Main cast: Renee Dorian (Laurie), Matt Angel (Morgan), Chasty Ballesteros (Christina), Sterling Sulieman (Jason), Erick Chavarria (Gerardo), Jere Burns (Manny the Prophet), Candice di Visser (Dollface), Scottie Thompson (Sheriff Kate), and Ben Begley (Deputy Doyle)
Director: Andy Palmer
Robert Englund gets the highest billing in The Funhouse Massacre, but do be aware that he only shows up for about, oh, fifteen minutes or so. Other top billed actors, Clint Howard and Courtney Gains, are also bit players here. Clint Howard plays a deranged taxidermist killer with only a few scenes, while Courtney Gains’s role is even smaller. The main cast members are actually unknowns, maybe because they are cheaper, and the budget for this movie is not exactly big.
Back to Mr Englund, he plays the warden of this secret prison facility that houses some of the most depraved criminals around – serial killers and such. He gets killed off quickly by the homicidal serial killer Dollface, who poses as a journalist only to kill all the staff and release some of the more infamous inmates.
These inmates are Manny the Preacher (her father who is also a cult leader-like fellow that enjoys seeing his followers willingly commit suicide at his behest), a former boxer turned homicidal fellow who wears his victim’s face over his, a dentist who kills his patients with his tools of the trade, a nutjob chef who kills his victims and serves them as dishes to his customers, and another mad fellow who stuffs his victims and play gruesome taxidermy experiments on them.
Together, Manny and his daughter put a plan into action. Dollface had previously seduced some guy into opening a funhouse near a now abandoned (and allegedly haunted) asylum, and now, the gang of villains murder the staff and take over. This way, they can kill with abandon, and none of the funhouse visitors will suspect a thing! Among these guests are a bunch of bored kids who work at the local diner. The more memorable ones are Laurie the good girl, Christina the slutty one, her boyfriend Jason, and the earnest Morgan who has a one-sided crush on Laurie. Will any of these avoid the murder lottery? Meanwhile, the long-suffering Sheriff Kate and her hopelessly incompetent Deputy Doyle arrive at the scene once the murders begin. Can they save the day?
The Funhouse Massacre is supposed to be a homage to the horror flicks of the 1980s, and it shows. The gore utilizes more make-up magic than CGI, and it’s well done make-up stuff, so for the most part, the gore feels real enough to be squick-inducing. Not that it is perfect – perhaps due to budget limitations, some scenes such as a head dismemberment via a medium-sized knife are still laughably fake. Still, the gore scenes can be so unapologetically crude and vulgar – Dollface cuts off the heads of young ladies to be used as pom-poms as part of her deranged cheerleading shtick, someone’s head get smashed by a mallet in the test-your-strength thing – that I can easily forgive any boo-boos.
The cast members are pretty decent to good in their roles. Ben Begley’s Deputy Doyle is so whiny and dumb, and yet so entertaining that I am torn between cringing and laughing. Renee Dorian’s Laurie shows some dry wit to prevent her character from being flat and boring, and the folks playing the villains and various victims can be entertaining in their roles.
Therefore, while this movie may not be breaking any new grounds in the gory slasher genre, it is a well acted, no nonsense flick that delivers where it counts. The pacing is good, the humor often works, and the characters that last late into the movie are generally likable and fun to watch. My only issue is the obligatory “twist ending” thing, which feels tired and played out instead. Still, The Funhouse Massacre is definitely worth a look if you are a fan of slasher movies.
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