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Director Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Poltergeist) pays affectionate tribute to various classic horror movies in this tale of two teenage couples who spend the night in a sleazy carnival funhouse.
On her first date with Buzz (Cooper Huckabee, True Blood), Amy (Elizabeth Berridge, Amadeus) disobeys her father and goes to the carnival with Richie (Miles Chapin, Hair) and Liz (Largo Woodruff), but their first date may end up as their last. After witnessing a murder, the four terrified teens are trapped in the maze of the funhouse and stalked by a real monster, a horribly deformed killer who lurks among the freakish exhibits waiting to butcher them one by one. Funhouse also stars Sylvia Miles (Midnight Cowboy) and Kevin Conway (in three roles) and features special makeup designs by Academy Award winner Rick Baker (An American Werewolf In London, Ed Wood).
Though by no means a classic on par with The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), Tobe Hooper's The Funhouse (1981) is an atmospheric thriller that offers a frequently effective mix of suspense and shock that bucks the body-count aesthetic of the then-current slasher trend. Hooper puts his cards on the table early in the picture by offering a tongue-in-cheek homage to both Psycho and Halloween, which serve as the boundary markers for the territory in which the picture operates. That translates into a more relaxed pace in the film's first third, which follows a quartet of teens at a rural carnival, as well as attention to detail which heightens the inherent creepiness of the location, which is rife with seedy figures (including character actor Kevin Conway as three different but equally louche barkers) and unsettling animatronic attractions. Hooper also draws from both pictures for his main antagonist, a disfigured man named Gunther (Wayne Doba) in a Frankenstein mask who stalks the quartet after they are locked into the funhouse after closing time. It's to the director's credit that Gunther comes across as both implacable and pitiable at the same time, an agreeable wrinkle on the standard slasher archetype that further helps to set The Funhouse apart from the '80s-era horror crowd. Differences such as these also keep the film feeling fresh and inventive in a way that many psycho-thrillers from the same period fail to retain; the end result is a horror effort worth revisiting for veteran genre fans and a recommended visit for first-time viewers. Shout Factory's Blu-ray presentation, which is part of its '80s horror retrospective Scream Factory imprint, looks gorgeous and vastly improves the film's often-muddy visuals. Extras include a new commentary track with Hooper moderated by director Tim (2001 Maniacs) Sullivan which touches on production history and numerous creative decisions, as well as interviews with Conway, executive producer Mark L. Lester, composer John Beal, and the late, much admired character actor William Finley, who plays carnival magician Marco the Magnificent, and is featured in an audio interview from 2005. Six scenes that were deleted from the theatrical release and later added to the broadcast television version are also included, as are the original trailer, four TV spots, and a quarter of radio ads. --Paul Gaita
• Interview With Executive Producer Mark L. Lester And Composer John Beal
• Audio Interview With Actor William Finley
• Theatrical Trailer
• TV Spots
• And More!
Had to add it. Even though it is one of "those" types of silly horror flicks,it's one that always deserves a watch from time to time. Read morePublished 28 days ago by Petty Fan
Great classic old school monster-horror movie!!! If you liked Halloween and Friday the 13th, watch this one!!Published 3 months ago by Alan P. Voss
Classic 70's/80's horror schtick. Wayne Doba is absolutely fantastic and great, especially pre "reveal". Elizabeth Berridge is both beautiful and believeable. Read morePublished 4 months ago by J. Lee
Classic horror movie and looked better on bluray than i remember on dvd.Published 4 months ago by Nick Luce
|Topic||From this Discussion|
|Why ALL the hate for these 80's horror movies??||
I know, I Love these classic flicks. Kids these days just want sleek special effects, ugh how I hate people who hate on classic slasher flicks, Jason should go and kill all of these haters
Oct 20, 2012 by M. Mont | See all 3 posts
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