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.
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 <email@example.com>
Reshoots of scenes took four days due to lost film footage which had got caught up in a local teamster war. Director Tobe Hooper has said that the filming of this movie in Miami / Florida occurred during the Scarface era. See more »
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.
16 of 20 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?