Director: Andy Palmer
Cast: Jere Burns, Scottie Thompson, Matt Angel
Release Date: Available on Blu-ray & DVD June 7, 2016
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 8/10
Disc Rating: 8.5/10
On Halloween night, a group of the United States’ most notorious serial killers escape from Statesville Asylum and descend upon a giant funhouse whose theme is based on their different reigns of terror. The unsuspecting carnival patrons think that the carnage created at the park is just part of the show… until they become part of the main attraction. The only people left to stop the killers are a rag-tag group of college kids, a clueless deputy (Ben Begley, The Hungover Games) and the local sheriff (Scottie Thompson, Skyline, Before I Wake), who seems to have a strange attachment to the leader of the maniacs, the silver-tongued devil “Mental Manny” (Jere Burns, Justified, Angie Tribeca).
‘The Funhouse Massacre’ follows a group of the most terrifying and sadistic murderers in the country on Halloween night as following their bloody escape from a top secret holding facility, the group overtakes a local funhouse. Trapped behind bars for years and on the loose at last with a perfect playground and young, inebriated potential victims at every turn, the group of killers continue picking off unsuspecting individuals at random as the rest of the funhouse attendees continue to make their way through the grotesque work of these monsters, completely unaware that everything is in fact real, murder is all part of the show, and any one of them could be next. That is unless a random group of local teens and law enforcement are somehow able to stop the maniacs before it’s too late for everyone.
Directed by Andy Palmer (Find Me) from a script written by Ben Begley which marks his feature length writing debut and was based upon a story he additionally co-wrote along with Renee Dorian. Palmer does a fantastic job at the helm of ‘The Funhouse Massacre’ and knows exactly what kind of film he wants to make which comes across beautifully in the numerous similarities to the horror films of the past. The cast is comprised of some familiar faces combined with a number of far lesser known individuals including the films writers Ben Begley and Renee Dorian who both also portray key roles, along with Jere Burns (TV’s Justified, Angie Tripeca), Matt Angel (TV’s Grimm), Scottie Thompson (Skyline), Clint Howard (Evilspeak, Cocoon) and Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street) among others, the majority of whom deliver fairly capable performances at the very least in each of their respective roles.
‘The Funhouse Massacre’ is one of those rare throwbacks to the genre films of another era that manages to capture everything from the goofy nature, painfully moronic characters and a collection of mass murderers each with their own sadistic pleasures and kooky personalities as they run rampant through an open funhouse on Halloween that’s brimming with unsuspecting potential victims. Casual viewers likely won’t be the least bit impressed with the film, especially if unaware of what it’s trying to accomplish. Fellow genre fans on the other hand will almost surely appreciate this for the magnificent and incredibly enjoyable throwback to horror films of the 80’s that it is and these individuals should have a blood soaked good time with it. Guided wonderfully by directed Andy Palmer and complimented by a fitting cast including some familiar faces such as Jere Burns, Robert Englund and more, this one is definitely worth giving a shot for the fellow genre fans.
Overall, ‘The Funhouse Massacre’ is an incredibly enjoyable, blood drenched ride and a fantastic throwback to the horror films of another decade that genre fans should absolutely love. Guided with a perfectly fitting style by director Andy Palmer and featuring a more than capable cast, I would highly recommend horror fans check out ‘The Funhouse Massacre’ as this is one film made specifically for you, while those who aren’t diehard fans of the genre will likely want to pass on this one as it’s certainly intended for a specific audience.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Funhouse Massacre’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.35:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks great as a whole, providing a sharp, clean, colorful and detailed presentation from start to finish with no notable faults to be found within. It holds up impressively even during the numerous darkly lit and/or fast moving sequences, never resulting in anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a solid high definition video presentation complimented by a more than adequate bitrate that shouldn’t disappoint.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack delivers a consistently clean and fairly active audio presentation, utilizing all five available channels on a number of occasions in order to surround the viewer with the soundtrack in addition to any number of creepy (or unsettling) sound effects and plenty of crowd ambience, while never causing any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, this is a more than capable 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that delivers in every way required of it.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Funhouse Massacre’ includes some great extras. Included on the release is both an ‘Audio Commentary with Director Andy Palmer, Producer Warner Davis, and actors Courtney Gains and Clint Howard’, as well as a ‘Popcorn Talk Watchalong with Director Andy Palmer and Writers/Actors Ben Begley and Renee Dorian’ (running approximately 94 minutes in length) which consists of a split screen displaying the film on one side and the three discussing the film on the other. We are additionally treated to ‘Production Diaries’ (running approximately 6 minutes), ‘A Day on Set’ (approximately 3 minutes), and the ‘Trailer’ for the film (2 minutes).