The Funhouse Massacre has such a great premise. A group of diabolical killers escape from the institution they have been held in. They make their way to a newly opened horror funhouse based on their actual crimes & set about slaughtering the patrons.
A premise that should be gory entertainment but instead is nothing but a lacklustre horror with little actual laughs.
Opening on Halloween night we’re introduced to a reporter (Candice De Visser) who has arrived at a secluded facility where the worst killers are being held without trial. She is planning to blow the lid on the illegal operation so has been invited to see the place for herself in the hope that she’ll realise how dangerous the criminals are.
The director of the facility played by the wonderful Robert Englund takes her on a tour that is as much about showing us just who they have locked up behind bars. It’s a great opening where we meet the killers & see some of their horrible crimes in flashback form.
We have Dr Suave (Sebastian Siegel), Animal the Cannibal (E.E. Bell), the Taxidermist (Clint Howard), Rocco the Clown (Mars Crain) & most importantly, Mental Manny (Jere Burns).
Mental Manny was a mass-murdering cult leader & is kind of in charge, he also has a daughter… *wink, wink*
After that the reporter then tries to seduce Robert Englund in his office before killing with piano wire. Thanks for your time, Robert.
It turns out that she is a psycho herself & is actually the daughter of Mental Manny. She dispatches the rest of the guards & frees the criminals. They all make their way to the Macon County Funhouse that is having its grand opening night!
Elsewhere a group of youngsters working at a local diner decide to close up early & go to the Funhouse. This group are walking clichés whose characters can be summed up in their choice of Halloween costumes.
We have Dr Who, the nervous nerd who is constantly sarcastic & is too shy to ask out the bumble bee who is also a bit nerdy & shy. She is innocent & sweet, something that she is teased about by slutty Hilary Clinton!
I don’t understand why modern horror movies feel the need to try & date their movies so obviously. Be it the overuse of technology (the Poltergeist remake) or a Hilary Clinton election joke. While showing off her ‘assets’ she makes the terrible & already dated joke that who wouldn’t vote for these next year?
Well, that worked out…
Later in the movie we also get a reference to Vine, the short video sharing site that is being shut down. This movie came out last year & already feels way older.
Anyway, the rest of the group are terrible comic relief or completely forgettable & it’s obvious early on just who is likely to die.
At the Funhouse, the actual staff are killed off by the newly arrived group of psychos who then decide to play along while murdering everyone they can. As the patrons move from room to room they are shocked by just how realistic it all looks but believe it all to be part of the show. That is until Hilary gets into a fight with Mental Manny’s daughter & is killed. The group realise that it’s all real so try to escape only to find they are locked in.
Thankfully for them a Sheriff with more connections to Mental Manny then she lets on & her inept deputy are on the case.
It sounds great, it really does but it’s incredibly boring. With characters this clichéd it is impossible to care about what happens to them yet they are kept alive for far too long with minor characters suddenly introduced so they can be the victims.
There are no standout actors here, many seem to just be phoning it in for the pay check (Englund, Howard & Burns in particular).
The story is weak & the horrible love-angle between Dr. Who & the bumble bee (you won’t remember their names) is so poorly told.
The one thing this movie should have had going for it is the deaths & gore but even those are lacklustre. Early on a guard gets shot in the chest & blood spurts from him in such an unrealistic way that it’s clearly a blood bag that’s just burst. Many of the nastier deaths are off-screen & only the end results are shown.
It focuses way too much time on Rocco the Clown & under-utilises the more fun killer like Dr. Suave (he’s a dentist) & the Taxidermist. By the final third it’s near unwatchable as Machete & the inept deputy get far too much screen time & flat jokes.
A dated, disappointing mess of a movie that really drops the ball on what should have been a silly, fun horror romp.
The Funhouse Massacre