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The Funhouse (1981)

 -  Horror  -  13 March 1981 (USA)
5.9
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 7,278 users  
Reviews: 130 user | 113 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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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:

Pay to get in. PRAY to get out. See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

13 March 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Carnival of Terror  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut) | (video)

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Author Dean R. Koontz later expanded and embellished his novelization of this film into another fully-fledged novel. See more »

Quotes

Funhouse: I've been expecting you.
Amy Harper: Why are you doing this? Why are you trying to kill us?
Funhouse: I'm just protecting my family.
Amy Harper: Your family? But that guy... he's not even human.
Funhouse: The Lord works in mysterious ways, little lady. He ain't such a bad fella. My son does get himself in all sorts of trouble, though, don't he? Anyway, blood is thicker than water. I'm sure he's gonna be a real comfort to me in my old age. Now, how many people know you're here?
Amy Harper: [lying] Lots. Our parents... they all know.
Funhouse: [scoffs] Well, no ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Spoofs Halloween (1978) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Above average 1980s scare flick
8 November 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Fast-paced and atmospheric thriller set in and around the carnival midway. Two couples visiting the local traveling carnival decide to spend the night in The Funhouse and fool around as a lark. After witnessing a murder, they become the targets of a deformed maniac and his barker dad who are determined they will not leave to report it to the police. I read the Owen West (aka Dean Koontz) novelization back in the day, which was infinitely more padded with back story, abortion issues, religious fanaticism, and a rather Byzantine attempt to link the heroine and her younger brother to the killers before they ever set foot on the midway. Mercifully, the film abandons all of the excess baggage and strips the story done to the bare essentials. I enjoy Tobe Hooper's direction here much more so than that shown in the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre as it seems we are seeing a much more polished effort. He nicely establishes the atmosphere of the midway, which by turns is colorful and sordid. The central characters are nicely delineated (although due to the abandoning of the subplots from the novelization, Shawn Carson's younger brother seems like a fifth wheel rather than integral to the story) and well played by an appealing cast. They seem like credible and overwhelmed young people rather than fodder for the axing. Lead Elizabeth Berridge, in particular, has a nice girl next door quality and radiates a resourcefulness through her terror without ever seeming like either Superwoman or a victim. The make-up for the primary killer is particularly effective and novel. The film builds up a substantial head of steam before going for broke in a wild Grand Guignol climax. The score is also worth mentioning as it provides a very effective counterpoint to the action. Ironically, this film is rarely mentioned by horror fans, having been buried amid the morass of Friday the 13th clones that proliferated in this period, but it is definitely one that should be rediscovered.


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