Funny Man Movie (1994)


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Director: Simon Sprackling

Producer: Nigel Odell

Writer: Simon Sprackling

Starring: Tim James, Christopher Lee, Benny Young, Ingrid Lacey

Music by: Francis Haines, Stephen W. Parsons

Cinematography: Tom Ingle Jr

Editor: Ryan Lee Driscoll

Genre: Comedy, Horror

Running Time: 93 min

Country: United Kingdom

Language: English

Cast

  • Tim James as Funny Man
  • Christopher Lee as Callum Chance
  • Benny Young as Max Taylor
  • Matthew Devitt as Johnny Taylor
  • Ingrid Lacey as Tina Taylor
  • Jamie Heard as Jammie Taylor
  • Rhona Camron as Thelma Fudd
  • Harry Heard as Harry Taylor
  • Pauline Black as Psychic commando

Synopsis

When snotty record producer, Max Taylor (Benny Young) wins the family estate of Callum Chance (Christopher Lee) in a poker game, he only assumes that the game is over. Chance knows something about the estate that Max is uninformed of.

After packing, Max, his wife (Tina Taylor), son (Harry Taylor), and daughter (Jammie Taylor) move to their new home. Moments later, the nightmare begins when an evil jester, the Funny Man (Tim James) hits off the family.

Max is unaware of the presence of the Funny Man. He kills Harry by first playing with him around a circular pillar and later murdering him off-screen. Afterward, Funny Man imitates Harry’s voice while talking to Tina via a keyhole. Tina later sees him but she is not fast enough to escape.

The Funny Man beats her with a bludgeon until she dies. Jammie is later electrocuted to death while playing a Gameboy. When all this terror is happening, Max is waiting for his visiting brother, Johnny (Matthew Devitt). His brother arrives with a van full of musical gear and a bunch of hitchhikers.

Among the hitchhikers are a psychic Jamaican voodoo woman (Pauline Black), a young girl (Thelma Fudd), and a pair of irritating guys. After entering the palace, everything seems fine and no one can suspect the presence of Funny Man. Nevertheless, Funny man already has his targets and it is only a matter of time until he attacks. They later find out that the family is missing.

The Funny Man fashions the same humorous, yet frightening methods on them too. He kills both the soccer maven and the musician comically. The former is head kicked to death while the latter forced to play the guitar alone till he dies. He prepares Max for his death by taking him to the spiritual world and shows him all the people in that place. He later kills the Psychic Commando by tearing apart her abdomen.

The film ends with Funny Man puffing a cigarette while watching soccer maven dying; soft music rock music by legend Jonathan Taylor is played in the background while this happens.

Review

The Funny Man is a brave film by director and writer Simon Sprackling. He diverts from the standard conventions of horror films and he instead comes up with a rather funny and entertaining Brit horror/ comedy. The script is rather complex with some instances of flashback but the funny side of it makes it easy to flow with.

The characters perfectly fitted to their roles. The devil looking Funny Man was the main highlight. Not only is he a perfectionist killer, but his behavior and funny language were also amazing. He always sent a funny phrase to the audience as well as funnily interacting with his victims before killing them.

Max plays the palace winning gambler with a musical background. It is only after he moves to his new place that tragedy begins. He just cannot explain how his family was killed. The psychic commando (Pauline Black) uses her military prowess to get back at Funny Man. Her death is a brutal one but I was forced to laugh at the gestures she made while in agony.

Callum Chance appears both at the beginning and the end of the film. He plays a significant role in linking up the events to the viewer. I would require a whole book to describe all the inspiring performances of the characters. They were all amazing.

The costuming could not be any better. Funny man is a clown able to interact and even alter the behavior of other characters. The guitar playing musician is dressed in a silk jumpsuit while his friend dies in a short and a helmet on his head.

The brave Pauline Black has a blonde wig as well as a rifle-like arm. The Cinematographer uses both a casino and a palace backdrop. The backdrop of dark in most of the scenes bring out the horror. The soft rock music used matched the occasions.

The film is adult-oriented due to nudity, vulgar language, and excessive nudity. The film may be less appealing especially to non-British viewers since some jokes might be irrelevant to them. However, for any viewer ready to be entertained with a blend of thrill and comedy, consider Funny Man.

At first, I thought I was in for a boring 93 minutes but in the end, I was somewhat overwhelmed. And somehow it only manages to get a below par rating of 4.6 out of 10.

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