The Funhouse (1981)

R  |   |  Horror  |  13 March 1981 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 8,288 users  
Reviews: 138 user | 129 critic

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



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


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


Something is alive in the funhouse! See more »




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

13 March 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Carnival of Terror  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (cut) | (video)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Kevin Conway, Mace Neufeld and Cooper Huckabee worked together later in 'Gettysburg' (1993) See more »


Despite the funhouse being a portable carnival attraction, it has a basement. See more »


Amy Harper: Listen, how would you like to go to the movies instead of the carnival?
Buzz Klemmet: The movies? What for?
Amy Harper: It's the same carnival that went through Fairfield County, where they had all that trouble.
Buzz Klemmet: Terrific. Maybe we'll get a little action. Come on. You're not afraid to go, are you?
Amy Harper: No, I just don't feel like it. Besides, I promised my father we were going to the movies.
Buzz Klemmet: Forget about your old man. He's trying to bum your evening.
Amy Harper: How can you say that? You don't even know my father.
Buzz Klemmet: Hey, loosen up, will ya?
See more »


Referenced in Fear, Panic & Censorship (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

For horror fans, The Funhouse is just that!
22 September 2005 | by (Brentwood, USA) – See all my reviews

From director Toby Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre-1974) comes this above average slasher-thriller film, that's certainly one of the best of the '80's!

Teenagers go to the county fair on a double date. Once there, they decide to spend the night hiding out in the fun house, unknowing that the consequences will be horrific.

The Funhouse is a great, suspense-filled horror film that's far more intelligent than most of its type, especially compared to most of the "splatter" films of the era. The story is a gripping one, which builds tremendous tension right up to its claustrophobic climax. Hooper gives us an atmosphere of dread, much like he did with the original Texas Chainsaw'. The carnival becomes an underworld of fear and darkness in the skilled hands of Hooper with some colorful set pieces. The music score is wonderfully moody and dramatic.

The cast is great as well. The beautiful Elizabeth Berridge makes a great screen debut. Cooper Huckabee is good as Berridge's beefy date. Kevin Conway is the best of the cast though, in his sinister performance as he plays a trio of carnie barkers. Kudos also go to makeup artist Rick Baker for one memorable creation!

For those looking for above-average suspense and horror, it will be hard to do better than this entertaining gem!

**** out of ****

22 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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