MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 1,324 this week

The Funhouse (1981)

R  |   |  Horror  |  13 March 1981 (USA)
5.9
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 5.9/10 from 7,764 users  
Reviews: 135 user | 116 critic

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

Director:

Writer:

(as Larry Block)
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

Free at IMDb

WATCH NOW
ON DISC

IMDb Picks: May

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in May, sponsored by COVERGIRL.

Visit the IMDb Picks section

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 32 titles
created 12 Sep 2011
 
a list of 26 titles
created 27 Mar 2012
 
a list of 37 titles
created 11 Jun 2013
 
a list of 25 titles
created 30 Oct 2013
 
a list of 28 titles
created 4 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "The Funhouse" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Funhouse (1981)

The Funhouse (1981) on IMDb 5.9/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Funhouse.

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Eaten Alive (1977)
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

A psychotic redneck who owns a dilapidated hotel in rural East Texas kills various people who upset him or his business, and he feeds their bodies to a large crocodile that he keeps as a pet in the swamp beside his hotel.

Director: Tobe Hooper
Stars: Neville Brand, Mel Ferrer, Carolyn Jones
Night Terrors (1993)
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.2/10 X  

A young girl travels to Cairo to visit her father, and becomes unwillingly involved with a bizarre sadomasochistic cult led by the charismatic Paul Chevalier, who is a descendant of the ... See full summary »

Director: Tobe Hooper
Stars: Robert Englund, Zoe Trilling, Alona Kimhi
Horror | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.4/10 X  

A young man finds out that his parents had been used in an atomic-weapons experiment shortly before he was born, and that the results have had some unexpected effects on him.

Director: Tobe Hooper
Stars: Brad Dourif, Cynthia Bain, Jon Cypher
Djinn (2013)
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  

An Emirati couple return home from a trip and discover that their new apartment has been built on a site that is home to some malevolent beings.

Director: Tobe Hooper
Stars: Aiysha Hart, Razane Jammal, Ahd
The Mangler (1995)
Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.9/10 X  

A laundry folding machine is possessed by a demon from Hell.

Director: Tobe Hooper
Stars: Robert Englund, Ted Levine, Daniel Matmor
Venom (1981)
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

International terrorists attempt to kidnap a wealthy couples child. Their plan comes unstuck when, a deadly Black Mamba sent by mistake instead of a harmless snake, escapes, and the ... See full summary »

Directors: Piers Haggard, Tobe Hooper
Stars: Klaus Kinski, Oliver Reed, Nicol Williamson
Mortuary I (2005)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.9/10 X  

A family moves to a small town in California where they plan on starting a new life while running a long-abandoned funeral home. The locals fear the place, which is suspected to be on haunted ground.

Director: Tobe Hooper
Stars: Dan Byrd, Denise Crosby, Rocky Marquette
Comedy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

A radio host is victimized by the cannibal family as a former Texas Marshall hunts them.

Director: Tobe Hooper
Stars: Dennis Hopper, Caroline Williams, Jim Siedow
The Dark (1979)
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.1/10 X  

An alien mutilator stalks and kills human prey during the night.

Directors: John 'Bud' Cardos, Tobe Hooper
Stars: William Devane, Cathy Lee Crosby, Richard Jaeckel
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

A historic Hollywood hotel houses a supernatural evil. It's been subdued for decades - but when renovations start, a series of murders take place. It's up to our heroine to solve the mystery.

Director: Tobe Hooper
Stars: Angela Bettis, Brent Roam, Marco Rodríguez
Eggshells (1969)
Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  
Director: Tobe Hooper
Stars: Ron Barnhart, Pamela Craig, Allen Danziger
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4/10 X  
Director: Tobe Hooper
Stars: Claire Craft, Helen Leary, Theo Morrison
Edit

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 ...
...
Edit

Storyline

The teenager Amy Harper dates Buzz Dawson for the first time and they go to the carnival with their friends Richie and Liz. They smoke grass and have good-time visiting the attractions including a side show with freak animals. The silly Richie suggests the group to spend the night in the Funhouse for fun. During the night, they witness the murder of the fortune teller Madame Zena by a man wearing a mask of Frankenstein from an opening in the ceiling of a room. They decide to leave the fun house but they find all the exits locked. Meanwhile Richie sneaks in the room and steals the money of the manager of the place. The masked man returns with his father and owner of the fun house to show the corpse of Madame Zena; when the man realizes that he had been robbed, he presses his son that removes the mask and shows his horrible face. Richie startles and drops his lighter in the room. The owner asks his freak son to chase the thieves and eyewitnesses in a night of terror for the teenagers. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

