Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mortuary, 2005

I’m sorry Sporefans, but I’m afraid that today’s review is not for you. No, today’s review is for my fungal brothers and sisters who dwell in the depths of B-movie exploitative cinema. Well, they would be my brothers and sisters if we weren’t an asexually reproducing species; but they’re still kin and I feel their pain. My fungal friends are misrepresented in movies and are often portrayed as disgusting, infectious and sometimes quite dangerous. This is clearly a distortion of reality and an effort by the “hu-man” to keep us down. However, if you, gentle Sporefans decide to read on, I would greatly appreciate your time and attention on this topic which is most infuriating to myself and my other Fungal-Americans.

A prime example of what I like to call “spore-tation” cinema would be the 2005 film Mortuary, directed by antifungist Tobe Hooper. Denise Crosby stars in Mortuary as Leslie Doyle, a recently widowed single mother of two. She takes her two children, Johnathan and Jamie (Dan Byrd and Stephanie Patton respectively) and moves to an old, abandoned mortuary in California. As they struggle to adapt to their new lives the locals tell them about the legend of Bobby Fowler, the deformed progeny of the last owners who supposedly killed a lot of people and lived inside the graves surrounding the mortuary.

Did I mention that the house comes with FREE coffins?

So far this sounds like the plot to just another box set horror movie, but then there’s a twist. This is the part where I tell you to stop reading if you don’t want to have the movie spoiled. While you ponder your options, here’s a video of a kitten doing something really, really cute.

And now, beware the spoilers: The twist here is that the killer in the movie is not Bobby Fowler, but a large growth of corpse mold which lives beneath the embalming room floor and feeds on the blood of the dead. The corpse mold grows out of control and eventually infects the dead bodies to drink up their precious, tasty blood. After the bodies are infected with the corpse mold they become zombies who attack the living in an effort to infect them and then drink their blood as well.

So in Mortuary, people are literally spored to death.

Are truffles really supposed to HUUURK!!!

I take great umbrage with the inaccuracy with which my people are portrayed in this film. First off, Mr. Hooper, I have never, ever killed a human being; unless you count clowns, which most people don’t. Secondly this movie implies that a fungus can infect the dead and reanimate a corpse making it into a walking servant who feeds humans to a giant fungal maw. Nothing could be further from the truth! My zombies were hired, not created; and receive a rate of pay higher than stipulated in the fair employment for undead workers act of 1996. In fact, the following is a written letter from my zombie employees in regards to how they view their working conditions.


Brains.... braaaaiiins! Brains... braains. Brains, brains, braaaiiins. Brains.

As you can see, my zombie staff is not a group of infected slaves whose minds are controlled by a vicious fungal overlord. Sure, they have a one track mind, but their minds are their own, and I clearly...

Hey! Hey! Don’t eat that! That’s not a brain! No! No, it’s The Man with Two Brains! Don’t you know who Steve Martin is? No, it’s plastic; not brains. VHS. See? V.H.S. It’s a tape! NOT BRAINS!

I’m sorry folks, we were just having a... workplace misunderstanding. Where was I? Oh, yeah... my zombies are not slaves, they are not infected with a fungus, and they clearly have a mind of their own. Besides, everyone knows that zombification comes from viruses, not fungi.

Zombie: I wanted to talk to her about my working conditions, but all that came out was "Braaains." Apparently this also constitutes sexual harassment. Maybe if I hadn't approached her in my underwear things might have gone better.

So I had to ask myself why any self respecting fungus would work with a known antifungist like Tobe Hooper. I mean, sure he directed The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; the original one, not the remake. I guess having a horror movie classic under your belt makes people think you’re a pretty big deal. Heh, I mean what else has he done?

Besides Poltergeist.

I mean, those aren’t really a big deal, right?

OK, well to get the real deal I contacted the corpse mold in the movie Mortuary and it agreed to do a phone interview with me. I’ve transcribed our conversation below for my brother and sister fungi; as well as those Sporefans who have read on and support the cause. What I found was most surprising.

Larry really has some boundary issues.

Spored: So semi-sentient corpse mold, first off... how are the motes? Have you spawned a lot of particulates lately? Are they blooming well?


Spored: Well, I’m glad to hear that.


Spored: What? Oh sure, Larry it is then. So tell me Larry, what was it like working with Tobe Hooper?


Spored: Seriously? He was cool?


Spored: Wow, I really didn’t expect that. I would have thought he would be a total jerk, but it looks like I was wrong. Well... I bet you and Denise Crosby didn’t get along well. I mean, she was eaten by a giant pile of slime or something in Star Trek: The Next Generation, so she’s probably got some very antifungist sentiments.


Spored: You went out for drinks?


Spored: Well, what about the writers? Jace Anderson and Adam Gierasch must be totally anti-mold!


Spored: What do you mean they were a pleasure to work with?


Spored: OK, yes... I agree that this movie is a lot of fun. Okay? Yes, it is a fun, simple but good movie that was great to watch and had a few great moments. But...


Spored: Yes, I did see that part where your fungal tendrils creeped up the drain to feast on the blood of the recently deceased; and yes, it was creepy. But why would you perpetuate the stereotype that fungi will invade human bodies? Don’t you know that you’re making us look like monsters in the eyes of the public? Why would you pretend to do something like that?


Spored: Oh.

Apparently Larry really does invade the bodies of the living and recently deceased and makes them into zombies. OK, so not all spores are good. But without fungi, you wouldn’t have penicillin, which we gave to Alexander Fleming in 1928. Without us, you would have no bread, no cheese and no beer.

Seriously, there would be no beer.

Also, we make great medicines. High cholesterol? We can fix that. Overactive immune system? We’re on that too.

Did I mention the beer?

"Living in a world without mushwooms would make me sad. Teddy too!"

While I admit that my interaction with Larry has opened my eyes to the fact that not all spores are beneficial, I still think we deserve props for all the awesome things we do. As a matter of fact, there’s one more thing that fungi do for you, and that’s review movies.

So in summation spores and Sporefans, Mortuary is a fun film worth watching. The human actors in the movie are quite good and I guess I can forgive Tobe Hooper, Jace Anderson and Adam Gierasch for their fungal indiscretions... this time. The only thing that strikes my ire, Sporefans, is that jerk Larry; a fungus whose lame weakness was an aversion to salt. What a ridiculous inaccuracy! Many of us are tasty with a well portioned dose of salt! We don’t melt and...

Actually... ZOMBIES! Come hither... I need you to make a special delivery!

See you next time Sporefans.