“Funeral Home” (1980)
Studio: Frontier Amusements
Starring: Kay Hawtrey, Lesleh Donaldson, Barry Morse, Dean Garbett
Directed by: William Fruet
Running Time: 93 min.
Synopsis: A young woman moves in with her grandmother to help change her funeral home into a bed and breakfast. Murders start to happen when she makes the change.
Funeral Home is one of those films that have all the right elements, like a creepy old house, which is in the middle of nowhere, strange characters, and good eerie music, but what this film lacks is its execution. It has all the right elements, but they don’t know how to use them. Funeral Home could have been a good thriller to come out of the 80’s, but apparently this movie fell short.
The movie is about a young woman, Heather (Lesleh Donaldson) who moves in with her grandmother (Kay Hawtrey) to help her turn her old funeral home into a bed and breakfast. Heather’s grandfather recently disappeared and her grandmother is not telling her the whole truth on what happened to him. Meanwhile, guests from the bed and breakfast start getting killed one by one and police start to suspect certain people once the bodies start to pile up.
Although this film has some moments (very few of them), most of the film is slowly paced and very dull. Nothing really happens until a good forty minutes in of a ninety-minute movie. The only good parts of the film are when someone goes down to the basement of the house to investigate a noise, but then it gets bad after that. The killing scenes are not done well at all. All of them are predictable and most are anticlimactic. Some of the actors are all right in the film, but you don’t really care about them and towards the end the film it starts to get a little bit better, but by that time it is too late care about the characters or anything else. Plus as it starts to get better it then turns out to have a terrible ending.
There are also a few things in this film that did not make sense or are just confusing. One is the whereabouts of the grandfather. Towards the beginning the grandmother tells Heather he just disappeared and that was it. Then later on the grandmother tells some guy that her husband died years ago. Then towards the ending Heather’s new boyfriend tells her that her grandfather had an affair and ran off with another woman and the grandmother went crazy and had to go to an asylum for awhile. Also the whole town knew about this.
Then there is the thing with the cat. At the beginning of the film this black cat starts to follow Heather while she is going to her grandma’s house and Heather just gets freaked out by the cat for no reason. She keeps telling it to go away and looks frightened by it. The cat shows up her and there during the film and the movie even ends on a still frame of the cat while the sheriff is holding her in his arms. There really is no significance with the cat towards the story. She is just there and does not belong to anyone. Last I checked there were no witches in this movie.
SPOILER ALERT: I hate giving away the ending to movies, but this one I don’t care because the film is terrible. During the course of the film Heather hears her grandmother talking to someone down in the basement. You think she is talking to her husband who she keeps locked up down there and eventually went crazy, but that was not the case. The film steals a note or pays homage to Psycho, when it turns out the grandmother is keeping the corpse to her husband down in the basement while she is talking in his voice and killing everyone.
Funeral Home is a film you do not want to waste your time on. Besides a few promising scenes the majority of the film is awful. During the time when this film came out there were many great horror slasher films like Friday the 13th, Prom Night, and The Funhouse, just to name a few, but Funeral Home was one of the worst films to come out of that era.