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Sony Pictures Home Entertainment presents
Mortuary Academy (1988)

"I don't want to become a mortician, I wanna be a doctor!"
- Max (Christopher Atkins)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: January 19, 2006

Stars: Paul Bartel, Mary Woronov
Other Stars: Perry Lang, Tracey Walter, Christopher Atkins, Wolfman Jack, Cesar Romero
Director: Michael Schroeder

MPAA Rating: R for (adult language, nudity)
Run Time: 01h:25m:33s
Release Date: October 04, 2005
UPC: 043396093935
Genre: comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
D+ D+B-C D-

DVD Review

Paul Bartel and Mary Woronov are best known for the film Eating Raoul, a cult classic if there ever was one. This tale of apartment dwellers who resort to cannibalism in order to open a restaurant put these two actors, who frequently worked together, on the map. While Bartel directed many of the films he appeared in, he was strictly in front of the camera for 1988's Mortuary Academy. Woronov is at Bartel's side yet again for this typical '80s low-brow comedy, along with a few other faces that were very familiar during that decade.

We not only get our fare share of screen time with Woronov and Bartel, but one of the stars of the show is none other than teenage heartthrob Christopher Atkins (The Blue Lagoon, The Pirate Movie). His presence alone dates the film; doing away with any preconceptions we might have about it being even halfway decent. Mortuary Academy is something that you could have easily found on a Friday night around midnight on Cinemax, or even the old USA program, Up All Night.

The Grimm Funeral Home is run by Sam and Max Grimm (Atkins and Perry Lang), brothers who have recently inherited the family business. After initially balking at the idea of embalming corpses for the rest of their lives, the Grimms quickly change their mind when they learn that the mortuary is worth about $2 million. There is a catch, though, Sam and Max have to attend the Grimm Mortuary Academy before running the show themselves. Paul Truscott (Bartel) runs the school, but he is a crooked, insanely corrupt man, who is somewhat kept in check by his girlfriend and teacher Mary Purcell (Woronov). Sam and Max not only have to overcome this internal corruption to receive passing grades, but they also have to deal with a motley crew of fellow students who have their own unique, and special talents.

Leave all of your sense of taste at the door, because Mortuary Academy has absolutely none of it. Scenes such as a topless Bartel frolicking on the beach with a dead girl is only a touch of what the film has to offer. Bartel's Paul Truscott is a necrophiliac with no shame at all, and apparently no desire to hide his fetish. The nastiness reaches a breaking point later on in the scene with the dead girl on the beach, as a group of the school's students come across the same dead body and have sex with it. We're led to believe that they don't know of her condition, but come on!

Mortuary Academy tries to be a few different '80s film franchises at once, blending the likes of Police Academy, Revenge of the Nerds, and even the Porky's films together to come up with many of this picture's themes. Like those franchises, there's isn't exactly a lot of depth to the story, and the overlying joke is as one-note as it gets. There aren't many funny moments, aside from some of the Bartel and Woronov interaction (those two have been much better in other projects), but there is enough nudity and schlock value to make Mortuary Academy at least worth a single viewing.

Rating for Style: D+
Rating for Substance: D+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: This full frame transfer avoids something that many, similar low-budget pictures face on DVD, washed-out colors. Instead, the colors are rather bright, and the fleshtones natural, while detailed images are a constant. There's still a bunch of grain and dirt, but I've seen worse on other recent catalog efforts.

Image Transfer Grade: B-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio sounds better than expected, but is still lifeless. Everything stays up front and there's no bass presence, yet the dialogue is always clear, despite the other sound effects and awful music.

Audio Transfer Grade: C


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
5 Other Trailer(s) featuring Chupacabra Terror, Frankenfish, Devour, Vampires: The Turning, Kingdom Hospital
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The only semblance of supplements are trailers for other Sony Pictures Home Entertainment releases.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

Paul Bartel and Mary Woronov are the only thing that Mortuary Academy has to offer unless you're strictly looking for some gratuitous nudity and a rarely-seen mess with an appearance by Christopher Atkins. This seemingly buried movie comes to DVD with surprisingly above average audio and video, but no extras at all.


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