unnamedIt sure is a good feeling when a unique and downright entertaining horror films comes your way. I’m a sucker for slasher films, and I’m equally in love with slow-burn horror dramas such as THE WITCH or AT THE DEVIL’S DOOR. So, it would probably be a fair assessment to say my tastes are something of a hybrid of both, the over the top gory fare with the emotionally affecting story-driven films that remind me of my favorite type of horror: the genre films of the 1970’s. It’s with an absolutely perfect eye for combining the gory and hilarious with the shocking and character-driven stories that the Ben Begley/Renee Dorian-written, Andy Palmer-directed film THE FUNHOUSE MASSACRE arrives.

It’s apparent from the very opening of the film, that we’re in store for one wild ride, when a group of insane (and very inventive) psychopaths are freed from being locked up in a secret facility and make their way to a nearby carnival haunt, designed to pay homage to said psychopaths. We meet our antagonists, and soon after, we’re able to meet the group of protagonists, in the form of a restaurant staff wanting to have a good night of scares. We’ve got the promiscuous duo, slipping off the anywhere possible to have sex; the shy and sweet waiter who pines for the cute and adorable waitress. The fact is, that though we’ve seen these characters in various other horror films, THE FUNHOUSE MASSACRE never once comes off contrived or unique in its own way. We care about each of the characters we’re asked to follow and dammit, that’s such a grand breath of fresh air.

When the group of friends (including two stoner friends and a cook dressed like Machete’ for Halloween) make their way to the popular horror haunt carnival, little do they know that the escaped crazies have infiltrated the attraction and are killing attendees left and right. That ignorance is part of the film’s charm, seeing people get killed and bystanders and attendees laughing at the deaths, not realizing that it’s not only really, but that they’re most likely next up to be slaughtered. Doing the killing is a fun group of crazies, fronted by former cult leader “Mental Manny” (Justified’s Jere Burns), along with everybody from a maniacal dentist (ouch), a cook gone crazy who loves the serve up people to well…people. We’re given what is essentially the Suicide Squad, but in horror form, a group of horrifyingly fun baddies, who we know will get at least a couple if not all of our easy to root for good guys. The duo of Morgan and Laurie (Matt Angel and the film’s co-writer/star Renee Dorian) are so easy to root for and even easier to like, that it adds that extra level of tension to an already tense film of cat and mouse, of multiple attempts at escaping the blood and gore soaked insanity.

What THE FUNHOUSE MASSACRE does is succeed at giving genre fans not only a throwback or homage to the gory slasher-like films we all grew up and loved, but something entirely different, with jokes about everything from social media to Doctor Who, jokes that unlike a lot of other films, never come off unnecessary or dumb. It’s an excellent ride, an adventure that will most definitely become one of your go-to Halloween-themed films.

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