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Case Number 07697

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Mortuary Academy

Sony // 1988 // 86 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // October 4th, 2005

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson has pulled things from his nose that are funnier than this insipid attempt at raunchy comedy.

The Charge

D. O. frickin' A.

Opening Statement

Seemingly cast-off from USA's old Up All Night, Mortuary Academy is an attempt at the bawdy comedy that defined the "________ Academy" genre of the 1980s. Instead of policing or snowboard or even kickboxing, this academy deals with the deceased, and as such opens the doors for some profoundly tasteless and unfunny material.

Facts of the Case

Christopher Atkins (The Blue Lagoon) and Perry Lang (Relentless 2: Dead On) star as Sam and Max Grimm—the Grimm Brothers, get it?!—a couple of slackers who are surprised to discover they've inherited the family mortuary business.

Initially they're turned off at the prospect of pumping corpses full of embalming fluid, but when they hear the business is worth $2 million, they decide to jump at the chance. However, there's one caveat: they have to successfully complete mortician training at the Grimm Mortuary Academy before taking over.

Geez, I can feel my gray matter deteriorating just writing this.

Moving on. When they arrive at the academy, they cross paths with an assortment of losers and hoodlums, the slimy executive of the mortuary, Paul Truscott (Paul Bartel), and the oddball, sultry teacher Mary (Mary Woronov, Frog-g-g!).

Now the brothers must fulfill their academic obligations, while fending off the meddling of Truscott, who wants total control of the mortuary himself. Along the way nothing remotely entertaining happens.

The Evidence

Mortuary Academy sucks antelope sack. It is so bad Slobodan Milosevic forbade his cronies to use it as an interrogation tool. It is a horrible, horrible stroke of a movie, besmirching the already toilet-dwelling reputation of "academy" movies; Police Academy is to Mortuary Academy as Foucault is to The Weekly World News. If faced with the choice of watching Mortuary Academy again or attaching my lips to Michael Moore's inner thigh with a hot glue gun I'd…well, I'd probably watch the movie again, but it'd be a tough decision.

I attribute my not gouging out my eyes with a Sharpie to my strange fascination with obscure '80s trash; that alone sustained me through this digital trauma. If, for some strange reason, you also possess this quirk, then you too may glean a small dose of macabre enjoyment from Mortuary Academy. For everyone else, I'd steer clear of this film as if it were Halle Berry in an SUV.

So what do you expect with your R-rated farcical comic romps? A few funny one-liners, over-the-top comic set-pieces, some tasteless humor, perhaps a bare breast or two? Heh, dream on. Mortuary Academy is as funny as a canker sore, and twice as painful. I didn't laugh once through this ordeal. No chortle, no chuckle, not even a quarter of a guffaw. The writing was infantile, with such standouts as calling someone a "toxic vagina" or noting that one's hemorrhoids were "the size of the monkey heads"—okay, that last one was pretty good.

As for the tasteless humor, well, the filmmakers got half of it. Mortuary Academy is cringingly tasteless. Without a doubt, the blue ribbon goes to the punishing side-story of Truscott's affinity for dead girls. That's right, necrophilia, the reliable go-to source for belly laughs.

Prepare yourself to endure such hilarious scenes like Truscott rolling around a beach half-naked with a dead girl, who then gets swept out to sea only to be found by some horny college guys, who proceed to have sex with her. Or the knee-slapping sequence where the academy students coerce Truscott into passing them all by implanting a clamp device in a corpse's vagina, leading to the subsequent groin joke—except here the joke's on the guy who had sexual intercourse with a dead girl. Ha! Comic gold!

The rest of this film is nonsensical, sporting pointless side stories of the brothers looking for love, buttressed by flat mortician skits featuring Woronov, with the whole miserable affair culminating in a tacked-on musical number by supposedly reanimated corpses. Yeah, me neither.

And if you're banking on at least a minimal amount of debauchery (the disc cover certainly trumpets this aspect, prominently featuring a group of blondes carrying a casket), think again: you'll find trashier titillation on an episode of Maury Povich.

I think that's about enough of Mortuary Academy, huh?

Sony's dredged this film from the Abyss of Forgotten B-Movies and packaged it in a bare bones disc: a shaky full-frame transfer that looks every bit its age and a hollow Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio track.

Closing Statement

Instead of spending 80 minutes with Mortuary Academy, use your time in a more constructive manner and stab a kitten or something.

The Verdict

Slap a toe-tag on this stinker and send it away.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 70
Audio: 70
Extras: 20
Acting: 40
Story: 45
Judgment: 50

Perp Profile

Studio: Sony
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• Spanish
Running Time: 86 Minutes
Release Year: 1988
MPAA Rating: Rated R
• Bad
• Comedy

Distinguishing Marks

• Trailers


• IMDb

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