Most horror fans enjoy a good massacre themed flick, even a so-so or bad one can deliver charms of grotesque proportions and turn a clever comedic line, though when it comes from clowns it always gives another thrill.
In a time when clown appearances consumed the news media for weeks if not months, the horror industry capitalized on the event, and director Andy Palmer created The Funhouse Massacre (2015) an independent feature from writers Ben Begley and Renee Dorian, which mixes gore and comedic lines at a Halloween theme park. Hence, with all the clown activity and film the containing a brief performance from Horror Icon Robert Englund, the popularity of it surged, and recently it contains a connection to another movie called ClownTown (2016) via special makeup artist David Greathouse. The film recently achieved further reaching distribution via Scream Factory in 2016, and unleashing a brood of serial killers to inflicting joyous cruelty to the patrons. One distinction needs clarification, this film, contains no association or remake of the classic Tobe Hooper’s The Funhouse (1981), this production, clearly a low budget video develops its own breed of insanity and bloody sets. Therefore, the scene set, noting the nods to horror fans throughout the film, two bloody thumbs up of severed hands for the ludicrous story and sheer massacre delights.
The film opens with a warden (Robert Englund) opening a private tour for independent journalist Ms. Quinn (Candice De Visser) of a private psychiatric prison hospital in which the audience gets a full understanding of whom the place houses and their traits. Among the murderous bunch a taxidermist (Clint Howard) and the cannibal Animal (E. E. Bell), the others more interesting and best seen for yourself. Later the reporter uses charms to entice the warden and finalizing the terms of release for prisoners on a new work release program, including her father Mental Manny (Jere Burns) once a cult leader of a group. It is sad that Englund’s inclusion serves more as a hook for the diehard fans, and the performance a mere footnote in the movie, sometimes one wonders if the movie and production costs warrant the payoff of such name talent, then again, the filmmakers achieved distribution to Scream Factory. Soon enough the enjoyment leaves the confines of the hospital and set to a Halloween attraction, previous design to copy the murderous scenes of the newly paroled killers’ troupe and doing away with the actors of those said scenes. After all, what better way to serve killers than with an endless smorgasbord of victims than at a bloody horror party event, who’s going to notice the bodies piling up and all the gore occurring. This all comes from outrageous means and the silly character inactions to the response of the mayhem, and yet bloodbath goes thoroughly out of control with the manually ripping off heads done by – well you’ll find out the culprit. Fret not, Ms. Quinn, reveals herself as Dollface, and vicious dangerous killing machine, though appears innocent, yet the experienced horror fan, knows that lure a mile away, and truly spots a Harley Quinn fashion statement. As the endless line of teens and young adults pour in, hoping for scares and the disassembly teams works overtime to keep up with the demand, but sadly not at the tempo one would like.
Howard’s presence feels a tad wasted and Sebastian Siegel as Dr. Suave doesn’t actually seem to enjoy his work, and this generates unwarranted chuckles. Now, a standout performance comes from the film’s screenwriter Ben Begley as Deputy Doyle a bubbling officer, that could give either Enos (Sonny Shroyer of The Dukes of Hazzard television show of 1979) or Barney Fife (Don Knotts) a run for their money, he’s a complete tornado of self inflicting trouble and provides endless enjoyment. In addition, Erick Chavarria (Bone Tomahawk (2015)) gives an equal terrific portrayal of the Machete persona costume as Gerardo, never breaking it to either side of too comical or too serious a fine line and delivery. Mars Crain, as Rocco, just crushes his display of interaction with guests, anymore on him gives way of the little plot of the film. Lastly, look for the lively contributions from the characters Christina, Randall, and Sheriff Kate (Chasty Ballesteros, Leigh Parker, and Scottie Thompson, they all fit their roles very well in a 90s horror setup flick, with some slasher qualities.
When one designed a story around or on Halloween a few staples need to incorporate even if there backdrop items, on a cheap set, namely decorations at passing homes, costumes whether of passersby or more patrons, and the jack-o-lanterns, all of the authenticity to support the moment. That is a major takeaway for setting the stage, but not the only one, the storyline, a copied one, and some of the characters never reach the full potential, while it tries to stay firmly planted in the horror genre, it does slip into the comedy zone and that is aside of Begely’s assistance. A brisk pacing film, fitted with good special effects and some obvious rubber parts sporadically hitting the set, yet the mid-credit surprise works well.
If one seeks to enjoy another movie with the term massacre in the title, one might enjoy this romp, it contains, more than enough gore and blood- splattering and delivers a brutal forceful charge of entertaining with laughs. The groans stay low-level, yet still manage to contribute for enjoyable factors, and outrageous antics.
This review originally posted in November 2016, on the Rogue Cinema site, with a view count of 1,508.
IMDb Rating: 5.3/10
Baron’s Rating: 5/10