As bad as most modern horror anthologies are, The Mortuary Collection makes a real case for the future of these movies, even if it borrows some of its narrative device from Tales from the Hood.
Ryan Spindell made The Babysitter Murders — I mean, if you’re going to take a title, take it from one that makes horror fans recognize that you get it — which is part of this story. The framing is all about Sam (Caitlin Custer) who has come to Raven’s End Mortuary to ask for a job from its owner, Montgomery Dark (Clancy Brown).
He takes her through the coffins inside, telling her how each of the bodies got there. The first story is simple — a thief discovers a monster — and nearly made me stop watching this, as I worried that this would follow the example of other modern portmanteau films with stories that abruptly end and have no real narrative steam.
I’m happy that I stayed with this movie.
In “Unprotected,” a college man tries to take advantage of the woke nature of his classmates. When he finally scores his next conquest, Sandra, and takes off his condom, which leads to her making him pregnant. This is a quick and simple story, yet well-structured and filled with some disquieting imagery.
“Till Death” has a husband trying to get rid of his catatonic wife with increasingly gory and unsuccessful efforts. Ironically, the movie then has Sam demand that the stories become less about simple comeuppance. Montgomery takes Sam to the mortuary subbasement and prepares to cremate a child-size coffin. Sam then tells him she’s not here for a job. She’s here for the dead child and has a story to tell.
This is where “The Babysitter Murders” fits into the story, revealing that Sam is a killer of children. She attempts to use the bones of the kids to kill the mortician, but her victims tear her apart. He sews her together and uses embalming fluid as her blood, making her the new owner of the funeral home as he steps into the sun and turns into dust.
With films like this and Ghost Stories, the future of this subgenre of horror feels like it has a chance.