Mortuary Academy

  • 1992
  • Movie
  • R
  • Comedy

Cult movie personalities Paul Bartel and Mary Woronov scored a hit with EATING RAOUL, their coyly tasteless 1982 comedy of ill-manners. MORTUARY ACADEMY represents a gamey attempt to recapture some of that earlier movie's satirical bite. This one just bites. With the humorous topics running the gamut from necrophilia to necrophilia, the plot concerns young...read more

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Cult movie personalities Paul Bartel and Mary Woronov scored a hit with EATING RAOUL, their coyly tasteless 1982 comedy of ill-manners. MORTUARY ACADEMY represents a gamey attempt to recapture some of that earlier movie's satirical bite. This one just bites.

With the humorous topics running the gamut from necrophilia to necrophilia, the plot concerns young med-school rejects Max (Christopher Atkins) and Sam Grimm (Perry Lang). The brothers Grimm stand to inherit a $2 million family business, a mortician school, but only if they enroll as students and

pass an exhaustive regimen of sicko jokes about embalming and such, most of them presided over by instructor Mary Purcell (Woronov). "Is this going to be gory, Miss Purcell?" asks a pupil before a session with a cadaver. "I can't promise anything, but we can all hope," comes the typically

sparkling reply.

The venal Dr. Paul Truscott (Bartel) not only molests female stiffs, but has embezzled a fortune from the business. When Dr. Truscott meets the dead girl of his dreams he elopes with the corpse for a sea cruise, leaving Miss Purcell and her pupils in the lurch. The mortuary academy is saved when

they're commissioned by Bernie Berkowitz (Wolfman Jack) to work on a deceased superstar rock group killed by automobile air bags (beware, that's probably the best joke in the screenplay). One of the students formerly built amusement-park robots; using his animatronics skills the Grimms resurrect

the band sufficiently to perform a final booking at a million-dollar bar mitzvah.

The movie peaks with the opening-credit sequence, which takes gruesome Victorian-era engravings of gross anatomy clinics and brings them to uproarious cartoon life to the tune of "Be True to Your School." After that it's all downhill. The photography is muddy, the lighting amateurish, and the

performers' feigned enthusiasm for the project not enough to prevent overall putrefaction.

The filmmakers exhume moments from better movies to their own detriment: Dr. Truscott is shown reading The Loved One, Evelyn Waugh's classic satire of the funeral business, a reminder of Tony Richardson's 1965 film adaptation that's a thousand times sharper and funnier than anything on display

here. The closing shipboard gag of Truscott and his rotted sweetheart quotes the finale of SOME LIKE IT HOT, possibly the best screen punchline of all time. This coda also trots out special guest star Cesar Romero for a few fruitless seconds.

Director Michael Schroeder made his debut with MORTUARY ACADEMY, but this 1988-copyrighted effort waited unseen and uncelebrated until late 199l to crawl out on home video. By that time Schroeder had fattened his resume with slightly more upscale productions, chiefly crime thrillers like OUT OF

THE DARK and RELENTLESS 2: DEAD ON. (Excessive profanity, nudity, sexual situations.)

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  • Released: 1992
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Cult movie personalities Paul Bartel and Mary Woronov scored a hit with EATING RAOUL, their coyly tasteless 1982 comedy of ill-manners. MORTUARY ACADEMY represents a gamey attempt to recapture some of that earlier movie's satirical bite. This one just bite… (more)

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