Mortuary (1983)

R | 89 mins | Horror | 18 March 1983

Director:

Howard Avedis

Cinematographer:

Gary Graver

Production Designer:

Randy Ser

Production Company:

Hickmar Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

       The 29 Sep 1980 HR reported that Howard Avedis was confirmed as director by producer Marlene Schmidt, for the upcoming suspense film, Mortuary. The 13 Nov 1981 DV stated that principal photography began 26 Oct 1981, with a budget of $850-900,000, according to the 17 Jun 1985 DV. A year later, domestic distribution rights to the film were acquired by Artists Releasing Corporation, for release through Film Ventures International, as reported in the 17 Nov 1982 HR. On 17 Jan 1983, HR noted that Arista Films, Inc., acquired foreign distribution rights. Arista announced a screening in the 9 Mar 1983 HR, to be held that day, in conjunction with the American Film Market. Additional screenings were held during the Cannes International Film Festival in May 1983, as advertised in the 4 May 1983 Var.
       A full-page advertisement in the 21 Dec 1982 HR announced “selected openings,” beginning 18 Mar 1983. The 29 Jul 1983 HR referred to these as test openings in the cities of Richmond, VA, San Antonio, TX, Norfolk, VA, and Las Vegas, NV, during which Mortuary earned approximately $221,000. The film was scheduled to open at “a minimum of 400 theatres” in Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA, Washington, D.C., Jacksonville, FL, and New York City, beginning 19 Aug 1983.
       Although the Nov 1983 Box review noted “weak” earnings during the film’s Los Angeles engagement, the 23 Nov 1983 HR reported a domestic gross of $2,248,772.
       Reviews were ... More Less

       The 29 Sep 1980 HR reported that Howard Avedis was confirmed as director by producer Marlene Schmidt, for the upcoming suspense film, Mortuary. The 13 Nov 1981 DV stated that principal photography began 26 Oct 1981, with a budget of $850-900,000, according to the 17 Jun 1985 DV. A year later, domestic distribution rights to the film were acquired by Artists Releasing Corporation, for release through Film Ventures International, as reported in the 17 Nov 1982 HR. On 17 Jan 1983, HR noted that Arista Films, Inc., acquired foreign distribution rights. Arista announced a screening in the 9 Mar 1983 HR, to be held that day, in conjunction with the American Film Market. Additional screenings were held during the Cannes International Film Festival in May 1983, as advertised in the 4 May 1983 Var.
       A full-page advertisement in the 21 Dec 1982 HR announced “selected openings,” beginning 18 Mar 1983. The 29 Jul 1983 HR referred to these as test openings in the cities of Richmond, VA, San Antonio, TX, Norfolk, VA, and Las Vegas, NV, during which Mortuary earned approximately $221,000. The film was scheduled to open at “a minimum of 400 theatres” in Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA, Washington, D.C., Jacksonville, FL, and New York City, beginning 19 Aug 1983.
       Although the Nov 1983 Box review noted “weak” earnings during the film’s Los Angeles engagement, the 23 Nov 1983 HR reported a domestic gross of $2,248,772.
       Reviews were lukewarm to negative.
      End credits include the following statement: "Special thanks to: Greenhouse Flowers, Burbank, CA.; Nike Corporation; Greenacre Manufacturing, Inc.; Easson & Easson Mortuary Service; Capra's Italia Bakery."
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Nov 1983.
---
Daily Variety
13 Nov 1981.
---
Daily Variety
22 Nov 1982.
---
Daily Variety
17 Jun 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
29 Sep 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Nov 1982.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 Dec 1982.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jan 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
9 Mar 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jul 1983
p. 21.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Nov 1983
p. 11.
LAHExam
5 Sep 1983.
---
Los Angeles Times
6 Sep 1983
p. 5.
Variety
4 May 1983
p. 168.
Variety
28 Sep 1983
p. 10, 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Hickmar Productions, Inc. Presents
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr/Asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Steadicam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Key grip
Grip
Best boy/Grip
Best boy/Elec
Still photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
Negative cutter
COSTUMES
Ward coord
Ward asst
Ward asst
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
Songs by
Songs by
Songs by
Sung by
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
Titles and opt by
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
Makeup
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod coord
Unit mgr
Transportation
Asst to the prod
Asst to the prod
Loc auditor
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Motion picture equip provided by
Extra casting by
Extra casting by
STAND INS
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
DETAILS
Release Date:
18 March 1983
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 2 September 1983
Production Date:
began 26 October 1981
Copyright Claimant:
Movie Makers Company
Copyright Date:
18 April 1983
Copyright Number:
PA169699
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
89
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Psychiatrist Dr. Parson is struck from behind by an unseen assailant, while sitting outside his beachfront home. Within moments, his daughter, Christie, finds his body floating in the swimming pool. Weeks later, a young man named Josh trespasses at the warehouse of his former employer, mortician Hank Andrews. Assisted by his friend, Greg, Josh attempts to steal a pair of tires as compensation for unpaid back wages. The boys are briefly distracted as they witness the mortician conducting an occult ritual, which includes Eve Parson, the doctor’s widow. While rolling the tires toward the exit, Josh is accosted by a masked killer, who stabs him repeatedly with a trocar, a tool used in embalming. The killer loads the body into Greg’s van, and drives away. Greg is given a ride home by his girl friend, Christie, and as they kiss goodnight, the attacker approaches them, but retreats when Greg’s parents appear. The following day, Sheriff Duncan recovers the van, then questions Greg about Josh’s disappearance and the boys’ trespassing at the warehouse. While Greg admits guilt, he also tells the sheriff of Hank’s ritual, which the mortician denies. The sheriff releases Greg with a warning and continues his search for Josh. Meanwhile, Christie tells Eve that someone followed her home, but her concern is dismissed as paranoia brought on by her father’s “accidental” death. Christie insists that his death was no accident, and criticizes Eve’s complacency. That night, Christie envisions her father’s murder in a dream, then sleepwalks through the house and into the swimming pool. When Christie is wakened by a disembodied voice whispering ... +


