The Funhouse (1981)
What’s It About: Teens (?) visit a traveling carnival as it’s the only source of entertainment in their town once a year, but they get more carnival than they carnied for when they witness carny-on-carny crime and have to run for their teen (?) lives from carnies to escape the carnival funhouse, which is the size of a small carny village.
Here are some of my observations as I watched the film:
- The names of the actors sound like they hired actual carnies to star.
- This girl (Amy) taking a shower stole her boobs from Molly and the Ghost.
- Amy’s brother Joey reenacts Psycho with a rubber knife. What a sick bastard. Is he friends with the boy from Elves? I want to know the connection between the elves and the funhouse.
- Amy has a first date with a guy (Buzz!) who works at a filling station! But there were murders at the same carnival in a different town last year. You’d think that would hinder their operation, but no.
- Amy wants to go to the movies, but Buzz insists on going to the carnival with their two friends. Why? You could probably get to third base at the movies with this loose chick who showers willy nilly in front of her brother!
- Why do these 20-year-olds want to go to this shitty carnival so badly? And I’m confused if this is supposed to be the first, last, or only day for the carnival?
- All these rides are going at half speed, like the plot.
- It’s nice that they got real freak animals for the freak animal tent scene. These days it would be all CGI.
- Why does the dark ride need a hype man? You just get in the car and go. You can tell by the skeletons and shit outside that it’s supposed to be scary. Except the outside of this funhouse has an enormous animatronic fat lady on top of it. Is that supposed to be scary or fun or both? This is exactly like that Simpsons episode. “Behold! The ravages of age!” I guess that makes this carny Dr. Frightmarestein.
- The group of friends must have a fast pass, there’s no line for anything, even though the carnival is packed.
- What town would be ok having a carnival tent with go go girls? Besides Florida? I guess everyone who would normally be in line for the rides is watching this diseased heifer show.
- “Let’s spend the night in the fun house!” Uh, no? Especially if it’s leaving in the morning?
- Why is Joey dressed like Mork?
- There’s no better place they could think to have sex than the closed funhouse? There has to be like 4 inches of dust all over everything.
- Speaking of 4 inches, these two couples have sex 10 feet apart. Great, romantic way to lose your virginity, Amy. They did the same thing in Chopping Mall. With deadly results. That probably won’t happen here, though.
- I’d like to call our mutant monster friend Fraklinstein. Franklinstein chokes an old gypsy to death because he paid her for sex and he came before she touched him and she refused to give him half off after she got him half off.
- Now the gang can’t find their way out of the funhouse, even though they’d just have to follow the rail.
- I’m actually on the carnies’ side in this. These a-holes are trespassing, after all.
- Why is there a Fu Manchu statue outside of the funhouse? that was just confusing.
- So Joey is roaming around and gets grabbed by an unrelated carny. He calls Joey’s parents, somehow getting their number, even though Joey was passed out, for unexplained reasons. He tells them Joey has a fever? I don’t want to know how he took his temperature…
- Why are all the axes and swords in this funhouse real? Does Dr. Frightmarestein sharpen them?
- I’d like to reiterate that his funhouse makes no sense. The theme is all over the place. Plus it’s god damn enormous. It would take weeks to set it all up and weeks to take it all down.
- Franklinstein is actually kind of adorable. Little bit of Shakma syndrome going on.
- Franklinstein’s death scene goes on longer than triple overtime at a donkey basketball game.
- Annnnd Amy just walks out the front.
- TRIVIA: Steven Spielberg asked Tobe Hooper to direct E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) but he turned it down because he was busy on this movie. GOOD CALL, TOBE.
Scare Level: Actual carnivals are scarier, and they’re pretty frightening, but this movie isn’t.
Gore Level: Not a ton, there are some impalements but that’s about it.
Nudity Level: A few seconds of Amy getting in the shower before her brother burst in for his incest Psycho routine.
Best Line: Dr. Frightmarestein (to Franklinstein): “You paid Madame Zena a hundred dollars for this? You crazy fool, I could have gotten you one of them tent-girls for fifteen! Well, you never were much for knowing the value of cash, were you?”
Best Scene: I just like it when Franklinstein screams. It’s a fun sound.
Worst Scene: I just can’t get past that somehow this crew of one old drunk and one barely functional monster boy could possibly set up and disassemble this unbelievably enormous and detailed funhouse by themselves. Maybe the other carnies help, but it still seems like it would take about 782 man hours. Even just moving the giant King Kong head would be a real feat. And the carny even states that they’ll be pulling out of town the next morning, so everything gets taken down in a few hours? NO.
Overall: Ok, well, we all know that Tobe Hooper died recently, which is sad and all, but, uh, yeah… he made approximately one (1) good movie, and you can probably guess which one. No, not Poltergeist, we all know he didn’t really direct that. And it’s definitely not The Funhouse, which is neither fun nor a house. It’s not totally terrible, just kind of boring and predictable, two things a real funhouse should never be. You want to see what a real funhouse looks like? Here’s a video of a drunken Brad during our recent trip to Oktoberfest in Munich:
Score: 4.5 Hours to Dismantle Everything in a Funhouse the Size of a Mall (out of 10)