By ANGELA DAWSON
Front Row Features
Though Halloween is over, it doesn’t mean the thrills and chills of the holiday have to end, thanks to “The Funhouse Massacre.” The low-budget dark comedy/horror movie arrives in theaters on the next best creepy day, Friday, Nov. 13.
The offbeat film, written by Ben Begley and directed by Andy Palmer, comprises a young cast of mostly unknowns who are in for a world of scares but it also boasts a few horror veterans including Robert Englund (Freddie Krueger from the “Nightmare on Elm Street” films) and Clint Howard (“Night Gallery,” “Disturbed”).
Unfortunately, Englund, who plays the manager of a top-secret asylum for the criminally insane, is in the film for little more than 10 minutes. Howard plays one of the facility’s inmates, a sicko taxidermist, who along with a creepy clown, a sadistic dentist, a disgusting chef, a murderous underground wrestler and a fiery cult leader, manages to break out on Halloween night, with some help from the outside.
The dangerous serial killers head to a nearby Halloween funhouse. Where better to blend in and not raise the suspicion of local law enforcement, not to mention tap in to a fertile source of new victims?
Scottie Thompson plays Sheriff Kate, the only character in this quirky horrorfest, who has the brains and experience to link a gruesome motel murder with the asylum escape. Naturally, her only backup is her fumbling deputy, Doyle (played by Begley), who would rather play computer video games than answer the phone at the station.
Much of the story centers on a group of workers at a diner that venture to the funhouse after closing up the shop. Little do they, and other revelers at the roadside setup, realize that a gang of serial killers are taking over the funhouse, killing off the actors inside and replacing the fake dead bodies with real ones.
Renee Dorian plays good girl Laurie, Chasty Ballestros plays naughty girl Christina, who are looking forward to some laughs and harmless scares with their respective dates. Will they be able to fend off Mental Manny (Jere Burns) and his company of killers before Sheriff Kate arrives?
Filled with equal parts cornball humor and intense bloody violence, “The Funhouse Massacre” is sure to entertain viewers that simply don’t want Halloween to end.
One of the most fun characters is Gerardo (played by Erick Chavarria), who is the diner cook dressed as Machete (from the Quentin Tarantino films). Arriving at the funhouse, he opts to stay in his truck while his friends foolishly venture in. Eventually, though, he must live up to his name.
Begley’s script is rather predictable, including a twist in which there is a connection between one of the serial killers and one of the heroes. However, “The Funhouse Massacre” also has some funny one-liners such as when Doyle confronts Gerardo, thinking he’s one of the killers, and Gerardo explains he’s dressed as Machete, to which Doyle responds, “I’ve never seen the films. They’re too violent for me.”
“The Funhouse Massacre” delivers creepy visual effects, some laughs and gallons of blood, which will satiate most fans of the horror genre.