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3.9 out of 5 stars46
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 9 October 2013
wanted this for a long time well worth the wait,bought this on dvd years ago,had it on video in the 90's and yes saw this on the cinema as a double bill[remember them]with '' my bloody valentine '' in 1981. on bluray the quality is so good it looks like a new movie. this is one of tobe hoopers finest works,everything from the creepy music,the story and forgetting the creature in it looks even more scary than it did. kevin conaway plays several related characters in the carnival that he sticks in your head long after seeing the movie. if you not seen this movie do not expect gore on top of gore,it is just great fun to see how they used to make these movies in the late seventies and eary eighties. this came out around the time friday the 13th,the howling, an american werewolf in london,the fog,the shining,halloween,happy birthday to me and visiting hours all of these movies classics
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on 26 May 2013
The Funhouse is a great, suspense-filled horror film that's far more intelligent than most of its type, especially compared to most of the "splatter" films of the era, and although the film does take a while to get going, the storyline is a gripping one which builds tremendous tension right up to its claustrophobic climax. Hooper gives us an atmosphere of dread, much like he did with the original Texas Chainsaw'. The carnival becomes an underworld of fear and darkness in the skilled hands of Hooper with some colorful set pieces. Not to mention the music score which is wonderfully moody and dramatic.

The cast is great as well. The beautiful Elizabeth Berridge makes a great screen debut. Cooper Huckabee is also good as Berridge's date. Kevin Conway however is the best of the cast, in his sinister performance as he plays a trio of carnival barkers. Kudos also go to makeup artist Rick Baker for one memorable creation! The story moves around a group of teenagers who decide to break into a carnival funhouse and spend the night there for a bit of fun. Soon they're stalked by a ghastly freak from the carnival. The Funhouse is no Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) or even Poltergeist, but Tobe Hooper really creates some thrills and a good deal of suspense.

Thankfully, Shout Factory's edition of The Funhouse is a bit more satisfying on the supplemental front than their simultaneous Terror Train release, with a commentary track with director Tobe Hooper as `moderated' by director Tim Sullivan. It's a pretty good discussion that covers a lot of material in a light-hearted and engaging way. Then we get a couple of featurettes: a chat with Kevin Conway, who reflects on the shooting experience. Then there's a talk with executive producer Mark L. Lester who contributes his own memories. Theres also a chat with John Beal the film's composer, that covers his approach to scoring The Funhouse. Lastly, an audio conversation with the late William Finley on his contribution to the film. There are couple of deleted scenes and there's also a bunch of promotional materials, a trailer, along with some TV and radio spots for good measure. Funhouse is a good low-budget slasher movie and is definitely worth checking out, I highly recommend this.
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on 26 October 2012
The movie itself is a pretty good representation of early 80's horror. Standard fair with a little more flair than some of it's counterparts of this time.
Tobe Hooper's first film with a major studio and the restrictions are fairly obvious. However it is a fun horror movie.
Arrow's presentation is superb. It looks like they have used the same HD print that Shout have in the US but this disc from Arrow has far more extras.
As usual Arrow have also provided us with 4 reversible sleeves for the cover, a slip case, a small booklet written by Kim Newman and a double sided poster which is ideal for framing and putting on the wall of your crypt or tomb.
I got this from Amazon for £6 which is, to me, a huge bargain.
At this price it is to be highly recommended.
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on 20 July 2011
Tobe Hooper made this film after the success of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). After an aborted project (Eaten Alive, 1977) and a telefilm (Salem's Lot, 1981). The film shows a sure directorial skill that would fade little by little after his Lifeforce (1985). The film revolves around a group of teenagers who decides to spend the night inside a dark ride (The Funhouse) and witness a murder between two members of the circus. After this they are hunted by the by the deformed killer and his father and... well, the rest is the usual nerve wrecking scenes. This film had a huge mark on me when I watched it in television in my infancy, I remembered it for long time and unfortunately it was rare to show on TV and since I didn't had a VCR I couldn't watch it anywhere, when I got older I imported it on DVD, which is the copy I own. After a gap of some 15 years, the film still has the sinister mood of my recollection. It is sad that Hooper career followed a downward spiral, none of his films has the force of TTCM, though he came close in Funhouse and with Poltergeist (1982).
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on 17 March 2015
Four teenagers agree to spend the night in a funhouse only then to see a deformed man kill someone and then run in terror when he sets his sights on them.

