THE FUNHOUSE MASSACRE
*** (out of 5)
November 13, 2015
Robert Englund as WARDEN
Jere Burns as MENTAL MANNY
Scottie Thompson as SHERIFF KATE
Matt Angel as MORGAN
Chasty Ballesteros as CHRISTINA
Clint Howard as TAXIDERMIST
Courtney Gains as DENNIS
Erick Chavarria as GERARDO
Studio: Petri Entertainment
Directed by: Andy Palmer
BY KEVIN CARR
Halloween may have been two weeks ago, but this is a Friday the 13th weekend, so it’s a perfect time to open a horror movie. Sure, is the second Friday in November a little late for a Halloween-themed horror movie? Perhaps. However, were you to ask true horror movie fans, they would tell you that Halloween isn’t the exclusive time for horror. Scary movies can be watched year-round, whether it be Christmas Day, Easter Sunday or the Fourth of July.
So yeah, any Friday the 13th is game for a horror movie, and not just something that involves a hockey mask and a machete.
“The Funhouse Massacre” is a bit of a Halloween tribute movie because it takes place on Halloween night and has a pivotal location in a haunted house. (Not a spooky house with real ghosts, but rather a place where friends and family can go to be honestly scared but safe as actors jump out at them from the shadows.)
In the film, the daughter of a psychopathic killer lies her way into her father’s asylum under the pretense of interviewing the Warden (Robert Englund). However, soon she takes her chance to kill the Warden and release her father and some of the most vicious killers from their cells. The team of psychopaths make their way to a local haunted house attraction and take over the roles of the actors, killing the patrons. Of course, since this is the sort of thing you’d expect to see in a good haunted house, no one suspects there are real murders and torture happening until it’s too late. A group of haunted house patrons join forces with a local sheriff to defeat the killers and save as many people as they can.
At its heart, “The Funhouse Massacre” is a slasher movie with a Halloween theme, and kudos to the filmmakers for finding a way to embrace Halloween and slasher movies without retreading Michael Myers. They also managed to spread the evil around a bit so the film doesn’t rest on any one killer’s shoulders. This is a good thing because while the psychopaths have some interesting backstories (including a taxidermist who stuffs people alive, a demented cosmetic surgeon and a former underground wrestler whose ring persona is an evil clown), none of them have enough depth to be fully developed.
Any one of these killers might have lost his luster as a headliner in a film. (Think the title characters for “The Ice Cream Man” or “Dr. Giggles” who never really became their own cash cow franchises.) However, together, allowing the film to jump between each of them spreads around their work to make for a greater whole. In this sense, each of the characters is like a room in a haunted house exhibit. Any given room can be thrilling but hardly constitutes a full experience. It’s only when you go through the entire haunted house that you can completely enjoy what the exhibit has to offer.
Like any smaller-budgeted horror film, “The Funhouse Massacre” lends itself to comedy as well as it does horror. And while it gets a bit cheeky at times, it keeps most of the jokes to a minimum and allows itself to be an entertaining horror movie.
The heroes aren’t terribly well-developed, and there’s a reveal that’s not as clever as the filmmakers think it was, but that doesn’t stop the film from being a bloody good time with plenty of gore and some authentic haunted house moments.