The 1980’s were a wonderful era of leg warmers, Garbage Pail Kids and questionable cinema full of dumb teenagers and bad decision making. Doing anything that was even remotely stupid, like sneaking into somewhere you shouldn’t be or having pre marital sex or even just being a jerk to your younger sibling was a guaranteed death sentence. So, let’s take all three of the previously mentioned ingredients and mix in a pinch of cleft-pallet-mutant-inbred son, a dash of calm-but-creepy side show barker then stir in a mobile haunted house. For good measure I’ll even throw in a hand job! Cook over a low open flame for 96 minutes and bam!
You have the 1981 horror flick The Funhouse.
The Funhouse is the story of four teens who attend a local carnival on a double date even after one of the girl’s (Amy) parents warn her not too. Not only does Amy disobey her parents by heading to the carnival but her little brother decides to sneak out and catch a glimpse of the forbidden paradise. What is wrong with these kids? And why don’t either one of these brats respect their parents? Don’t they know they’re in a horror movie? The four teens make the iron clad decision to sneak off a ride to spend the night in the funhouse. What ensues after this choice of champions is pure entertainment for our viewing pleasure. In the midst of trespassing while engaging in dirty activities the teen’s attention is drawn to a sudden light shining through the cracks in the floor beneath them. With all eyes on the show brewing below, they witness a horrendous event.
Is it a cleft-pallet-mutant? Is it murder? Is it a hand job? It could be none of these, it could be all of these. What I will tell you that whatever it might be is just the tip of the iceberg. After witnessing the horrendous eventl the four teens make for their escape only to find the funhouse locked down tighter than Mr. Crabs grip on a dollar bill. One of the teens not only steals money from these carnies but also sets of a chain of events that brings on more murder and mayhem.
But not to worry, the little brother makes a failed attempt to save the day. Let me just state right now I’ve never had a wild urge to sneak into any traveling carnival attraction after hours. Nope, never even crossed my mind. I can say though, it’s good to be the main character of a film like this due to the high probability you just might see the morning light.
For all it is, The Funhouse is a very well done 80’s horror flick. The screenplay was well written and Tobe Hooper did an excellent job translating it onto the screen. It has held up well over the years compared to a lot of other films made in that same era. Not only should you watch The Funhouse if you’ve never seen it, you should really invest in the blu-ray release, which contains tons of extras!
Be kind, Rewind
By Jason Burum 8/18/2011