MORTUARY (2005) Reviews and worth watching

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‘When the dead break free, all hell breaks loose.’

Mortuary is a 2005 supernatural American horror film directed by Tobe Hooper (Poltergeist; Salem’s Lot; The Texas Chain Saw Massacre) from a screenplay by husband and wife Jace Anderson and Adam Gierasch (Mother of TearsToolbox Murders; Crocodile; et al). The movie stars Dan Byrd, Alexandra Adi and Denise Crosby.


After the loss of their father, the Doyle family – Leslie, Jonathan, and Jamie – move to an old mortuary in hope of starting a new life but find it in poor condition.

Jonathan goes to the local diner where he meets Cal and his two girlfriends, Tina and Sara. Cal tells Jonathan about the legend of Bobby Fowler, an abused and deformed boy who lived in the mortuary.

That night, Cal, Sara and Tina go to the graveyard outside the mortuary and vandalise it; they then go into one of the crypts, where they are attacked by Bobby Fowler…


“In the end, Mortuary is one part Night of the Living Dead, and one part Cabin Fever. It accomplishes what few productions do by capturing nearly all of the key elements to a great horror movie. They made something worth watching again and again. It isn’t the scariest movie you’ll ever see, but it is extremely entertaining and a lot of fun.” Scared Stiff Reviews

” …Mortuary seems to be unsure of what it wants to be. We’ve got black humor, zombies, killer CGI fungus, and a deformed killer all thrown into the mix at once, and this results in an ambitious yet muddled experience. On the positive side, Mortuary is filled with quite a few moments of gross out gags, cool looking zombies, disturbing imagery, and the acting is way above par.” Dread Central

Mortuary is not a good film. When it comes down to it, it is a bad DTV horror movie with a horrendous screenplay. But I do love it, meaning I thoroughly enjoy it, of course mainly due to Hooper’s idiosyncratic visual eye…” Tobe Hooper Appreciation Society

“Tobe Hooper gives all indication that he has lost the ability to create worthwhile or even credible shocks. Everything that happens has an eminent predictability, while the red herrings make you groan at their lameness.” Moria

“The black gunky mold which grows (unconvincingly) everywhere is a colossal annoyance. But when it is spewed from the mouths of person-to-person it borders on comical. It’s kind of like a really bad version of the black oil from the X-Files. The make-up effects are equally unconvincing, and even the zombies, which I am usually sympathetic towards, are sub-par.” Bloody Disgusting

” …a welfare friendly, bland and un-scary location, tinker-toy CGI, a misfired attempt at humor that wouldn’t giggle up a sedated chimp (the weed/cop at the door bit was astoundingly idiotic), bad editing cuts galore and beyond flaccid directing by Mr. Hooper…”

“The effects on the zombies are pretty decent, but the CGI is weak as all get out. Not only does the pipe cleaner look like a coked out Etch-A-Sketch, but there’s one hand through the heart effect that looks incredibly fake. The movie runs a little slow, but things pick up at about the three quarter mark…” The Video Vacuum

Mortuary isn’t the worst thing I’ve ever seen and Hooper’s directing probably elevates the film, but it’s still not great. Fortunately, this movie is just so absurd that it’s fun to watch. The characters are so bizarre and the plot just jumps all over the place. It starts and ends like a slasher film, but with a zombie movie jammed right into the middle.” Wicked Horror

Choice dialogue:

Sheriff Howell: “This town takes violence seriously!’

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Mortuary was re-released on Blu-ray on May 14, 2019 by Filmrise. The disc bonus features include:

  • Audio Commentary by Tobe Hooper
  • Behind-the-Scenes featurette
  • Trailer
  • English Subtitles for the deaf and hearing-impaired

Cast and characters:

  • Denise Crosby as Leslie – Relative Fear; Dolly Dearest; Pet Sematary
  • Dan Byrd as Jonathan – Ghost WhispererThe Hills Have Eyes; Salem’s Lot [2004]
  • Stephanie Patton as Jamie
  • Alexandra Adi as Liz
  • Bug Hall as Cal
  • Courtney Peldon as Tina
  • Tarah Paige as Sara
  • Rocky Marquette as Grady
  • Michael Shamus Wiles as Sheriff Howell –The Lords of Salem; Hellraiser: Inferno; Puppet Master 4; Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III; Terror at Tenkiller

Filming locations:

Pomona, California

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