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The Funhouse (1981)

R | | Horror | 13 March 1981 (USA)
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Four teenage friends spend the night in a carnival funhouse and are stalked by a deformed man in a Frankenstein mask.

Director:

Tobe Hooper

Writer:

Lawrence J. Block (as Larry Block)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Elizabeth Berridge ... Amy Harper
Shawn Carson ... Joey Harper
Jeanne Austin ... Mrs. Harper
Jack McDermott ... Mr. Harper
Cooper Huckabee ... Buzz Dawson
Largo Woodruff ... Liz Duncan
Miles Chapin ... Richie Atterbury
David Carson David Carson ... Geek
Sonia Zomina ... Bag Lady
Ralph Morino Ralph Morino ... Truck Driver (as Ralph Marino)
Kevin Conway ... Freak Show Barker / Strip Show Barker / Funhouse Barker
Herb Robins ... Carnival Manager
Mona Agar Mona Agar ... Strip Show Dancer
Wayne Doba ... The Monster
William Finley ... Marco the Magnificent
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Storyline

The teenager Amy Harper dates Buzz Dawson for the first time and they go to the carnival with their friends Richie and Liz. They smoke grass and have good-time visiting the attractions including a side show with freak animals. The silly Richie suggests the group to spend the night in the Funhouse for fun. During the night, they witness the murder of the fortune teller Madame Zena by a man wearing a mask of Frankenstein from an opening in the ceiling of a room. They decide to leave the fun house but they find all the exits locked. Meanwhile Richie sneaks in the room and steals the money of the manager of the place. The masked man returns with his father and owner of the fun house to show the corpse of Madame Zena; when the man realizes that he had been robbed, he presses his son that removes the mask and shows his horrible face. Richie startles and drops his lighter in the room. The owner asks his freak son to chase the thieves and eyewitnesses in a night of terror for the teenagers. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Something is alive in the funhouse! See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 March 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Carnival of Terror See more »

Filming Locations:

Dade County, Florida, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,765,456, 15 March 1981, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$7,886,857
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut) | (video)

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to actor Kevin Conway, director Tobe Hooper was a huge "Coke-head" during production of this film. Hooper allegedly consumed a minimum of 12 cans of Coca-Cola a day. See more »

Goofs

Near the beginning of the film, after Joey scared Amy and she chased him into the bedroom, she told him she wasn't going to take him to the funfair on the weekend because of it. Nearer the end, the Funhouse Barker says that the funfair is packing up in the morning and moving on. See more »

Quotes

Buzz Klemmet: Hey! Watch who you're calling an asshole, asshole.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Although the 1987 UK CIC video release was uncut in terms of violence it ran around 3 minutes shorter than the cinema version, and the differences appeared to be some dialogue and narrative edits. It contained the scenes of reefer smoking which were missing from some later Film Four showings. See more »


Soundtracks

Music from_Bride of Frankenstein (1935) _
(uncredited)
Composed by Franz Waxman
See more »

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User Reviews

Flawed but Entertaining Monster Movie
16 August 2015 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

The Funhouse (1981)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

A teenage girl sneaks off with three friends to a carnival even though her father warned her that there were issues with this sideshow the previous year. At first the four are having a great time but after witnessing a murder they become the hunted by a mutant.

Tobe Hooper's THE FUNHOUSE was released at a time when slashers were taking over the genre and if you look at the poster you'd think that this was going to be another but it's actually not. I think the film had a pretty negative reputation for quite sometime because people were going in expecting something that what they actually got. Technically speaking this is an extremely well-made film that manages to build up a rather nice atmosphere and it certainly has some interesting stuff going for it but there are still some flaws that keep it from being a good picture.

It's interesting that Hooper would go for a scare picture even though that's not what people were really wanting in 1981. The film manages to have some very good moments thanks in large part to Hooper giving it a very interesting atmosphere. You can certainly feel the carnival atmosphere as you watch the picture and the screenplay certainly gives us a lot of character development for the four leads. Another good thing the film has going for it is the cinematography and music score. Both of them perfectly capture the "shocks" of what the film has to offer. For the most part the performances are also good with Elizabeth Berridge making for a good lead and we get some nice support from Sylvia Miles and William Finley.

The film has its issues as I said and this includes the fact that nothing really happens until after the hour mark. I'm sure Hooper and company were wanting to build up the atmosphere as they did but I think they should have thrown in some sort of killing to keep people caught up in what's going on. Also, logically, you have to wonder about really being trapped in such a small space. This here is what really keeps the film from being better but there's still a lot to enjoy here. If you're looking for gore then you're going to be disappointed but THE FUNHOUSE is a nice little monster movie.


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