Funny Man starts as Max Taylor (Benny young) & his mates are playing poker, serious poker for serious stakes. One of the other players Callum Chance (Christopher Lee) runs out of cash so puts up his English ancestral home worth about £1 million & promptly loses it. Max, his wife Tina (Ingrid Lacey) & children Harry (Harry Heard) & Jammie (Jamie Heard) pitch up there one night to check it out & wait for his brother Johnny (Matthew Devitt) who is driving there along with a load of weird hitchhikers to drop some of Max's stuff off to store there. However once there Max & his family are terrorised by a strange demonic Jester known as the Funny Man (co-producer Tim James) who comes from a place called Sod's Law, the Funny Man twists the things that people say & use it to come up with cruel & unusual ways to kill them. I have no idea why though...
This English production (this is the sort of thing which makes me proud to call myself an Englishman...) was written & directed by Simon Sprackling & without quite knowing why I rather liked it for what it was. I should also say that according to the IMDb's 'Alternate Versions' section Funny Man was cut for a US 'R' rating & that I definitely watched the longer uncut version complete with the brains shooting out of the girls head, so bear that in mind. The script for Funny Man is a strange one & I don't quite know what to make of it, there's little in the way of story & it has a habit of switching tone from straight horror to comedy to slapstick to deadpan humour to downright crudeness & it's frankly weird at times & there's even enough time for it to be a musical as well but I thought it all came together rather well to create an enjoyable comedy horror that never takes itself seriously, it moves along like a rocket so it's never dull or boring & I actually found it quietly amusing at times although I think you will need a slightly twisted sense of humour to get the most out of it, I'm not sure what that says about me... The best way I can describe Funny Man is to liken it to a comedy sketch show where the Funny Man creates little mini films within the overall film to dispatch his victims in a ironic & gory way, yeah I'd call it the first horror orientated comedy sketch film that I've seen & for what it is & what it tries to be I found it good fun & good entertainment.
Director Sprackling does a good job, I don't think I've seen another film quite like it. The Funny Man (who lives in a place called Sod's Law, nice touch) looks like an ugly Jester although he occasionally changes outfits & he regularly turns to the camera & 'talks' to the audience a bit like a stand up comedian. I have no idea why there is a character in this who is obviously modelled on Velma from Scooby-Doo, here called Thelma. I'd imagine the gore is probably restrained in the cut American version but here in the UK it's always been uncut with such delights as decapitated heads, brains blown out, the top of some guys head is blown off & there's a nice shot of him on the floor twitching with the top half of his head missing spurting blood, the Funny Man burrows through someones stomach, he sticks a stiletto heel in someones eye, someone is battered to death with a baseball bat & more.
With a supposed budget of about £1,000,000 Funny Man is well made with good production values although the film takes place almost entirely with the confines of one house. Some of the special effects aren't that great but they'll do considering. The acting is OK & there are one or two pretty funny performances here, while looking at the credits list on the IMDb I noticed one listed for 'Crap Puppeteer' & I must admit I'm struggling to know who this refers too... Arsenal football club fans should note that ex-striker Ian Wright makes a voice cameo. For about two lines of dialogue.
I was surprised about how much I liked Funny Man, it has a certain style & originality. This definitely isn't just another boring slasher & the attempted start of a soulless franchise, I personally think there's more to Funny Man than that. Not everything works, not everything is funny in it but it certainly gets points for effort & enthusiasm, not bad at all & if you like your horror light & mixed with laughs then you could do a hell of a lot worse than Funny Man you really could...
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