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:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Tobe Hooper made this film between his other horror movies Salem's Lot (1979) and Poltergeist (1982). 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

Mrs. Harper: I don't see why you wanna waste your time with a guy who works in a filling station.
Amy Harper: It's a first date, Mama. We're not getting married.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Horror Business (2005) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Cosmic prank
31 July 2012 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

Along with every other horror fan out there, I have been puzzling about Tobe Hooper. Texas Chainsaw features highly in my list of favorite films. At least two of his other films are really worthwhile, one of them right here. But, it all quickly unraveled for him and by the time he had moved on to Cannon in the mid-80's, he was pretty much over as a filmmaker. I think the crux of the problem is that he was not Hollywood material. He seems to have been a shy and almost asocial presence on his own sets, a kind of droopy, charmless guy, bullied off The Dark by the crass Kinski, sidestepped in Poltergeist by the more agile Spielberg, which can be viewed in Europe as the kind of quality that signifies an artist, but the Hollywood environment requires someone to direct the crowded set and costly , complicated production, and that means energetic decision-makers of some persuasive wit and strong character.

You see, he did not come up through the Hollywood system at all. He was a documentary cameraman in the 60's and you can see that in his best work. He did Chainsaw in a close circle of friends, away from Hollywood fanfare. It just didn't seem like he could muster the ego for necessary friction to see that vision through (the drug problems were probably ways to cope with that). His own fault was that he couldn't find it in him to cut out on his own.

At any rate, I consider Hooper our loss. The guy had a genuine vision and that vision is prized by me, even snippets of it like we have here.

Here's an easy riddle: the film is typical in the slasher vein about a group of teens stranded after-hours in a funhouse. Its singular call to fame now is that it was once part of that notorious list of Nasties. Now that list is dumb and arbitrary in a number of ways, but why this nearly bloodless film? Why not Friday the 13th?

But of course for the same reason that Texas Chainsaw got an R rating. The very fabric and walls of the thing are violence.

Oh, a lot of what's inside including the storyline and bad guys is silly or simply mediocre, and mainly put together from bankable horror elements, from jump-scares to ruby-red color filters, which is after all the gist of a funhouse: the horror house is fun because you anticipate the elements and staging, and look forward to this being controlled around you. The opening that slyly takes us from a re-enactment of famous scenes in Halloween and Psycho through a Frankenstein poster on the wall to Bride of Frankenstein playing on TV, is Hooper's way of commenting on the redressing of spare parts he's going to use.

That's fun and really a lot of the film is, but not genuine vision. Hooper's vision is something more powerful than either Carpenter or Argento, both effective in other respects, were doing on this level, and that is the place itself is causing evil. It was dumbed-down by Spielberg in Poltergeist - written by him but a Hooper-originated project - as an actual force in the walls, and all sorts of gizmos and movie effects were brought around to clarify. But it was something altogether different to a 'haunted house' effect in its original conception.

Chainsaw is the most pure in this regard. But, it's a recurring feature in Eaten Alive, Salem's Lot, Poltergeist, and this. Hooper explained it as a 'physical sensation' he was after. I think it's something more he achieved.

There is violent energy in the gears and walls of the world, and it's the turning of those gears much more than storybased character decisions that control and manifest the energy as a kind of semiconscious , animal evil in the narrative of the film.

You can observe that the 'Funhouse' extends and anticipates the actual physical place (opening scene - dog - shotgun guy). It's something mischievous in the air. In our film, all of it is centered on a imaginative kid on his way to the scary place. That kid is scared out of consciousness. Shots of the unconscious kid are intercut with shots of the terrified teenagers trapped inside the maze. And there is the enigmatic shot of the boy saying nothing about that to the parents.

This is brilliant. The boy pulled a prank and expects one back from his sister, the cosmic prank that shatters lives is the universe conspires to stage the real thing.

Nothing of this registers directly, because we are distracted by the much more ordinary monster in the narrative (initially Frankenstein).

The entire last 20 minutes are a zap of cinematic energy from these cosmic gears that create and destroy the monster that is the prank that throws the world helter skelter (the finale takes place in a staging area full of gears).

Why? Because the god of the machine is watching (as the old crone cackles about) and wants to be amused.

Make no mistake, this is the sister film to Texas Chainsaw.


8 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
On AMC 10/22/14 9:45 am eastern. dmutt77
Carnival Horror Movies rduke72
I wish Carnivals still existed chaoslex
IS this the movie im thinking of thanymom-1
based on Dean Koontz book? general_razor_cs-1
Frankenstein VikingFan4Ever
Discuss The Funhouse (1981) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?