To say that Simon Sprackler’s “Funny Man” is a bizarre horror film is doing no justice. It is probably one of the most bizarre horror movies I’ve ever seen, and I’m sad to admit I’ve never heard of it until 2018. I’m usually very good about horror movies and slashers, but “Funny Man” jumped right over my head, and I was finally able to see it. I wasn’t so much entertained as I was genuinely baffled most of the time, and I’m not sure if that was a bad thing or not. It’s a good enough horror movie if you’re willing to accept it’s sheer insanity.
After losing a game of poker with a group of men, Max wins the ancestral home of a man named Callum (Christopher Lee cameos in another baffling element of the film). After moving in Max spins a wheel of chance and unearths the demonic trickster known as Funny Man. After Funny man begins breaking the fourth wall and viciously murdering Max and his family, a new slew of victims immediately arrive as Max’s brother and his group of hitchhiker friends appears to stay over. Again Funny Man isn’t so much a scary villain as he is something wholly inexplicable.
When he appears suddenly everything about the movie changes, with musical numbers, his ability to acknowledge the audience, his seemingly infinite array of powers that best every character, the fact he has no real weakness, as well as willingness to murder just about everyone. He even violently murders two children, one of whom with jumper cables he attaches to her head. Simon Sprackler creates a surreal horror villain in Funny Man. He’s a mix of Freddy Krueger, and the Djinn from “Puppet Master” and has an ability to grant wishes and turn them on victims, or use magic to kill. Sprackler’s inability to explain who or what the Funny Man is, adds to the overall inexplicability, as the Funny Man simply appears, wreaks havoc on man, woman and child and addresses us, the audience, the whole time.
All we can do is bear witness to the inherent lunacy and wonder what the director was smoking while making this bizarre horror film. Unlike Freddy Krueger, Funny Man breaks the fourth wall almost endlessly, and lets us in on his murderous antics in what becomes his playground the moment he’s unearthed. To him, slaying his victims is like an art form and it compensates for his sheer lack of menace. Sprackler becomes almost exhaustively meta in his efforts to help make his monster transcend his own actual film, and it works more times than it doesn’t. Say what you want about Freddy Krueger, but he rarely actually broke the fourth wall, giving us a sense that the entire fictional world was his to play in. Sprackler lenses the movie in the vein of one long weird dream that never quite lets up, even when the credits rolled. “Funny Man” is worth a watch if you’ve never crossed paths with it.