The new century did not start off well for Mr. Hooper in terms of horror as he delivered the by-the-numbers SciFi Channel level CROCODILE (2000). He returned to TV for the well done TAKEN before shocking nearly everyone with the TOOLBOX MURDERS (2004). While not the “masterpiece” and “return to form” the hip horror web sites claimed it to be (had they seen his work from 1974-86?), TOOLBOX was Hooper’s strongest horror work in decades and proved the man could still deliver an above average fright-fest. Unfortunately, all that cred that Hooper gained was quickly squandered when he re-teamed with TOOLBOX producers and screenwriters for MORTUARY.
Single mother Leslie Doyle (Denise Crosby) moves with her kids, Jonathan (Dan Byrd) and Jaime (Stephanie Patton), into a mold infested house/mortuary so she can live out her dream of being a mortician (thanks mom). The house, naturally, has a past as Jonathan learns the tale of local boogeyman Bobby Fowler from romantic interest Liz (Alexandra Adi). Legend has it that deformed mute Fowler was tortured by his parents before he killed them and he still lurks the grounds of the cemetery that sits right outside Jonathan’s house. Me thinks something bad is going to happen!
Anderson and Adam Gierasch is an unfocused mess. Okay, I’m going to lay out the film’s big villain to you so stop reading if you don’t want to know. The cause of all this craziness is – wait for it – killer fungus! It creeps, it crawls, it climbs up the walls…THE FUNGUS! Oh, sorry, that was The Blob’s theme. Apparently Bobby lives in a cave below the mausoleum (which is locked by a door with a Lovecraft inscribing that is never explained) and has been feeding this mold monster that lives in a well. Now Anderson and Gierasch can’t be bothered to explain where this thing came from (my guess? Lovecraft books!). And how do you kill the infected? By throwing salt on them, of course! “Just like a snail,” says the film’s token gay kid. C’mon, ya bastards. I know you looked up “how to get rid of mold” on Google. Even sadder are their set ups like when the sheriff shows up as Jonathan and friends smoke pot and mom comically botches her first embalming. Who will answer the door? Or how about the scene where mom decides to show off her first customer (i.e. corpse; played by Gierasch) to the kids and Liz screams, “That’s Mr. Barston! He’s my piano teacher. *friend takes her away* But I had a lesson tomorrow.” And there is some bitter irony in dialog like one infected teen whose only line is to scream, “Shut up, punk!”
SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION, right?”