“Something is alive in the funhouse…something that, tonight, will turn the funhouse into a carnival of terror!” – the tagline for Tobe Hooper’s THE FUNHOUSE promises a nightmare of horror and delivers, mostly, featuring “Gunther” make-up designed by Rick Baker and executed by Craig Reardon. Let the fun begin! Thomas Mariani, Doc Rotten and Christopher G. Moore tackle another gruesome horror film from the 1980s.
Decades of Horror 1980s
Episode 90 — The Funhouse (1981)
Tobe Hooper returns to the director’s chair for the latest horror classic examined by the Grue-crew for Decades of Horror 1980s. This film leads his career directly into Poltergeist where he would flirt with becoming a “Hollywood” director. The Funhouse is a low budget slasher-esque film that has a group of teens sneaking into the traveling carnival’s funhouse for the night. While peaking through the floor boards, they witness the mysterious man in the Frankenstein mask strangle the frisky fortune teller to death with his bare hands. Add in some sticky fingers and a curmudgeon carney with a penchant for violence and a horror film is born. The kids try to escape the funhouse with their lives. This is a Hooper film so we know that doesn’t go terribly well for these misfit kids. Eh?
Thomas, Christopher, and Doc debate back and forth on the merits of this particular Tobe Hooper entry. Some like the setting, some like the make-up while others despise the kids and have a huge issue with the motivation of “The Monster” and the kids as they witness his inability to make good decisions. Let’s just say he has trouble understanding the value of money. The make-up is impressively designed but does not have enough articulation to make its onscreen appearances entirely successful. Yes, Hooper shows off his talent in a number of key scenes, most notably when Lisa is trapped in a ventilation shaft with the fan behind her and the monster approaching.