Tuesday, June 7, 2016
The Funhouse Massacre
Six of the worlds most notorious psychopaths escape from an asylum and proceed to wreak havoc on a local Halloween Funhouse whose attractions are based on each psychopaths reign of terror while the unsuspecting patrons believe the chaos to all be part of the show.
The Funhouse Massacre opens on a bit of a shaky note. We get Robert Englund for the opening segment as the warden of the asylum and while he doesn't have much to do, it's always fun to see the legend himself on screen. The introduction of the inmates and their prison break left me pretty underwhelmed with most of their back stories and violent crimes being pretty run of the mill and not creative...like at all. We have a chef who feeds people to people, a dentist who kills with drills, a crazy religious leader, etc. Not very imaginative or gripping. We also get a bumbling deputy who becomes increasingly annoying and unfunny as the film goes on.
The film picks up and starts gathering a little steam when we're introduced to the group of friends going to the Funhouse that night before Halloween. There isn't really a standout performance amongst the group but they're a pretty likeable and funny ensemble with good chemistry. The killers set up in the Funhouse and kill a pretty funny Courtney Gains with lots of smokey fog setting the Halloween atmosphere nicely. At this point I was ready for the fun to begin!
Unfortunately again over the next 30 minutes the film loses steam quickly. We get to see people walking through the Funhouse and glimpses of the psychopaths killing people while the customers think it's fake. We get more of the bumbling deputy, some cutesy talk between 2 characters in the group of friends who like each other, and a weird sex scene. The whole middle of the film doesn't have much going on but the practical effects are pretty damn impressive and the gore should satisfy gore hounds.
A lot of the comedy seems forced and just not funny. And the worst part is it's in pretty much every scene leaving the escaped psychopaths surrounded by awkward, lazy humor and draining any fear we're supposed to feel from them and rendering the whole premise of the film useless. One could argue that The Funhouse Massacre is a horror-comedy so there isn't meant to be real fear from the psychopaths per se, but when their characters are played straight and devoid of humor, that doesn't seem to be the case. Even during the final act, the 'massacre' part where all hell should be breaking lose, the script is too focused on trying to make seemingly every single line of dialogue into some kind of joke.
The weakest element of The Funhouse Massacre is that it didn't utilize the Funhouse itself and use the themed attractions to demonstrate the true evil of the six villains. The whole set up felt pointless and like one giant missed opportunity.
Ultimately the humor didn't work, the premise felt wasted, and fantastic practical effects weren't backed up by any sense of fear or dread or evil. I was very disappointed in The Funhouse Massacre, and I usually like movies like this! It just felt all wrong with weak humor and lazy characters. I can't recommend it.