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The Funhouse (1981)

Elizabeth Berridge , Shawn Carson , Tobe Hooper  |  R |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (151 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Elizabeth Berridge, Shawn Carson, Jeanne Austin, Jack McDermott, Cooper Huckabee
  • Directors: Tobe Hooper
  • Writers: Lawrence Block
  • Producers: Brad Neufeld, Derek Power, Mace Neufeld, Mark L. Lester, Steven Bernhardt
  • Format: Color, Dolby, Letterboxed, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: October 19, 1999
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (151 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00000F4O1
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #308,540 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Funhouse" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

The Funhouse is a 1981 American horror film directed by Tobe Hooper. It was written by Larry Block and stars Elizabeth Berridge, Kevin Conway, William Finley, Southern Mississippi University football star Cooper Huckabee, and two-time Academy Award-nominee Sylvia Miles. The film's plot concerns four teenagers who become trapped in a dark ride at a local carnival and are stalked by a deformed killer.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
53 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Funhouse" (AKA Carnival of Terror) June 9, 2004
By Blade
Format:DVD
After the success of the shocking slasher, "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and the eerily vampire tale of "Salems Lot", horror master Tobe Hooper came out with one of his most highly anticipated films yet! While being not as popular as some horror movies, this very rare gem was sadly neglected and barely even heard of throughout the years. Heck it may be low-budget, but I think that during its release it proved to be a very original and nightmarish work of art, showing us the more darker side of how a carnival REALLY can be!
Originally released as a motion picture in the theaters back in 1981, "The Funhouse" was quite the treat for the fan of homemade horror movies. (Those are always the best!) The storyline concerns two young couples who decide to spend the night in the carnival funhouse... BIG MISTAKE! They witness a murder from inside and soon are stalked by a bloodthirsty monster that lurks from inside. One-by-one they fall prey to the numerous booby traps and terrifying surprises until only one remains in a desperate fight for survival against the horror from within!
The actual funhouse itself is a really eerie set, and features some of the most scariest animatronics you'll ever see! (the fat lady one still haunts me today due to that I can't get that bizarre laugh out of my head!) I'd have to say that this may not be all big and bad as Tobe Hooper's other masterpiece, "Poltergeist" (which came out one year later) but it still packs quite punch that no other horror movie can do anymore.
I first saw this on the A&E network a long time ago when I was in the third grade and it scared the hell out of me! It aired again on the Sci-Fi channel and that's when I really started to get into it! Over and over I'd watch and never EVER get tired of it!
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Underrated Early 1980's Slasher August 17, 2005
Format:DVD
First, this was directed by Tobe Hooper who has had an interesting if uneven career. He's made some great films like Poltergeist, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Life Force and then some real duds like The Mangler and Spontaneous Combustion. Funhouse falls somewhere in between with enough good stuff to make it worth a view.

The plot is standard fare...A pair of teen couples Amy & Buxx and Richie and Liz go to the local carnival. They enjoy all the usual carny attractions and then get the bright idea of spending the night in the Funhouse. Amy is the young, pure as the driven snow heroine and at first hesitant but then agrees. The couple hop on the ride and begin going though the funhouse. They hop off the cars while inside and wait for the park to close for the night. Now this is actually pretty cool. Who, as a teen, didn't think it might be cool to do the same thing?

Well while exploring the funhouse the four teens witness a grisly murder by a freak in a Frankenstein mask and then find themselves pursued by the maniac and his father who is the Funhouse's barker, luring people inside. They soon find they are trapped inside with the freak and his father and being hunted down.

