Funeral Home

October 1, 2012 at 2:23 am (5 Heads, Funeral Home) (, , )

Funeral Home – 1980 – Canada

Grandpa and Grandma Chalmers (rhymes with embalmers), run a funeral parlor until Grandpa’s strange disappearance. Grandma converts the joint to a bed-and-breakfast, employing her nice teenage granddaughter for the summer. But something is amiss, and the granddaughter is disturbed by nocturnal voices arguing in the basement. Meanwhile, Grandma becomes increasingly overbearing and secretive, and soon guests begin vanishing. After the sordid details of Grandpa and Grandma’s not-so-idyllic marriage are finally revealed, the flick’s Psycho-esque twist ending doesn’t feel a bit surprising.

The CFS Releasing DVD box describes Funeral Home as a “gloomy thriller in the Hitchcock vein”. This is a kind way of saying that it’s highly derivative of Psycho (1960). Beyond the aforementioned twist ending, Psycho’s infamous shower scene is referenced as a dude is stabbed through a plastic curtain with an embalming needle.

Lack of originality aside, Funeral Home somewhat satisfies as a thriller. The memorable characters are imperfect and dimensional. The moralistic delusional Grandma steals the show, but there’s also a rebellious sincere rookie cop, a cruel conniving slut, and an enigmatic doddering groundskeeper. Low-key acting makes these oddballs seem believable. I also dug the flick’s deliberate pacing, which was so reflective it almost seemed dull.

Still, Funeral Home doesn’t leave much of an impression. Produced in Canada with a little-known cast and crew, Funeral Home is obscure and deservedly so. There’s little to separate it from the video wasteland of cheap genre flicks. I confess, Funeral Home didn’t have me spellbound. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, it’s strictly for the birds.

Rating: 5/10 Shrunken Heads. Disregard its misleading poster. Funeral Home has no haunted houses, graveyards, or shambling corpses.


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