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Funny Man

#With: Hary Heard, Jamie Heard, Bob Sessions, Ed Bishop, John Chancer.

With:
Funny Man ... Tim James Callum Chance ... Christopher Lee Max Taylor ...Benny Young Tina Taylor ... Ingrid Lacey Psychic Commando ... Pauline Chan Johnny Taylor ... Matthew Devitt Hard Man ... Chris Walker Crap Puppeteer ... George Morton Thelma Fudd ... Rhona Cameron

#With: Hary Heard, Jamie Heard, Bob Sessions, Ed Bishop, John Chancer.

Anutty truffle of fairground antics and over-the-top bad taste, “Funny Man” isn’t half as funny as it thinks it is, but has enough chuckles to draw the six-pack and frozen-dinner contingent. Sophomoric humor of this low-budget horror-comedy is unlikely to travel far beyond the British Commonwealth, with ancillary its biggest market.

Pic is basically a variation on that old chestnut, the haunted house yarn, with a variety of wackos meeting grisly ends at the hands of a pesky visitor from hell, a blend of the Joker in the deck and the court Fool.

Setting is an ancestral pile won by record producer Max (Benny Young) from the mysterious Callum Chance (Christopher Lee) in a poker game. As Max’s family and a bunch of hitchhikers stop over, Chance summons up the “Funny Man” (Tim James), who turns them into pig slop one by one.

Pic ditches any pretense at plotting early on and settles into a showcase for James’ entertainingly athletic antics (and comic asides to the camera) as he takes on each victim in blackly comic two-handers. Largely unknown cast go the abattoir in reasonable style. Only one to make a sizable impression is Pauline Chan as a black psychic whose hand turns into a rocket launcher. Lee is in only briefly.

Tech credits are OK, and special effects passable. Prosthetics for James rate a special nod.

Funny Man

(BRITISH)

Production: A Nomad Pictures production. (International sales: Victor Film Co., London.) Produced by Nigel Odell. Executive producers, Gareth Wiley, Steve Parsons. Co-producers, Tim James, David Redman. Directed, written by Simon Sprackling.

Crew: Camera (Technicolor), Tom Ingle Jr.; editor, Ryan L. Driscoll; music, Parsons/Haines; production design, David Endley; costume design, Alex Westover; sound (Dolby), Patrick Boland; special effects, Neill Gorton, Jim Francis; assistant director, Toby Duckett. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (market), May 18, 1994. Running time: 93 MIN.

With: Funny Man ... Tim James Callum Chance ... Christopher Lee Max Taylor ...Benny Young Tina Taylor ... Ingrid Lacey Psychic Commando ... Pauline Chan Johnny Taylor ... Matthew Devitt Hard Man ... Chris Walker Crap Puppeteer ... George Morton Thelma Fudd ... Rhona Cameron

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