Pretentious Pictures Presents:

Mortal coil

A horror-comedy
The novel (have a click)èthe play (go ahead)èthe Movie
“Mr. D., what comes next?” His lips quivered. His watery eyes searched mine. “What’s after?”
My eyes welcomed him, but did not unbar the door. “I’m not supposed to say.”
“Please!” He jerked me close. “Tell me!”
I shook my head. “It’s a secret.”

Delmore Danruther
Clown, slacker, womanizer, wild man on the dance floor, takes nothing seriously, especially his job as a funeral director.
He aswers the calls, picks up the bodies, sometimes from accident scenes, sells the caskets, organizes the ceremonies, presides at some himself—
—helps with the embalming, washes the cars, cleans the toilets, does the jobs that go with the turf—
—plays ball-and-paddle in the back room, dresses the bodies up for parties, wears false eyebrows to read a service. But if he gets a call from someone in anguish he can suddenly be tender. And despite his boss's nagging he won't sell grief-vulnerable people caskets they can't afford.
Had a job hosing down buses at the terminal till he was picked up by Hannah Merklinger, whose husband owns the funeral home. She got him the job, part of which is keeping her happy.

MERRILIE Gornton
Heiress. Way out of hiss class. Caring or calculating? Horrified when he lets her see the back room, but her fascination amounts, fortunately for him, to a fetish.
He falls so in love that he almost dies for her, then finds her in bed with someone else.

anson gornton
“Anse.” Merrilie's grandfather. CEO of Gornton Pharmaceuticals and one of the richest men in the world. On his death bed, surrounded by family awaiting a piece of the pie.
Mistakenly pronounced dead, wakes, takes Delmore in his black suit for Death and confesses to him. Wraps his will in cigarette foil and swallows it before dying, causing a scramble for the body, which Delmore abducts.

The boss
J. Luther Merklinger, cadaverous insipid tightwad. Sucks up to the Gorntons. Has no idea his wife is sleeping with Delmore.

Nadine
Cosmetician. Could put you back together if you swallowed a depth charge. Disguises the corpse Delmore kidnaps. Brainy, noble, vulgar. Loves Delmore, will do anything for him, would never let him see that. Real tough.


Freon gornton
Fiftyish sassy well-shaped silicon. Tries too hard from the hips but it works. Anse adores her and in her arms rides out smiling. Digs Delmore, and solicits his aid in the search for the will.

HANNAH
The boss’s wife, sour, disappointed—in her husband, in Delmore, but can't give Delmore up, which makes her sourer. Pills-and-boozy organist at services.

Dog
Gaunt sleazy factotum. Helps Delmore with the heavy lifting. Mustn't be left alone with the bodies.

Jump
Pudgy nervous embalmer. Jumps when you speak to him. In the wrong job. Mustn't be left alone with the bodies either.

CHETWODE Gornton
Greedy snooty heir apparent. Enlists local godfather to retrieve the body. Heart attack when his dead father grabs his hand.

JOE FRANCE
Giant hit man after Delmore. “I like to make things dead.”

Anse's NURSE
Sour gold-digger, embarrassed by false declaration of death, reluctant to pronounce again, says she’s carrying Anse’s child. 

THEME SONG
 (for cheerful female voices, to the tune of "Shuffle off to Buffalo")

When you're in the mortuary
You may find it cold and scary—
No, no, don't recoil.
Off you're gonna shuffle,
Shuffle off this mortal coil!

Comes the undertaker later
And he'll drain your radiator
And he'll change your oil.
Off you're gonna shuffle,
Shuffle off this mortal coil!

First he'll put you on the table,
Then he'll pump out your insides.
He'll make your condition stable
With formal-de-hyde!

You'll be magotty and wormy—
It's enough to make you squirmy—
When you're in the soil.
Off you're gonna shuffle,
Shuffle off this mortal coil!

Just because you feel immortal
Doesn't mean you'll never die.
You'll get hard and rigor mortal—
No use to won-der why!

When you're pushing up the daisies
You'll be lying back and lazy--
No more moil and toil.
Off you're gonna shuffle,
Shuffle off this mortal coil!

Shuffle off, shuffle off, shuffle off, shuffle off,
Shuffle off this mor-tal coil!


Pretentious Pictures presents

Mortal coil


a horror-comedy