Friday, October 05, 2012

31 Days of Halloween - Day 5 - Movie 2

In my previous post I watched a movie that proved I shouldn't go by whether I liked a movie or not when I saw it as a kid. This post is about a movie that I hated as a kid and an instance when I should have trusted my younger self's judgement.

I first saw Tobe Hooper's Funhouse (1981) when it debuted on cable probably that same year, so I would have been about 14. I didn't like it then. I felt it was just plain stupid.

I watched it again tonight and my opinion hasn't changed. This movie barely has the most rudimentary plot, which turns out to be that four unlikable teams on a double date to a carnival and for some reason decide to spend the night in the funhouse, where they fool around and then witness a murder, steal money and are stalked by the freak and his carny worker dad. It takes about 45 minutes before this starts to happen. There's also some business with the little brother of one of the "characters" (and I use the term loosely since I've seen furniture polish commercials with better developed characters than any you'll find in this movie) that serves no purpose whatsoever other than to pad out the running time of this movie into something feature length. The movie has no suspense whatsoever, and no scares. It's just completely pointless.

It has a few decent props in what must be the most elaborate and largest traveling carnival funhouse on the planet, especially the giant King Kong mouth. The mutant freak designed by Rick Baker and executed by Craig Reardon was a pretty cool looking monster and gets extra points for hiding his horrible, cleft features from the public by wearing a Frankenstein monster mask. But these are not enough to recommend sitting through this. You can save yourself the trouble by looking at the image that opens this post. There. You've seen the best part.

As a note of coincidence, William Finley, who played the title character in the other movie I watched today, Phantom of the Paradise (see previous post) was featured in this movie as a carnival magician who's scene was somewhat fun, but served no function in the movie as a whole.

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