Year Released: 1987
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 98 minutes
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“Funland” revolves around Neil Stickney, who, after suffering a nervous breakdown, finds peace and solace by suiting-up in clown attire. With his red wig, red nose, red shoes and grease paint, Neil becomes Bruce Burger, the goofy mascot for Brewster’s Pizza Burger restaurant chain. Brewster’s is also the number one sponsor of a theme park called Funland (in reality it’s Six Flags Over Georgia).
Bruce’s mental faculties are skewed for sure, but he stays focused and on track as he is a key element to the park’s opening week. Bruce’s sympathetic employer, and part owner of the park, is murdered, and his ignorant wife sells it to the mob. First order of business, under the new ownership, is to cut overhead costs and can the clown. Bruce snaps.
Poor Bruce can no longer maintain the fort in his mind, and in an act of defiance he sabotages the park rides and concessions. Not at all content with that alone, he then takes to the clock tower and launches a shooting spree (though, ultimately he kills only one person). The film’s nowhere near as violent as the one-sheet suggests.
Witnessing Bruce’s culminating descent into insanity is this movie’s greatest strength, and even then it ain’t much. He spouts dialogue that only a madman would be capable of, and he commiserates with a zombie. A wax statue of Humphrey Bogart also steps in to try and help console the crazy clown.
“Funland” was written by Bonnie Turner who is also responsible for “3rd Rock From The Sun” and “That 70’s Show”. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that this film is hardly a serious character study of a sociopath turned murderer. David L. Lander (Squiggy from “Laverne & Shirley”) plays Bruce, and Jan Hooks from Saturday Night Live shows up as a flirtatious secretary. “Funland” is campy and cheap, a bit demented, far from frightening, but fairly entertaining.
Vintage Movie Classics sandwiched this between two other public domain pieces; “Carnival of Souls” and “Cabinet of Dr. Calagari”. The triple feature is called “Wicked Carnival” and it comes with a flicker cover.
Posted on December 6, 2005 in Reviews by Christopher Curry
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