Funny Man Review

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An obnoxious record producer (Young) wins the keys to a mansion from a sinister man (Lee) in a poker game. When his family move in, they are done in by the maniac of the title. Then another mob turn up…


On the plus side, this low-budgeter at least has a personality, and a distinctly British one at that, forsaking Freddy Kruegerisms for jokes about football, lager and the seaside. In the rather more extensive debit column, it's a mainly plotless ramble in which a crowd of caricatures wander around a familiar haunted house being gruesomely done away with by the title character. The Funny Man (James) is a grotesque jester who makes crass jokes in a variety of regional British accents and comes across less like a classic monster than an especially horrific Chubby Brown. In the opening scene, an obnoxious cokehead record producer (Young) wins a poker hand, and takes away the keys to the ancestral home of a sinister man in white (Lee, in a tiny cameo). When his ghastly family move in, they are killed off in such short order that the film has to call in Young's waster brother and a whole group of hitchhikers just to have a go at some extra victims. The characters are all broad types or in-jokes, including Velma from Scooby Doo and a lager lout who is done away with in a hellish strip joint.

In theory, it's a disturbing idea that the first bunch of victims deserve to die, while the next set are mainly innocents who protest the unfairness of their fates. But duff acting and ropey scripting mean the difference is barely appreciable and when, late in the day, the film demands some sympathy for someone, it's too late to care.