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The Funhouse (1981)

 -  Horror  -  13 March 1981 (USA)
5.9
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 7,599 users  
Reviews: 135 user | 114 critic

Four teenage friends spend the night in a carnival funhouse and are stalked by a deformed man in a Frankenstein mask.

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(as Larry Block)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Shawn Carson ...
Jeanne Austin ...
...
...
Largo Woodruff ...
Liz
Miles Chapin ...
David Carson ...
Sonia Zomina ...
Ralph Morino ...
Truck Driver (as Ralph Marino)
...
Herb Robins ...
Mona Agar ...
Strip Show Dancer
Wayne Doba ...
...
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Storyline

Two young couples on a double date go to a mysterious carnival. As a prank they decide to spend the night in the funhouse. When they witness a brutal murder, they suddenly find themselves in horrific danger. Written by Sean V. Taylor <st52@cornell.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Something is alive in the funhouse! See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

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Release Date:

13 March 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Carnival of Terror  »

Filming Locations:


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Technical Specs

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| (cut) | (video)

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Tobe Hooper was at one point nearly struck by a flying cog but was saved by an extra who broke their arm in the process. See more »

Goofs

Amy and Buzz leave her house in a 1966 Pontiac LeMans (obvious because of the grill and chrome badging behind headlight). The deep recess in the top of the c-pillar indicates that it is a convertible. Moments later when they are going down the road and even more clearly in the carnival parking lot when they are parking, it is a 1967 Pontiac GTO with a black vinyl top (notice the different grill insert and blinkers, as well as missing chrome badges on fender). See more »

Quotes

Richie Atterbury: When I was a kid, I once tried to spook my older brother by hiding in his closet. While I was waiting in there to jump out and scare him, a weird thought came into my head. What if he knew I was in there, and he was standing just outside the closet door, waiting to jump out and scare me?
Liz Duncan: So, what happened?
Buzz Klemmet: He locked you in, didn't he?
Richie Atterbury: I waited for three hours till my parents came home and got me out. I was too scared to touch the doorknob. I... I wet my pants.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Nightmare (1981) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Nothing scary about this.
29 May 2000 | by (Toronto, Ontario) – See all my reviews

Even some of the greats have their bad days. Spielberg struck out with Hook, Stone with U-Turn and Hooper was out to lunch with this poor effort. Funhouse takes a typical premise but does nothing with it. Four teens are out for an evening of fun at a carnival and they end up paying for it with their lives. It is a great idea to have two guys and two girls spend the night in a funhouse but the execution of it is quite banal. And that is too bad because it had all the ingredients to be quite scary.

What is good about the film is the opening which pragmatically tips it's cap to Carpenter's opening shot in Halloween. It is a nice touch to see a Halloween mask put over the camera as a little boy, heavy breathing and all, walks slowly into the bathroom where his sister is taking a shower and then pretends to stab her with a plastic knife. The other decent part in the film is when the first guy dies, he is then hit in the head with an axe by one of his friends. They thought he was the killer coming around a dark corner and they split his head open with an axe. These two parts were very well done. The rest of the film is not.

The killing doesn't even start until almost an hour into the film. And that is fine if the movie and the screenplay in particular would have done a better job of setting it up. But all we get is some inane scenes of the kids going on carnival rides and smooching. Nothing forbidden is even remotely mentioned about the funhouse except that a couple of years ago a couple of kids were found dead in a funhouse a few states over. But then they leave it alone. I wanted to know more about this funhouse a few states over. How did the kids die? Was there a suspect? Was anyone indicted in the murders? There was nothing to make me afraid for the kids to enter that house. And that is where the film fails. Sure the killer is deformed and ugly and blah blah blah but even he isn't that scary.

Funhouse is a disappointment but Hooper is to be forgiven. He directed TCM and Poltergeist and that is a good enough track record to be exonerated from any wrong doing with this film.

4 out of 10

**** Just a side note. Has anyone ever given any thought to Hooper being somewhat of an animal rights activist? I have. In Texas Chainsaw Massacre, there was great detail not only verbally but visually to the slaughter of animals. And this one had a carnival full of deformed animals on display for everyone to gawk at. I can't put my finger on it but there has to be some sort of connection there. If anyone else has any theories, please email me. And if that is the case, then kudos to you Mr. Hooper.


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