In Ryan Spindell‘s horror anthology, THE MORTUARY COLLECTION, nothing is as it seems in the phantasmagorical town of Raven’s End. One day, a misguided young girl takes refuge in a decrepit old mortuary. There she meets Montgomery Dark (Clancy Brown), an eccentric undertaker with more than a few skeletons in his closet. Montgomery chronicles the strange history of the town through a series of twisted tales, each more terrifying than the last, but the young girl’s world is unhinged when she discovers that the final story…is her own.
For the upcoming Blu-ray/DVD release of THE MORTUARY COLLECTION, Nightmarish Conjurings spoke with Clancy Brown about everything from the mortuary arts, which segment is his favorite, and more.
Hi Clancy, thank you so, so much for speaking with me today! To start things off, what excited you most about taking on the role of Montgomery Dark?
Clancy Brown: Oh gosh, the character was just so well written and the story was well written. One of the things that Ryan does is he has this ability to create this world and these characters that you’re immediately familiar with. I felt like I had seen a character like Montgomery before, that I knew who he is, and yet it’s completely original. It’s just an amalgamation of so many other characters that you feel familiar with and comfortable with. He sort of gets you nice and cozy and then springs something shocking on you or something that you didn’t expect, something brand new. I just love the way that he told the story and used these kinds of iconic and familiar tropes and characters and themes and just kind of turned them on their ear in a new way.
When it came to your character where did you pull inspiration from and was there something you brought to the character that wasn’t already written into the script?
Clancy Brown: I love all the formality that Christopher Lee would bring to his roles as well as John Carradine’s gravitas. I love all of those little feelings that you get when you watch those old Hammer shows, it’s just all there, that kind of anthology feeling. [B]ut there was nothing so specific that I wanted to recreate. I didn’t want to be the Crypt Keeper or Angus Scrimm, but I love the fact that [Montgomery] kind of resembled Angus Scrimm a little bit and had a sense of humor that wasn’t quite as corny as the Crypt Keeper. I wanted to bring all those things to life somehow and I think it happened in the way that Ryan intended.
What was the makeup process like when it came time to embody Montgomery?
Clancy Brown: It takes about 2, 2-1/2 hours to get in. Mo Meinhart, the makeup artist, was responsible for that and she did a great job. She was very attentive, very caring about what she did, but also made sure that it was right every time, she did a great job. She did other work on the film as well, she puppeteered the babies at the end and put on Sam’s (Caitlin Custer) makeup. She did a lot of great work on that movie, she’s one of the heroes of that movie, but that movie was full of a lot of heroes. Lauren Fitzsimmons, who did the production design, is particularly brilliant. Caleb Heymann and Elie Smolkin, who were the cinematographers, did terrific work. Everybody brought their A-game to that one and nobody was getting paid. They just did it because they really liked doing good work.
Since you’ve now played an undertaker, do you think you could ever be one and/or work in a mortuary?
Clancy Brown: Oh no, no no no no (laughs). I don’t need to know the ins and outs of the mortuary arts. I’ll just pretend to know (laughs). Ryan, I think, knows for some reason – he has some familiarity with that world, but no, that’d be too much for me.
Lastly, all the segments in MORTUARY COLLECTION are fantastic but, outside of your own segment, is there a story that’s your favorite?
Clancy Brown: It’s hard to pick. “The Babysitter Murders” is brilliant. The opening segment is so clean and clever, I love that one. “Unprotected,” that whole segment just made me laugh out loud, and then the payoff is not what you expect. I think the one that I loved the most is “Till Death.” It’s just a no-win situation and it’s got everything. It’s funny. It’s sad. It’s romantic and beautiful, and it’s horrible. It’s got a beautiful woman turned into a monster and then at the end, you wonder, “Did it really happen?” It’s just so cleverly made.
THE MORTUARY COLLECTION arrives on VOD, Digital HD & Blu-ray on April 20, 2021. For more on the film, check out our review here.