Funhouse Massacre



Small rant. Robert Englund is just fine in this. He makes a contribution at the beginning as the tired operation manager of a mental institution for the psychotic insane. The very worst of the sickos the country can produce. He is giving a journalist a tour of the place in the hopes of keeping the establishment running. Except she isn't a journalist...she's Dollface (Candice De Visser), the daughter of a cult leader who led his flock to mass suicide, Reverend Manny (Jere Burns, of Angie Tribeca & Justified). If the above posters didn't present Englund as anything more than a cameo thankfully involved in the low budget production, I wouldn't have been so remiss, but this gnawed at my guts due to its blatant false advertising. He's tricked, garroted​, and dismissed. Goodbye.

**½


Let’s just get this out of the way. A LOT of fucking people die. A lot. Like a heavy body count to end all body counts. A lot of folks around the area for which this funhouse setting occurs come to get their fill of its depraved and demented delights, not realizing that the local loonies from the nearby nuthouse have “replaced” (that’s a bit of an understatement!) the employees meant to scare them, instead butchering all the patrons in gruesome and grisly ways! Besides the maniacal Manny and Dollface (who paints her face like a doll, wears her hair in pigtails and curls, prancing around jovially in a short skirt, wielding her blades to slash faces and throats), there’s this towering giant that was once a wrestler but killed too many in the rings he rampaged through named Rocco (Mars Crain). Rocco rips off the clown face of his sub in the funhouse…literally. And Rocco wears the face! And that hammer that is used by those at these funhouses and carnivals to see if they can ring the bell and boost their ego in the process? Rocco uses that as a weapon to smash heads! That is the kind of movie awaiting you my fine horror friends. Clint Howard just can’t stay away from the genre…just when he goes away to star in a movie of his brother’s, good ole Clint returns to the genre that gives him such as role as in this one, as a diabolical taxidermist who is more interested in stuffing humans that animals! He has that crazy look in his eyes and the hair like this wild mane. So he fits the gang of crazies like a smooth tonic down the throat. EE Bell as the “cannibal cook” is pure dark comedy stereotype. He leads in the patrons at the open door with blood on his mouth and a gleam in his eye. He smells of one girl, seeing if she is the right “ingredient” for a future cooked meal. Sebastian Siegal is the dastardly dentist who doesn’t just pluck teeth violently but uses a drill through his victims’ face, by way of the mouth of course. Courtney Gains (of Children of the Corn (1984) fame) is the moneybags behind the funhouse, unknowingly duped into the enterprise by Dollface, masquerading as a civilian but underneath always psycho-stitch-bitch. The funhouse was kind of a place of pure visceral reward to Manny and his asylum buddies, a place where the victims were aplenty, offering all of them good times. They could let free all their homicidal urges, and, sure enough, the opening night brought in the herd, ripe for slaughter.

Chasty Ballesteros is unrecognizable under the Marilyn curly wig, so seeing her out of costume is wow. She’s a sexual being so you know her time in the film is short once she goes at it all messy with Sterline Sulieman. Sulieman follows suit not long after, getting his face crushed up into a fence by Rocco. Ballesteros did not know that Dollface was watching her pounding away in the lady’s restroom, soon doing the tango in a catfight that ends with her throat impaled on a coat rack in one of the stall doors. She does give Dollface the commode facial plunge before her big exit. Renee Dorian, as cute Laurie with a shine for Matt Angel’s Morgan, is a flower set to bloom when cast in the right television series. I plan to see her explode on FX or Netflix or HBO at some point. Here she’s in Bumblebee costume while Matt’s Doctor Who. Matt’s tiresome “I’m Doctor Who.” as a patron in the diner Laurie works continues to retort, “Who?” will probably earn some giggles. But the film strangely isn’t as “pun driven” as I was expecting. It is more of a reaction driven horror slasher comedy. The film isn’t laced with wit or sarcasm despite having the talent to pull that off if the script were sharper and slicker. This is driven by its dead bodies and madmen. And there are mucho grande of dead bodies and madmen. For a long while, those who aren’t killed immediately believe that the real death/murder carrying on before them is all part of the funhouse act! Even as Manny tells the crowd listening to a couple of radio DJs reliving their past glory (he snaps one’s neck then jabs a microphone down the second’s throat right before the audience with them totally unaware that he just murdered both of them right in front of them!) his gang has been killing people all night, it still takes a moment or two before they finally start to flee and scatter! Soon the cops are hesitantly (but soon eventually do when encouraged by others) firing bullets into Rocco, while the sheriff (Scottie Thompson) goes after Manny with Dollface following close behind. Laurie jumps on the backs of killers but only aggravates them before being slung off. She does use a tool pan to clunk a killer across a scalpel already in his ear deep, contributing to his demise, at least. But almost all the cast dies eventually with few survivors left to see another day. And, yes, this has the killer, supposedly dead, emerging to surprise a survivor who thought it was all over.

This has heads taken right off the throat with blood gushing and squirting…one pulled off as the victim is screaming in agony and another having hers knifed clean off. Heads crushed, throats slashed, decapitations, bullet holes, and faces burned on open cookers…just another slasher film with its sharpshooter marksman aim right for the blood thirsty heart. Gory mayhem lovingly embellished.

I would be wrong not to mention Erick Chavarria as the diner cook who costumes as Machete and Ben Begley as the dimwitted deputy who vomits when he finally fires his gun upon a killer for the first time. They have those supporting parts that aren't taken for granted when they provide quirky offerings much appreciated during bouts of long takes viewing the strewn dead and handiwork of the lunatics laying waste to a generation of people!

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