The Funhouse Massacre (Blu-ray Review)

Funhouse-MassacreMurder is all part of the show. On June 7, 2016, Scream Factory presents the home entertainment debut of The Funhouse Massacre on Blu-ray and DVD, complete with extras including commentary with director Andy Palmer, producer Warner Davis and actors Clint Howard and Courtney Gains. The Funhouse Massacre premiered at the Horrorhound Weekend Convention Film Festival and won Best Film and Best Special Effects.  The film casts notables Jere Burns (Justified, Burn Notice) and Scottie Thompson (Skyline, 12 Monkeys – television show), Courtney Gains (Back to the Future, Can’t Buy Me Love) and even boasts Special Guest Star Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Urban Legend).  Pre-order now to have your copy ready and waiting for you on new release Tuesday.

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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 and the local sheriff, who seems to have a strange attachment to the leader of the maniacs, the silver-tongued devil “Mental Manny”.

This movie’s title has the word “fun” incorporated in it, and the film definitely lives and breathes by the concept.  The Funhouse Massacre isn’t a film that wants you to think deeply, pry it it apart or analyze it.  Its just asking you to get in the car and go for a ride.  A ride with some spooky and sadistic insane people driving and navigating your trip.

When you realize that the film is nothing but a horror comedy and that sinks right in, you’ll find much more appreciation at what they are setting out to do.  Its a film that is made by horror fans directed straight toward other horror fans.  There is no wonder as to why this thing has killed with audiences at horror conventions.  The Funhouse Massacre hits directly on their core horror sensations.

What we are given here are some fun archetypes of horror characters, whose inspirations are obvious and a bit of their own.  You obviously have a Harley Quinn running around here, that’s no joke.  From slashers, to comics, to video games they’ve woven their own sort of “All-Star Team Up” story that actually feels like it has the depth of some other films building these people up.

With that video game and comic influence you get this bigger, boisterous and fun vibe from the film with its settings, costumes, chase sequence, gore and violence.  Its all contained and never goes too far over the top.  There is a precision and restraint from director Andy Palmer to get everything to just the right and effective amount of silly and scary.

The film’s cast has some new faces mixed in with some “I feel like I’ve seen her somewhere” and old classics.  Robert England has a nice little cameo to kick off the film.  Jere Burns is the biggest delight of all, with the head villain, Mental Manny.  The writers of the film (Ben Begley, Renee Dorian) show up in lead roles in the film and actually give two of the best performances in the film.  Begley is pretty funny and nails key moments, while Dorian is quite adorable and gives a nice unique energy to the “final girl” stigma in the film.

I find myself surprisingly quite into The Funhouse Massacre.  The film doesn’t ask much of you other than to have a good time.  And I really appreciate that.  People put together a film of a bunch of stuff they liked and it shows their passion, which oozes into your enjoyment.  Definitely this is one for the horror fans, probably (me being one), so I’m not sure where to recommend this branching off.  But, its definitely a fun time.

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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Clarity/Detail:  The Funhouse Massacre brings a wickidly delightful image to its Blu-ray transfer.  Its a sharp, well defined look with plenty of gruesome detail.  Every little smudge and spatter of blood looks to be accounted for.  The image really pops and gives the film an extra attitude and comic-book feel that its creators seemingly are aiming to go for. 

Depth:  Solid depth work.  Movements are smooth, spacing is very good.

Black Levels:  Blacks are deep and rich with some great shading and edge definition.  No crushing was witnessed.  Dark hair, clothing and surfaces retain most of the detail.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are nice and bold, getting as close to vivid without going overboard.  Its a rich, gorgeous look that suits the film’s tone very well. 

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are au naturale and maintain a consistent appearance throughout the duration of the film.  Close-up and medium shots show a great deal of details like make-up, lip texture, wrinkles, scrapes and bruises. 

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

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Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH

Dynamics:  A really terrific little track to accompany the film.  The horror action is well defined and layered in this nice lossless mix.  There is a good balance of vocals, score and effects in this mix.  

Low Frequency Extension:  Gunfire, impalements, crashes and a big hammer smashing away are just some of the things that help the LFE go boom.

Surround Sound Presentation:  A really solid job here of including all the channels in the mix.  The rear speakers a lot of the time are just there for ambiance, but they are given some character and fun to do at times.  Front speakers give an effects jump to everything as well as accurately portraying distance and movement as to what action is taking place onscreen.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is loud, crisp and clear.

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Audio Commentary

  • With Andy Palmer, Clint Howard, Warner Davis and Courtney Gains

Production Diaries (HD, 5:35) – A montage of onset footage with some quips from the cast and crew mixed in.

A Day On Set (HD, 3:15) – Just some onset footage.

Popcorn Talk Watchalong (HD, 1:33:34) – Basically a picture in picture commentary track featuring the director and writers/stars of the film.

Trailer (HD, 2:20) 

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I easily fell for the charm of The Funhouse Massacre.  For horror fans, by horror fans.  No, not the greatest things ever, but a damned entertaining watch that hits at many core levels.  Scream Factory’s Blu-ray comes with a, as expected, very good presentation in audio and video.  There are also a some meh and some very good informative bonus features.  Basically you get two separate comedies.  I think horror fans should at least check this one out as a rental.


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