We have all heard about those grind house films from the 70s that come with crazy stories of causing actual deaths and filming live murders. Herschell Gordon Lewis ran into his fair share of controversy throughout his career being the creator of the splatter genre. Italian authorities tried Ruggero Deodato for murder after he made Cannibal Holocaust (1979), which was rumored to be a snuff film. Also in 1979 when Alien hit theaters, people actually ran out of the building and vomited into the streets after seeing the chest burster for the first time. Mortal Remains (2013) is a shockumentary about one such film by the same name, that caused a panic in Baltimore back in 1972. Mortal Remains (1972) was accused of using real footage of cadavers stolen from the local graveyard, and the film could also have been responsible for the disappearance of a couple young Baltimore actors including the director. Afterward, the original 1972 master was destroyed and the world seemed to have forgotten everything about it, and never wanted to remember it again.
Mortal Remains (2013) was written and directed by Mark Ricche and Christian Stavrakis and the film follows them as they try to uncover everything they can about the 1972 film’s director, Karl Atticus. They tracked down as much info they could about Atticus in order to uncover the truth and make a fair bit of profit from the subsequent documentary.
Mild Spoilers Ahead!
The shockumentary from 2013 has just been given a worldwide release and I have got to give props to the guys over at Cryptic Pictures for this one; mainly because I hate the found footage genre and I happen to have really enjoyed this one. The documentary starts out looking and feeling like a real documentary, complete with interviews from real people in the movie biz and frustrating dead ends. I even found myself questioning whether or not Karl Atticus was a real person, so, like any other human being with a smartphone, I googled his name and found a number of compelling sites that attested to his validity.
Since I was so used to trusting things I research on dependable sites, I spent a good portion of the film thinking that Atticus was a real guy and his films were real. Of course, I thought that the filmmakers were taking some poetic license to make the documentary look spookier, but it wasn’t until things got a little unreal that I realized I had been duped… and I loved it!
This revelation took me, the most avid of skeptics, to a very humbling place. We are living in a dangerous time of pseudo-scientific claims and fake news. When I hear something questionable, I take to the internet to find out the truth, and this time, the internet failed me. Everything in the film seemed to check out, I was fooled… that is until my super intelligent wife pointed out two damning pieces of evidence. Number one, she found the gravestone of Karl’s father in Baltimore on find a grave (which I had no idea existed and I must now turn in my horror card for not knowing it) and that gravestone didn’t match the one in the film. The second giveaway was when they tried to interview director John Waters. In the movie, Waters declines (over the phone) to do an interview about a psycho murderer film maker from Baltimore who might have used real human corpses in his films. My wife and I are huge fans of the “Prince of Puke”, and we knew that he would never pass up that opportunity. After some more searching we found out that all the sites and profiles were fake and created by the film makers. There was never a Mortal Remains, nor any Karl Atticus. But that is ok, I had a lot of fun watching and participating in the film.
Any great film has a strong theme, and the theme of Mortal Remains really reaches out and grabs you. This movie deceives us on many levels and teaches us to be skeptical about what we see or hear. It shows us that even in our modern times, common memories can be falsely created and backed up by internet “proof”. This is the INGSOC Ministry of Truth type shit George Orwell warned us about, much to our chagrin, and that, my friends is the real horror.
Born and raised in San Diego California, I grew up loving the action horror and sci-fi genres. The first R rated film I saw was Predator back when I was 8 years old. Aliens blew me away as a youngster and I made a M41-A pulse rifle out of paper towel rolls and rubber bands. I ran around for hours avoiding face huggers and blasting xenomorphs in my back yard and I am bringing that big imagination to Nevermore Horror.