A sextet of maniacs invade a spook house where their own murder sprees are being celebrated in this wry tribute to the ‘slasher’ genre.
We open on a secluded mental asylum where the warden, played by the dependable Robert “Freddy Krueger” Englund , is awaiting a reporter. She arrives a little late but is anxious to get started. The warden proceeds to introduce her to the five mass murderers that are under his care. men so scary “even God is afraid of them,” he intones. Dun. Dun. Dun.
First up is Jeffrey the Animal. He’s a former Chef who began cooking up the worst customers to feed to his better behaved ones. Second is Dr. Suave, a debonair dentist whose choice of drills would be more appropriate for home construction than root canals. Next is ‘The Taxidermist’ whose specialty is in stuffing humans for display. Then there’s Rocco the Clown. If being a whey faced funnyman isn’t scary enough he’s also 6’6 appears to have swallowed his weight in steroids.
Last ,but not least, is Mental Manny. He’s a former cult leader who executed his own followers. We soon learn that he also has a daughter, whose killer handle is Stitch Face. She’s a mean piece of work whose latest job was impersonating a reporter so she could free her father and his four friends. This turns out to be very bad news for the Warden who winds up a stain in his office floor.
The killers make haste to a local carnival where the ‘Funhouse” features actors playing all of them. Each is depicted in their favorite killing grounds which are promptly taken over by the real thing which leads to most of the actors getting carved up like holiday hams. Next up is the audience who are so dense that they squeal with delight at these gruesome scenes and take pictures with their Iphones for Facebook and Instagram.
Meanwhile the local Sheriff, and her (dumb as bag of hammers) Deputy, are called out to a murder scene. They arrive at a blood spattered apartment to find that a local reporter has been’ Ginzued ‘by an unknown assailant. They do some detecting and realize the journalist had only one appointment scheduled-at the creepy asylum. They head there while ,unbeknownst to them, the funhouse degenerates into a slaughter house!
It all culminates with an excellent moment of chaos where the killers take to the stage and announce their intentions to throw out all the accepted rules of customer service. The crowd thinks it’s all part of the show until the maniacs wade into them and attack at will. This happens just as the Sheriff arrives with her deputy in tow. It’s a terrific moments that sees people running and screaming in all directions as the heroes finally come after them.
This is the best homage to the 80’s we’ve had since ‘The Finals Girls.” the script, by Ben Begley who also turns in a humorous performance as the dopey Deputy, is very movie savvy and includes nods to such favorites as ‘Halloween,” “Friday the 13th,” and even ‘Lethal Weapon.”Director Andy Palmer is a name to watch for as he keeps this zipping along so quickly that the 90 minute running time feels more like an hour.
The cast is fine too with the aforementioned Englund and Jere Burns(Justified) contributing in featured roles while the younger cast members take center stage and manage to steal the movie . Especially good are Scottie Thompson as the female sheriff who takes no prisoners and Candice De Visser as the despicable yet charismatic Stitch Face.
Best Lines: “It’s like babysitting toddlers who are always stoned.”
“You were threatened by my awkward running skills?”
“Please dismount the dead body deputy.”
Tom Doty is a columnist for The Floyd County Times.