Psychiatrist Dr. Parson is struck from behind by an unseen assailant, while sitting outside his beachfront home. Within moments, his daughter, Christie, finds his body floating in the swimming pool. Weeks later, a young man named Josh trespasses at the warehouse of his former employer, mortician Hank Andrews. Assisted by his friend, Greg, Josh attempts to steal a pair of tires as compensation for unpaid back wages. The boys are briefly distracted as they witness the mortician conducting an occult ritual, which includes Eve Parson, the doctor’s widow. While rolling the tires toward the exit, Josh is accosted by a masked killer, who stabs him repeatedly with a trocar, a tool used in embalming. The killer loads the body into Greg’s van, and drives away. Greg is given a ride home by his girl friend, Christie, and as they kiss goodnight, the attacker approaches them, but retreats when Greg’s parents appear. The following day, Sheriff Duncan recovers the van, then questions Greg about Josh’s disappearance and the boys’ trespassing at the warehouse. While Greg admits guilt, he also tells the sheriff of Hank’s ritual, which the mortician denies. The sheriff releases Greg with a warning and continues his search for Josh. Meanwhile, Christie tells Eve that someone followed her home, but her concern is dismissed as paranoia brought on by her father’s “accidental” death. Christie insists that his death was no accident, and criticizes Eve’s complacency. That night, Christie envisions her father’s murder in a dream, then sleepwalks through the house and into the swimming pool. When Christie is wakened by a disembodied voice whispering her name, she runs screaming into the house, where she sees a masked face watching her through a window. Although Eve tries to comfort Christie, the girl believes herself to be the next victim of her father’s killer, and accuses her mother of trying to drive her insane. The following day, Christie and Greg visit Dr. Parson’s grave, and encounter Paul Andrews, the mortician’s son, who recently lost his mother to suicide. Christie and Greg both agree that the eccentric Paul has gotten “weirder” in recent weeks, and place the blame on Hank for forcing the boy to work as an embalmer. One evening, while Greg and Christie are alone in her house, they are subjected to frequent interruptions in electrical and telephone services. When Eve is told of the phenomenon, she blames her daughter’s overactive imagination. Later, the couple suspects Eve and Hank of being romantically involved, and follow them to the warehouse, where the mortician conducts a séance to contact the spirit of Dr. Parson. Paul observes Christie and Greg from a distance, but says nothing as they leave the building. When the couple returns to the Parson home, Christie’s asks Greg for a moratorium on their relationship until she can better manage her fears. That night, she has another dream about her father’s death, and resumes sleepwalking, this time arming herself with a knife. The masked figure appears outside the window, asking to touch her, and she plunges the knife through the glass, shocking herself back into consciousness. Christie seeks comfort from her mother, who explains that her late husband was Paul’s psychiatrist. The boy developed a psychotic obsession with Christie following his mother’s death, prompting Dr. Parson to recommend he be institutionalized. Based on these facts, Christie deduces that Paul killed her father. She apologizes to Eve for her erratic behavior, and following an embrace, the women return to their bedrooms. While Eve sleeps, the stalker stabs her to death, then pursues Christie around the house. Believing she has evaded the killer, Christie calls police, but is interrupted as her stalker grabs her from behind and reveals himself to be Paul. He renders her unconscious with chloroform and drives her to the mortuary. Unable to stay away, Greg returns to the Parson home as Paul drives away with Christie and her mother’s body. He follows Paul to the mortuary, where the killer injects Christie with a sedative and dresses her in a wedding gown. Hank arrives moments later and accuses Paul of stalking Christie and killing her father. Paul states that Dr. and Mrs. Parson needed to be punished for opposing his plan to marry Christie. When Hank orders his son to surrender to the sheriff, Paul responds by stabbing him. Greg enters the mortuary to find Paul declaring that he and Christie are to be married, and standing over Eve and Hank’s bodies. He locks Greg in the embalming room, and drives Christie and the two corpses to the warehouse for a wedding ceremony. Greg escapes the mortuary, arms himself with an axe, and follows Paul to the warehouse. Surrounded by the preserved bodies of his victims, Paul pretends to conduct a Mozart symphony, then tells the body of his mother that he “faked” her death to protect her from being institutionalized for her multiple suicide attempts. As Paul is about to cut Christie with a scalpel, Greg threatens the killer with his axe, but Paul knocks the weapon out of his hands. As Paul is about to stab Greg, the sleepwalking Christie grabs the axe and sinks the blade into Paul’s back. She sobs as she regains consciousness, and Greg assures her the danger has passed. Mrs. Andrews suddenly springs to life and runs at the couple with a knife in her hand. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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