The Funhouse Massacre, 2015.
Directed by Andy Palmer.
Starring Robert Englund, Jere Burns, Scottie Thompson, Matt Angel, Chasty Ballesteros, Clint Howard, and Mars Crain.
Six of the world’s scariest psychopaths escape from a local Asylum and proceed to unleash terror on the unsuspecting crowd of a Halloween Funhouse, whose themed mazes are inspired by their various reigns of terror.
In case the title or the synopsis didn’t make it clear, The Funhouse Massacre is not an Oscar-bait movie. There are no breath-taking performances, stunning visuals, or moments that touch your soul. There is, however, a metric shit-tonne of gore and violence, and even a cheeky bit of nudity. For this reason, I only want to spend a brief moment discussing the technical aspects of The Funhouse Massacre, because it is simply not the kind of film that warrants a technical review. Nevertheless, I feel the need to give a quick rundown of the film’s production, so here we go.
The Funhouse Massacre is a competently made film. The editing is basic, but never confusing, the set pieces generic, but in-keeping with the tone, and the soundtrack isn’t too far removed from the one used in the game Killing Floor 2. The characters are all one-dimensional, but the actors playing them perform well, and give a definite sense of identity to each character. Finally, though the story is mostly predictable, the final twist awards the film with a few bonus points.
Anyway, with that out of the way, let’s get the real meat and bones of The Funhouse Massacre: its gore drenched, slapstick humour.
The set up for the inevitable mayhem that dominates the second half of the movie is simple. A group of six psychopaths, each with their own, specific methods of killing, are released from imprisonment and set up in a funhouse, where they are given free reign over the visitors. There’s the mad dentist, the cannibal, the vengeful cheerleader/clown, and a handful of other delinquents, all of whom work beneath a Jim Jones-esque cult leader called Mental Manny (Jere Burns). As you can see, the word “subtlety” in not a part of this films vernacular. However, it is this obtuseness that really makes the movie.
Once the killers are set up in their new home, the film follows what is perhaps the most generic group of horror protagonists ever conceived – seriously, there’s the promiscuous girl, the virgin, the nervous guy who loves the virgin, the athlete, the stoners etc. – as they explore the funhouse, laughing and screaming at what goes on there, completely unaware that the animatronics are in fact recently deceased people. While they explore, we are shown a variety of clips in which the killers murder the visitors. One particular scene shows Rocco (Mars Crain) literally ripping someone’s face off and wearing it as his own. This whole segment is pretty fun, but not nearly as fun as what comes next.
After finishing the tour, the group splits up, still completely unaware that they are literally inside a human slaughterhouse. Here, the movie kicks in to fifth gear, as the killers start to target members of the group. This adds a layer of intensity to each potential kill, making the chase as exciting as the payoff. Sure enough, the more and more people that twig to the fact that the visitors are being bumped off, the more chaotic the movie becomes. Heads get smashed with hammers, others simply get yanked off, and blood soaks the floor. The violence is mostly meaningless, but it’s represented in such an exaggerated way, and with such self-awareness, that you can’t help but laugh at the sheer absurdity of it all.
Mature, thought-provoking, game-changing. None of these are words I’d use to describe The Funhouse Massacre. It is, however, a hilarious, self-aware, ultra-violent comedy/horror with plenty of laughs for that one member of the family who wears black at Christmas.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★/ Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★
James Turner is a writer and musician based in Sheffield. You can follow him on Twitter @JTAuthor