Retro Review: The Funhouse (1981)

The Funhouse is a 1981 horror movie the place in a Carnival…Tobe Hooper directed this one, is should be ok, right?  I mean Tobe Hooper brought us the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

This was a blind buy for me.  Someone was selling the Funhouse on Facebook in a collector group for $12.  I jumped on it, a horror movie I’d never seen, Tobe Hooper and it is a Scream Factory Blu Ray!  I have become a big fan of Scream Factory and Tobe Hooper brought us films like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and its sequel, don’t forget Poltergeist.

The Funhouse starts pretty great, a girl getting into the shower, so boobs immediately.  Then it is set up almost like Halloween and Psycho, a killer grabs a mask and knife, we see through the killer’s perspective.  But, when the killer pulls back the curtain, it stabs at the girl and turns out to be her prankster, pervert brother.  Off the bat, that bothered me, why wasn’t the door locked and what is wrong with this kid, I get pranking, but your sister is naked in the shower, come on.

Amy, the girl from the shower, goes on a double date to the Carnival.  The decide to stay the night in the Funhouse, even as bizarre as things seem to be.  Her brother followed her there and is basically spying on her.  But the group ends up hanging out over the room of one of the performers of the Funhouse, fortune teller is going to have sex with one of the carnies.  The carny is seen with a Frankenstein’s monster mask on his face, for most of the movie.  Well the carny kills the fortune teller and that is where the shit hits the fan, literally.

Of course, I will not spoil the rest of the movie, from there is where it picks ups and simply gets worse.  The characters are 100% forgettable and you don’t get enough development to care.  The monster guy, freak or whatever you wanna call it, is kind of cool looking, but not menacing at all.  That is taking away by the Funhouse Barker, who seems to be the one who runs the show.  Interesting point, Kevin Conway plays as the Freak Show Barker/Strip Show Barker/Conrad Straker who is the main Barker.  But that is the coolest part of the movie.

There is no secret, this was not my favorite movie and honestly I cannot find much good in it.  It was kind of boring and the action was ridiculous.  I cannot believe Tobe Hooper directed this movie as it seems to be one of his worst projects.  But, I will not be too disrespectful as I know it has a cult following and there are horror fans who like The Funhouse.  But, 1981 saw a great many good to great horror movies, this may be the worst from that year.

Judge for yourself, the Horror Syndicate seems to be split, there are some that think it is boring and dull and others who think it is fun.  If I am going to watch a good carnival film, I’ll watch Ghoulies 2. has a rating of 5.9

I didn’t care for it as much, 4.0


About Ray Marek III 653 Articles
I have been watching horror films since I was 6 years old. The story, one Saturday night, my mom and I were watching movies and she fell asleep on the couch. We had the channel set on HBO and the movie we were watching ended and the next one, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. This was some time in 1986. I watched then entire film, I was sitting on the edge of my seat. When my mom woke, she asked me what just ended and I told her, “Freddy”. That was all I talked about for weeks and finally she broke down and rented more horror films for me. She rented, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre part 2, Re-Animator, Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives and Halloween II. I watched all and fell in love with horror films forever. 5 Horror Films to Watch Inferno (1980) A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) The Beyond (1981) Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives (1986) Horror of Dracula (1958)