been given here.

The sole audio option is the original mono track in DTS-HD, which is perfect.
Now, the DVD was part of Scorpion's 'Katrina's Nightmare Theater' line, all of which has been stripped away from the blu. I'm certainly not sorry to see that goofy stuff taken off the artwork, giving this film a more earnest presentation. But I do kinda feel like her little video intro and outro could've been left on the disc as an easter egg or something. But whatever, no real loss. All the other extras, slim as they are, have been ported over and are a very welcome addition to the film.

The main extra is a video interview with the composer, John Cacavas. He talks a little about this film, and drifts off to tell us about the rest of his career for a while, before bringing it back to Mortuary at the end. I definitely would've liked to have heard more about Mortuary, but he did have a few interesting things to share. All told, it's just over fifteen minutes, and definitely leaves you wanting more of a special edition, with more interviews; but at least there's this.

The only other extra is the original theatrical trailer, but you should definitely make a point to watch it. Because this trailer is all original content. Meaning, none of the footage in the trailer is from the movie. Instead, it's a little piece with Michael Berryman, the memorable star of films like The Hills Have Eyes, and who does not appear in the actual film Mortuary at all.
So okay, this film is definitely not for everyone. Or even most people. But if you dig second tier 80s horror, then you'll definitely enjoy and find a number of things to appreciate in this movie. It's unique, and Scorpion's first class presentation gives it a strong leg up.

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