Coroner, The (1995)

The Coroner (1999)

Pray you’re dead before you meet…..

A female lawyer, who defends low-life prostitutes in their court cases, is knocked out by a tranquiliser on her way home one night. She awakens to find herself strapped to a table in a dingy house. It turns out that a recent spate of murders in the city has been committed by the local coroner. He ha seen singling out suicidal people and finishing the job for them – and she is his next victim.


Back when I was able to start buying my own films with my own cash, I would frequent the local video stores to see what low rent rubbish they’d have on offer. The walls were full of trashy horror films, low budget romps designed to lure unsuspecting punters like me into parting with their hard-earned cash. Every now and then I’d come across a little gem –The Dentist springs to mind as one of my earliest finds. But more often than not, I’d come across a right old turkey and The Coroner is one of them.

I just wish as much emphasis had been placed on making a decent film as there was with the tag line “Pray you’re already dead before you meet…The Coroner.” The Coroner is low budget drivel at its most, well, low budget. It is a complete mess from a story and structural point of view – hell I tried to make sense of the plot but it just doesn’t add up. I can’t reveal anymore to the story other than the simple outline above but there’s a lot more to it than that. Somehow it manages to fill out eighty minutes but most of it is the same thing over and over again – the coroner captures the lawyer, the lawyer escapes, the coroner catches her again, etc. Talk about padding out a film. There are plenty of flashbacks and flash forwards throughout the running time which is filled with footage culled from other films (though which films I don’t know as there is so little information about this film hanging around on the internet).

Barring the two main leads it seems that every other character in the film is pointless. The idiotic boyfriend, the two cops, the man and woman making out at the party, etc. They are just there to fill up screen time with some moments of dialogue and provide an extra body count. You won’t see the coroner actually kill anyone either – all of the action happens off screen. He doesn’t even dress like he does on the front cover and there’s no sign of any of the surgical equipment that he uses for autopsies. Maybe it is his day off or something. You’d never guess that it was his job if the film hadn’t been called what it is. Most of the action takes place in the coroner’s dingy house too and this set looks every bit as two-bob as it is, with cardboard walls vibrating a the slightest noise and looking ready to blow over if one of the actors got a bit carried away.

Jane Longenecker can’t act to save her life but she looks ok, is dressed in a school girl uniform by the coroner for whatever kinky reason and then at least gets naked in one of the scenes. Sometimes sins can be forgiven. Dean St. Louis isn’t too bad as the evil coroner of the title (and sports a bit of an off-beat Will Ferrell about him) but as I’ve said, he doesn’t kill anyone on screen – in fact he doesn’t do much at all except act like a pervert. He displays homosexual tendencies throughout the film, making his pursuit and torture of women seem a bit bizarre.


As far as pointless films go, The Coroner must rank up there at #1. It’s got little plot, little character development, little action, little excitement – little anything. You’d be better off taking this film to a real coroner and getting it dissected to find anything of note.





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