TFW Movie Review: Mortal Remains

The other movie I enjoyed while attending Texas Frightmare this year was the documentary Mortal Remains, which deals with the life and times of filmmaker Karl Atticus.

This here is your one line warning to, if you want to avoid spoilers, go read something else. Like maybe this… or this… but if you don’t care, then read on.

The first thing that struck me about this film is its dedication to the lie. Very much like The Blair Witch Project, when it was new and running under the radar, directors Mark Ricche and Christian Stavrakis, thrust you right into the myth and mythology of Karl Atticus without giving you time to really think… “Is this guy real? Are his films real? Why haven’t I heard about this guy before?”

(To be fair and honest, I was also rather drunk during the screening… “He’s going to put that cane up someone’s ass this time!”)

Seriously, they even went to far as to have a Karl Atticus website. Peep it here


And that’s what made this movie work for me, that dedication to the realism. Well, that and all the fucking cursing these guys do. I can relate to the language (can’t you fucking tell?). I didn’t mind the camera style… shaky, without being over-or-under produced, like so many found footage movies being made. And it’s more realistic for that. Definitely a movie, made well enough that the lower budget lifts it up as opposed to dragging it down.

The filmmakers keep returning to the same clues, over and over. It’s all they have, and they use it. There wasn’t any wasted screen time with them chewing the bullshit over coffee and crullers, until they make some magnificent discovery. Instead, they return, over and over, to the same clues until they figure their shit out.

The other thing I found enjoyable about the film are the motivating factors here. After shit starts getting weird (which, incidentally, is where I would have bailed), one guy does bail on the project. He’s persuaded to come back for the money. As a writer, I know how alluring an artistic payday can be, and that’s what they’re presented with near the end. Even with the dire warning they receive, they sludge forth to their inevitable end. Money, motherfuckers, it’s worth dying for. Kinda what we all do, anyway.

Overall, definitely check this film out, especially if you’re a fan of the fake documentary movie style. They’ll have you going and guessing the whole time, trying to follow along with all of the cryptic clues left behind by Atticus as he turns his favorite writer’s books into movies and more.

Bonus mindfuck: Karl Atticus’s favorite author, Vernon Blake, is also fake, but again you’ll second guess that while watching this film.

With my patented “Chris Only Rating Scale” I give the move 3 of 5 stars.


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