Hey friends! Barbarella here and I had the pleasure of chatting with Clancy Brown. My inner teenager was over-the-moon that I was speaking with HIGHLANDER’s Kurgan, but I resisted quoting the 80’s film to the man with the great voice. Instead, the call was to discuss THE MORTUARY COLLECTION, a beautifully filmed horror anthology which stars him as Montgomery Dark.
After briefly discussing injuries and aging, I tried to no avail to pry some information from him regarding Showtime’s “Dexter” revival. At least, I tried. After that attempt, I moved on to the movie THE MORTUARY COLLECTION, which is available today on VOD, Digital HD, DVD & Blu-ray.
What was it about the project or about Ryan that inspired a seasoned actor like yourself to work with a first-time feature filmmaker?
“That's a really good question. I actually don't mind working with first-time or second-time feature filmmakers. I enjoy that, especially if they're good. This one got sent to me. I got the script and the short, “The Babysitter Murders.” I read the script first, and it was really good. It was crazier actually than what he ended up putting on the screen because there were just some stories that we couldn't do because they were just too complicated and expensive to pull off. He had a whole bunch of these little short stories in his pocket anyway, so he was just going to plug them all in however he wanted to.
“I love the craziness of the story, but you look at the... Well, what's the wraparound going to be? What's the framing story going to be next? Because that's what I'm supposed to do. I love the character because it's not a character that anybody would think of to do right off the bat, so that made it very attractive. And he had artwork in it, and it pretty much looked very much the same, except Montgomery was much thinner than I actually am, which was kind of cool. I loved the script and thought wow, now we have to see about the short, see if this guy's actually good. The short was terrific.
“There was a little bit cut from THE MORTUARY COLLECTION, but not too much. He couldn't get rid of too much. Great fight in it. And it's like one of the best fights I think I've ever seen. You always think you know where it's going, and it gets there, and then he goes a couple steps further. I was just thrilled and delighted the whole time I was watching that.
“I got to meet the guy, and I sat down with Ryan and just fell in love with him. He's a sweet, sweet man. And he told me what he intended and how he wanted to make it. Everybody thought it was something that couldn't be done. And so, as soon as I hear that, and you hear the conventional wisdom is against the film, that's exactly the kind of thing that makes me want to do it.”
“So, I called up my folks, and I said, "Let's make this happen." And they cursed me and said, "You're not going to make any money." I said, "I know, but what else am I doing right now?” So we went and did it, and it was really terrific. It was really a fun project. Everybody put in the extra time and [went] the extra mile. Amalgamated Dynamics did the makeup and a lot of the effects because they believed in the script, and they believed in Ryan. So, there was a lot of good will being cashed in on this thing. That’s always fun. People do their best work because they just love the material, stuff like that.”
“I mean, Lauren Fitzsimmons, who did the design of it, just did outstanding work. It's just so good that she did it for a nickel. I don't know how she afforded to do all that stuff.”
Yeah. It definitely looks more expensive.
“Yeah. I mean, it's just incredible. It's really an incredible job. And they did it for no money. They're just clever enough and talented enough to pull it all off. And I love that.”
While Montgomery Dark seems to draw from a lot of different kinds of characters in horror, in my mind, I kind of feel like he's sort of the perfect blend of Angus Scrimm and the Crypt Keeper. He's got this sort of nice mix of creepiness and humor, yet he's still so unique. How would you describe him?
“Yeah, I think that's right. He's very much derived from all of those icons of horror, those anthology icons. There's also a little bit of John Carradine and Vincent Price and those kinds of Amicus guys, those storytellers, and the Hammer people, and all of those kind of 50’s, 60’s, 70’s camp horror icons. But at the same time, even though he's clearly a child of all of them, he's completely original.”
“It's kind of a neat trick. What Ryan ends up creating there is something that is immediately familiar, but immediately nothing you've seen before. He sort of seduces you with the familiarity of it, and you feel comfortable. It's like the DC comics; the format is very conducive and very geared to putting you at ease and it's a comic book, and then all of a sudden somebody's [redacted to avoid spoilers] and you're like, "Whoa! What the hell just happened, Ryan?" It's so much fun what he does. He's a very clever, very talented guy. Keep your eye on him.”
Did you have a favorite story in the anthology?
“Wrap-around was really cool. I liked “Till Death.” I thought that Sarah Hay rocked it. I just thought it was beautiful. I just thought it was one of those stories that nobody's getting out alive. It was funny, and it was heartbreaking, and it was romantic, and it was horrifying and I think it was just kind of... I just thought it was terrific. It was long. I liked how long it was.”
Yeah. What was the most memorable moment working on this film and what made it so memorable?
“Oh, most memorable moment. I don't really know. I mean, gosh. I think when we went to the crematorium that's supposed to be in the basement, right? That was actually shot in an old port on the Oregon coast. That was a pretty creepy place. It was a for-real installation, guarding the Columbia River from U-boats and Japanese subs and stuff. It’s just this incredible engineering thing that’s underground that the military built to keep the ships away from us. It turns out it was never necessary, but boy, oh boy, it was quite something. We used to do stuff like that as a country. We’re going to build the biggest guns right here, and we're going to protect those, and it's all going to be underground, and they did it. All good, but that was a creepy, creepy place. It was serious. It was like that movie THE GUNS OF NAVARONE, that kind of thing, [where] the Nazis have built this big gun installation, and it's all hollowed out, and they have all this industrial stuff in there. That's kind of what it was. Just crazy.”
Speaking of crazy, THE MORTUARY COLLECTION is now available on VOD, Digital HD, DVD & Blu-ray.