Serial killers bring their own brand of sinister scares to a carnival attraction one Halloween night in The Funhouse Massacre. With the new horror film hitting theaters today, we caught up with director Andy Palmer to discuss working with Robert Englund, creating a genuinely scary haunted house atmosphere on set, and more.

Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for us, Andy. How did you get involved with The Funhouse Massacre and what attracted you to the story?

Andy Palmer: Thanks so much for reaching out, I really appreciate it. I got involved with Funhouse and more specifically Ben Begley and Renee Dorian when we cast Renee in Daric Loo’s film Awaken a few years ago. We had a blast working with her on that film, and a year or so later she asked my producing partner Warner Davis and I to help her produce her web series Clued-Less, and that’s when I met Ben Begley.

I can only imagine it was like Dave and Chainsaw from Summer School meeting when they were kids. Ben and I quickly realized we shared the same brain. Flash forward a year later, Ben sends me the script for Funhouse for some thoughts and notes, and after reading it in one sitting, it went from, “Sure, I’ll give you some notes,” to “How the hell can we get this film made tomorrow!” I called Warner, he read it and we reached out to the one investor we knew that could pull it off and he loved it as well, and three months later we were freezing in Ohio on set.

Did you enjoy going in haunted houses growing up and did you consciously try to recreate that “spontaneous scares” atmosphere on set?

Andy Palmer: As my wife will attest, I am the biggest chicken on the planet. I hide my eyes during scary movies, haunted houses terrify me, which is why I think I love horror so much—it hits me on a more emotional level than any genre in film. On set, the “Diner Gang” as we began to call them—Matt, Chasty, Sterling, Renee, Mikey and Leigh—became incredibly close, to the point they were hanging out all the time. And for the first few scenes on their first day they brought that fun summer camp vibe with them into the haunt, which of course was not what I wanted, so I had haunt veteran and head makeup artist Beki Ingram scare the ever-loving shit out of them during a take. It totally worked and for the rest of the shoot whenever the Diner Gang was together, we scared them at some point during the day. I will cut together all the scare takes for the Blu-Ray.

What was it like working with the great Robert Englund, who plays the warden in The Funhouse Massacre?

Andy Palmer: I can’t tell you how much my hand was shaking when I reached for the handle on his trailer door the first time he was on set. I was incredibly nervous to meet him, and then you do and all of that washes away. Robert is the kindest, friendliest, and most giving guy. We sat down and his script sides were covered in notes and drawn arrows connecting beats and dialogue and ideas for Warden Kane. It really was an honor to see him on set, the way he knows to move with the camera, and help and work with the actors around him. I learned a ton in those days on set with him.

What was the most challenging scene to shoot?

Andy Palmer: I’d love to tell you it was some elaborate gag, or the crowd riot scene, but no, it was the sex scene. In the script, Ben described it as “putting the pool scene in Showgirls to shame.” So that was a high bar to reach right there, coupled with having not ever shot a sex scene with nudity before, I was pretty terrified. But Sterling and Chasty were so freaking cool and fun to shoot that scene with. Chasty in particular was amazing, she just dove into it, came up with crazy ideas I hadn’t even thought of, and it ended up being a really fun and funny scene. But man, leading up to it I was so damn nervous.

With The Funhouse Massacre coming out this Friday, what projects do you have on deck that you can tease for our readers, and where can they find you on social media?

Andy Palmer: We have some great stuff in the works right now. Very preliminary stuff, but we have a really fun slasher film that Warner came up with the concept for that we have a really talented writer named Andrew Saxma writing. Ben just handed me another horror comedy that is a blood-filled blast, and I have a flick called Dark Pines that I would love to sit my chunky butt in a chair and write soon, that I describe to people as Caddyshack meets The Fly. Social media-wise you can find me on Facebook, and @petriandy on the Twitter. Thanks so much you guys, again. Friday the 13th, go get massacred!

  • Derek Anderson
    About the Author - Derek Anderson

    Raised on a steady diet of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books and Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Derek has been fascinated with fear since he first saw ForeverWare being used on an episode of Eerie, Indiana.

    When he’s not writing about horror as the Senior News Reporter for Daily Dead, Derek can be found daydreaming about the Santa Carla Boardwalk from The Lost Boys or reading Stephen King and Brian Keene novels.