Funhouse is a pretty decent horror. It stars quite slowly but then builds suspense once the kids enter the funhouse and witness the murder. Hooper offers up little salutes to other horror films throughout the funhouse setting. The acting is what you'd expect from a no-name cast. Many of these actors never did another film after this one. Still, Hooper shows how a cheapie slasher can rise above the pack when you have a decent director.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pay to get in. PRAY to get out. August 7, 2003
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
"Thet boy just ain't right" If you've seen this movie, then you'll know what I mean. Lately, I've been collecting late 70's, early 80's horror movies and I came across The Funhouse (1981). Directed by Tobe Hooper, best know for 1974's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, I thought this movie would be fun and it was.
The movie is slow going for the first hour, and then things pick up from there. This provides a slow build up of the tension, which I enjoyed. Basically you have a small group of teenagers who decide to spend the night in a carnival funhouse, and most don't live to regret it. There are some thrilling/scary moments, but the movie is more low key than The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The gore is very limited, and a lot of it is off screen, but as a choice of direction, I thought it was better that way, for this movie. The settings are very effective, using natural lighting in most scenes, giving the movie a gritty feel. The actors, I feel, did an effective job in portraying their characters, giving them a little more depth than what we used to in these types of movies. The one minor issue I had was I thought the monster make up might have been a little over the top, in that I thought it would have been more effective had it been toned down a notch. The monster, by the way, is the son of a carnival worker, and is very disfigured to the point of being grotesque. I am not giving away anything here, as we learn this about midpoint in the movie, and it's not a shocking revelations or anything.
While this movie shared many elements of other horror movies, teenagers, creepy location, psycho killer, it rises above it's peers somewhat in the gritty realism. Again, I want to stress that this movie is slow going through the first hour, but was worth it to me for the last half hour.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
One of Tobe Hooper's best works
Published 1 month ago by Hector Jair Hernandez Castillo
5.0 out of 5 stars OLD SCHOOL!
I AM SO HAPPY ALL OF THESE OLD SCHOOL MOVIES ARE COMING OUT! I SAY THIS ON EACH ONE I BUY! I MEAN WHEN YOU GROW UP AS A LITTLE KID WATCHING THESE YOU DON'T SEE ALL OF THE CHEESE,... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Melissa A. Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun time in the Funhouse
Bought this as a gift. My brother loves horror movies and was very happy to get this. Product arrived as advertised. Price was great.
Published 4 months ago by Jason Mack
3.0 out of 5 stars The Funhouse from Hell
On her first date with Buzz (Cooper Huckabee), Amy (Elizabeth Berridge) disobeys her father and goes to the carnival with Richie (Miles Chapin) and Liz (Largo Woodruff), but their... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Taheen Lopez
4.0 out of 5 stars An underrated classic!
While not Tobe Hooper's best movie (that of course is 1974's seminal The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), this film, alternatively called Carnival of Terror, was very well done. Read more
Published 6 months ago by GSD
1.0 out of 5 stars If you have never heard of this movie, it is for a good reason
This movie is very old, and it is very boring. The storyline moves along so slow that you will lose interest, and once you lose interest, NOTHING happens to get your attention... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Jheff
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun flickl
Fun movie that I highly recommend to anyone seeking a couple hours of good entertainment. Sorry I ordered it in the widescreen version.
Published 8 months ago by corvette66
5.0 out of 5 stars CLASSIC 80'S HORROR MOVIE
CLASSIC 80'S HORROR MOVIE WITH SOME CHILLS AND THRILLS. SEEMS LIKE HORROR MOVIES MADE BACK THEN WERE MORE SCARY THEN TODAY
Published 8 months ago by TRACY RUCH
5.0 out of 5 stars Scary!!!!
I remember watching this movie when it first came out in the theatres. It scared me!!! I am glad I found it on dvd.
Published 9 months ago by Angie Perez
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Hooper's most unappreciated films.
Come on, so many people dislike this movie, sure it's not a major classic but in my eyes it is a major classic. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Dan the monster movie fan
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Horror
#1 John Carpenter's "Halloween"
#2 Brian DePalma's "Dressed To Kill"
#3 Tobe Hooper's "The Funhouse"
#4 Tobe Hooper's "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre"
#5 Dario Argento's "Deep Red"
#6 John Irvin's "Ghost Story"
#7 Joe Dante's "The... Read More
Feb 16, 2008 by Sammie David DeLuce |  See all 2 posts
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