"Hey, let's stay overnight in a lunatic asylum next!!"
A pretty darn good early 80s horror movie by the world's most inconsistent horror movie director, Tobe Hooper. Believe it or not, the believability is actually the strong point in this one (at least the first half or so). Check it out sometime if you like creepy and fairly gore-free horror movies.These two teenage couples start to get horny at an amusement park and promise to rut one another if they agree to stay overnight at the Haunted Funhouse. (Me, I would have proposed say, a hotel.) So they break in and overhear some nasty arguing coming from the owner. It seems he's quite irate with the local fortune teller or bearded lady or something, and a terrible crime occurs. Our moronic quartet are all witnesses, so they promptly do the smartest thing possible: They make some noise! The chase is on.
The Funhouse offers a good job in the areas of creepy music and dank set design. This funhouse is dark and creaky and rusty and drippy. It settles in a little slowly, but that leads to a little more intensity when things get rolling. The fact that these morons are trapped there and being hunted is portrayed well, and some of the stupider ones get it but good. There's some solid carnage for the gore fans, but it's all done pretty tame. Not too many lingering shots of slit veins and dismembered legs, but I still recommend it.
Interesting Note--Although it's not mentioned anywhere, this screenplay was based on an early novel by Dean Koontz. He took his name off the project early on, but he still got a check and I bet he cashed it too. This behavior from a guy who proudly announced his involvement in garbage like Whispers, Watchers and Phantoms! (Note--Those are three different movie titles, not one long one.) - (Further note: I've been informed that Koontz wrote the novelization of the screenplay, so if this is the case then consider me duly corrected.)
Anyway, The Funhouse falls firmly into my generation's "Cabinet of Beloved Horror Crap", alongside Hell Night, Alligator, Happy Birthday to Me, Graduation Day, Prom Night and Chariots of Fire.This would probably be rated PG-13 if it were released today, but there are some good twists and a cool sense of atmosphere in the funky funhouse. This used to be the kind of movie you'd rent if you had a date and were hoping for a little grope during the scary parts. Enjoy.