The Film (2/5)
A psycho named Dollface (Played by Candice De Visser), disguises herself as a reporter to get into a top secret insane asylum. Once in, she sets loose five of the most demented psychopaths in history. There secret hideout is a local funhouse, that just happens to be themed on the psychos past crimes. Since it just happens to be Halloween night, the time is right to start another all night bloodbath with plenty of brain dead teenagers ready for the slaughter.
Funhouse Massacre sounds like a good time, but unfortunately the movie doesn’t deliver on its plot or comic bookish villains. Funhouse Massacre suffers from many problems and never quite understands how to pace itself as a fun horror film. We start with a strong premise of setting loose a group of demented killers with catchy trademarks. Our first maniac is Miss Quinn/Dollface, a very sad attempt at aping Batman’s Harley Quinn. Our other five psychos are slightly more inventive, we have the ring leader Mental Manny (Jere Burns), Taxidermist (Clint Howard), Rocco the clown (Mars Crain), Animal (E.E. Bell), and The handsome dentist (Sebastian Siegel). But once they escape the film falls apart.
Instead of pacing the story out or building up any of the characters, we get stuck with half-baked attempts at humor and scares. The movie never chooses if the killers should be scary or comic stereotypes. Between death scenes we get never ending comic set pieces involving the killers confused by radio DJs, eating, or zany misunderstandings. Once the massacre starts, none of these killers seem menacing or even try to do any expect look tired and dazed. As for the other characters, we don’t have any. Matt Angel is dressed up like Doctor Who and is a virgin. Ben Begley plays one of the most insulting deputies since SCARY MOVIE. The only one that stood out was Erick Chavarria as Gerardo who is dressed up like Danny Trejo in Machete. His random asides and being too scared to go in was at least something to work with.
The movie’s biggest sin is its terrible writing. The killers start the massacre too early, and pretty much show all their cards on the table 15 minutes in. The movie just drags on with no energy. All the victims are simply tech obsessed and jaded by violence, but instead of doing something clever with this subject were stuck with groans. Lazy trendy topics are the name of the game. Millennials apparently won’t understand anything unless we have Colorado pot jokes, iPhone lust, twitter comments, and vine videos. I’m sorry but hashtag jokes are never going to be funny. Other wasted material is character backstories. The sheriff played by Scottie Thompson is suddenly given a revenge plot ten minutes before meeting the character she is supposed to kill, without any foreshadowing. So instead of a twist, were left to be confused and disinterested.
On the positive side of things, we get two half way decent performances by Clint Howard and Robert Englund. Howard at least looks like he is having fun. Englund is the highlight of the film in at least his character is semi well written and Englund is classing up the part with actual dread and not cracking terrible jokes, one can only wish he was given more to do. Another area the film shines is the use of real practical effects. The gore may be cheap but at least there’s some time and craftsmanship involved. The movie is also shot really well with plenty of dazzling candy colors. With these minor aspects the film isn’t a complete waste, but boy is it disappointing. All the elements are there for a good time but nothing fits together right.
Funhouse Massacre comes with two audio tracks, a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and 2.0 DTS-HD master audio both in English. I recommend the 5.1 track. The tracks have a few issues with volume leveling near the end. The rest of the track is clear with no bumps or hiss. White easy to read subtitles are included. The movie looks fine especially for a new horror film. The transfer is in 1080p HD and the colors have a nice candy gloss. Something missing from a lot of new films. Some sections of the film look dreary and blurry, so everything is a bit of a mixed bag. Blacks are leveled fine and the hot pink gels stand out as per candy for the eyeballs.
Shout! Factory like always gives the movie a nice range of extras. We start off with an Audio commentary with director Andy Palmer, Producer Warner Davis, and actors Clint Howard and Courtney Gains. Next up is Production Diaries, which shows lots of behind the scenes material. The video quality on this extra is pretty fuzzy and hazy. There’s a three minute A Day on Set short, with quick laps photography showing the crew at work. Popcorn talk gives the film a complete live commentary with the director and writers. And lastly we get the trailer.
Funhouse Massacre could’ve been a fun time, but it drops the ball on almost every level. It never works as a comedy or a horror film. Not unwatchable but hard to love. Luckily if you want to give it a try Shout! Factory has given the film a handsome release. Rent it.