THE FUNHOUSE (1981)
When the carnival comes to town… a group of teens decide to spend the night in the fun house. While hiding in the ceiling, they witness the mentally challenged ride attendant murder a psychic fortune teller that they previously pissed off earlier in the night. They find out that they are locked in with a psychotic murderer and his carnie family… let the good times roll…
The similarities between this and Texas Chainsaw Massacre are all over the place. We got a mutant mentally challenged murderer… a psycho family… and impaling people on hooks.
The pacing was a little slow for my taste. It took about 30 minutes for something to happen. Before the first kill takes place we just follow 4 teens and a child going through the carnival and seeing the attractions.
Luckily our characters are not complete dumbasses. They know what they have to do and what will happen to them if they don’t. They also blessed us with no lines such as: “Hey, we can cover more ground if we split up”… or… “I’ll be right back”. At one point, the slutty blonde, knowing the mutants weakness is sex with women, attempts to use her sexuality to survive and attack the killer.
At times, you kind of get annoyed by the set ups and blatant foreshadowing. From the beginning, you know a scenario will arise where the kid will be inches away from saving them, but won’t because he thinks its the big prank his sister warned him about. You aren’t really surprised when it happens and are just glad to get it out of the way early on.
I also wasn’t a big fan of the fact that one of the weapons was a gun. Its kind of an unwritten rule of circus horror movies to use whatever is around you as a weapon of opportunity. Luckily, the gun didn’t play too big of a role in the film.
As for Killings go: we get one mauled by a retard, a hanging while getting an axe to the skull, a good ol’fashion beating, an impalement, and a nice juicy electricution while being crushed by machenary. For what the film neglected during the first chunk of the movie when it came to the creepy carnival shenanigans… it makes up for during the climax.
Overall, even though I was expecting a supernatural carnie movie, I was actually surprised by how good this 80s slasher was. It could have been more inventive, given its set design, but it wasn’t too bad.