The Funhouse is a fairy decent if unspectacular slasher from Tobe Hooper. The film starts by paying homage to 2 horror classics Psycho & Halloween in really the films only "fake" shock sequence, we are then introduced to a very annoying young boy who pops up throughout adding nothing to the plot although there are a couple of good shock scenes. That is something this movie does do well, there is a good amount of suspense and some quite decent shock sequences, director Hooper does very well in building up the tension and the killings are effective as is the climax. Acting wise the film is possibly one of the better early 80's slashers, although the monster/killer is a little to enthusiastic and over the top at the very end. The main issue with the picture is that it takes an age to get moving, the first half of the film is really just a long build up to the 4 of them going into the funhouse itself, there are no deaths and in truth not a lot happens apart from the opening "fake" scene. The second half has pace, is quite scary at times and is actually quite good but for some it will come to late and will have switched off.

Astonishingly this non gory big studio horror production was placed onto the video nasty list here in the UK, some speculate that it got mixed up with another film The Last House On Dead End Street which had an alternate title of Fun House here in the UK and had a very limited un branded video release around the same time.
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on 2 August 2014
Whilst every low budget director and high end studio were falling over themselves to direct another slasher horror- Tobe Hooper directed this one. The year was 1981 and following the success of Friday the 13th, 81 and for the next 8 years turned out to be a revolving door for slasher films. Some were decent, but most missed the mark. So to have a horror film like The Funhouse was indeed a fresh change.

Sure the basic concept is the same as ever: dumb kids getting hacked to pieces, but The Funhouse is so much different. For starters the killings take place in a carnival. And there are only four teenagers at stake- they decide to hop off the ghost train and stay the night there. Great idea, no not really. I won't give more away, but lets just say they will get more than they bargained for.

The atmosphere of the film is spot on. For the first half there is actually very little horror. Just a taste of teenagers sneeking off to a carnival. We are introduced to many different wild acts and characters- and as a consequence each of our four main characters have a story arc. So much so, that we end up caring for them. Which is what you ultimately want in a horror film.

A special mention should go to Cooper Huckabee, an actor who has struggled throughout his career, though Quentin Tarantino gave him a lifeline in Django Unchained. He is terrific here as the cool boyfriend. Acts it very well. Elizabeth Berridge does a great girl next door job, though one can't help thinking that she looks too young when she is naked in the shower. By the way she wasn't, but was barely 19.

Homages are aplenty, and this film remains an important one in the genre. It starts off a little 80s goofy, but goes all serious on us and is progresses. It's a shame that Tobe Hooper continues to get bad press, his CV of films isn't that bad, and whilst The Funhouse may not be his greatest effort, it is certainly deserving of being rediscovered and enjoyed time and again.
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on 7 July 2004
i think tobe hooper's chainsaw massacre is overrated. i think his recent output has been awful at best. this little gem from 1981 took me by surprise, not just for its minimum bloodletting but because i'd never heard of it. its good - its better than good. it has a genuine sense of dread and a fear and paradoxically, an understanding of human vulnerability and mutation.
like chainsaw massacre, this challenges our perception of physical appearance and those who live outside the perceived 'norm'.
this also manages to be terrific excercise in suspense and homage (referencing among other things, todd brown's freaks and hitchcocks psycho). it works as a straight ahead horror and also as social commentary in a way that the best horror movies do.
why have you never heard of it? you tell me...
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This movie is better than people give it credit for. The atmospheric build-up is fascinating. The shots of the carnival really capture a weird and incestuous world which only becomes totally apparent on a second viewing. Hooper really knows his stuff and the ideas contained in this piece are quite remarkable as is the notion of multiple casting of some of the characters. Watch it once - and its interesting - watch it twice and you can see the real skill of the film maker.
The blu ray transfer is excellent and the sound quality fine too. Perhaps a little tame for modern audiences - although there is one shockingly distasteful sequence - still Funhouse is a movie you won't easily forget. I love the reason it was banned for so many years is that the "censor" confused it with another film with a similar word in the strap-line. Such was the imbicility of the BBFC in days gone by! Now of course they pass everything with ludicrously low age ratings. Well I suppose you can't have everything.
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on 19 July 2013
Very good slasher from Tobe Hooper.
Liked the camerawork the setting and the suspenseful final denouement.
A great film for lovers of pre-CGI horror.
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on 6 August 2011
Wow,talk about a good time movie!! I have never been let down yet by Arrow and this is no exception!!..First of all,the transfer looks amazing and the sound is up to par..Its chock full of extras and I loved the "Carnage at the Carnival" with Tobe Hooper himself,that was a real treat! All of the extras and bonus footage was awesome and played flawlessly on my blu ray player.
The film itself is a great tale of terror from my youth.I think its Hoopers great directing once again that ties the whole film together.Great cinematography,lighting,and scenery make this one wild ride of horror.The soundtrack is great and does what its supposed to in keeping you on the edge of your seat.The ending of this film is true Hooper style, in having the anxiety build and build for a good ten minutes before the climax.
Oh,I think I also heard something about Eli Roth??!!..Check it out for yourself,I dont want to ruin the surprise!!..Overall I give this release 5 out of 5 stars!!..Its a must own for any horror lover!!
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