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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » The Funhouse Massacre (Blu-ray)
The Funhouse Massacre (Blu-ray)
Shout Factory // R // June 7, 2016 // Region A
List Price: $19.97 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by William Harrison | posted July 17, 2016 | E-mail the Author
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THE FILM:

Click an image to view Blu-ray screenshot with 1080p resolution.

To its credit, The Funhouse Massacre knows it is a low-rent, goopy-gore horror comedy with questionable production values. I remember seeing a preview for this on another Scream Factory release, and assumed Robert Englund, of Freddy Kreuger fame, had a starring role. He does not, but Englund does appear in an extended cameo in the opening scene. A deranged woman breaks her father and several other psychos out of a private mental institution so they can set up shop in a haunted house on Halloween. They begin killing the visitors, most of whom assume the carnage is just part of the show. This is certainly not a scary movie, and I'd be remiss if I did not float the word amateur about the production. Even so, there are a couple of decent laughs and some fun carnage to be had. Open a beer every time someone gets killed. You'll either enjoy the movie or forget you are watching.

At first I thought I was seeing some porn star turned actress waltz her way through the opening scene with a terrible wig on the way to getting gored. Turns out, this slutty reporter is actually Dollface (Candice De Visser), aka Stitch Bitch, the anti-hero that breaks out a bunch of sickos, including a deadly dentist (Sebastian Siegel), a murderous taxidermist (Clint Howard), a cannibal cook (E.E. Bell), a jacked-up clown (Mars Crain), and their leader/Dollface's father, Mental Manny (Jere Burns). The asylum's warden (Englund) kept the men locked up without the benefit of a fair trial, and confesses that each deserves a bullet in the head. After their escape, the motley crew travels to the Land of Illusions, an annual walkthrough haunted house on the outskirts of town, to replace the stock actors and start killing the visitors. The local sheriff (Scottie Thompson) and her dumbass deputy (Ben Begley) start getting calls about the carnage, and a group of teenagers begins its night at the funhouse.

This is not a polished, tightly shot film. It feels like a horror-hound shot the entirety on a stage in his backyard. That is not exactly a criticism, as the group has fun with the project. I enjoyed the psychos, particularly the dentist and taxidermist, but Dollface could have used an injection of personality. I think De Visser was going for creepy by rarely speaking. Either that, or the director cut a bunch of her lines because her acting is so bad. I suppose we will never know. The waiting victims include a jock (Sterling Sulieman), a virgin (Renee Dorian), a nerd (Matt Angel) and the slutty friend (Chasty Ballesteros). Typical horror movie stuff, but The Funhouse Massacre knows it is playing to genre cliches, and it gets a number of laughs out of these stock archetypes.

The second half of the film is spent in the funhouse, as characters and bystanders get picked off one by one. There is some creative gore, but the film at times relies too much on the blood and guts to sell its goodies. The film has a twisted sense of humor, and serves up a number of in-jokes to horror fans. I can't hate too much on a film that seems to have fun with its premise. Director Andy Palmer does struggle with comedic timing, and some of the gags would have worked better with a tighter delivery. The production values and action are about as good as expected in a direct-to-video film. At 90 minutes, The Funhouse Massacre never wears out its welcome, even if the final scene promises a sequel no one is asking for. I wish Englund had stuck around for the narrative proper; he makes everything better.

THE BLU-RAY:

PICTURE:

The 2.35:1/1080p/AVC-encoded image offers strong fine-object detail and texture, and sometimes reveals too much about the low-budget scenery. Colors are appropriately saturated, black levels are steady, and skin tones appear natural. Wide shots are clean, shadow detail is appropriate, and I noticed only minor banding and smear during pans.

SOUND:

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix is decently immersive, and offers directional effects and plenty of ambient noise in the funhouse. Dialogue suffers somewhat in the opening minutes, when the music and effects are pushed too far forward in the mix, drowning out some of the talking. This issue clears up after a few minutes, and the track offers decent LFE support and some good action effects during the chaotic finale. An English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio stereo mix and English SDH subtitles are included.

PACKAGING AND EXTRAS:

This single-disc release comes in a standard case with dual-sided artwork. Extras include an Audio Commentary by Director Andy Palmer, actors Clint Howard and Courtney Gains and Producer Warner Davis; a Popcorn Talk Watchalong Video Commentary with Palmer, Ben Begley and Renee Dorian; A Day on the Set (3:15/HD); brief Production Diaries (5:35/HD); and the Theatrical Trailer (2:20/HD).

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Occasionally funny and quite gory, The Funhouse Massacre is a low-rent horror comedy that knows exactly what it is. I can't exactly recommend you go out and buy this movie, but it's not a bad rental for horror fans. Rent It.


Additional screenshots:

William lives in Burlington, North Carolina, and looks forward to a Friday-afternoon matinee.

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