The Funhouse (1981) (Blu-ray Review)

The Funhouse (1981) (Blu-ray Review)

📅25 November 2012, 13:57

The Funhouse (1981) (Blu-ray Review)
Director:  Tobe Hooper
Where to get it: TLA Cult

Directed by Tobe Hooper (horror legend), this non-stop thrill ride of frights and chills follows a group of four fun-loving teenagers who decide to spend the night in a traveling carnival’s funhouse. When a deformed man wearing a Frankenstein mask begins brutally murdering the friends, they find themselves in a desperate struggle for survival. While I don’t think I’d toss it on the same level with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, I would say that you can tell it’s the same director at times.

One of the things I picked up really quick with this one, outside of the Halloween and Psycho tributes at the start, is the vibe this movie gives off. As slow as it can be at times to really get cooking, it just feels really interesting and it looks really awesome as well. Atmosphere can go a long way in horror. It can set your film’s table and be a full course meal at times. And coming from the man who made such a freighting film in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, that people swear is gory when it isn’t, shows he knows a thing or three about atmosphere and setting a tone. In Funhouse, the tone is set.

So we got a great look, we have a great cast of characters/villains, and I can’t even tell you how eerie one of these cats look in his Frankenstein mask, much less what he looks like when it comes off. If you’ve not seen the film, I won’t spoil it, but it’s very cool and very awesome. As a matter of fact everything you need in a horror film is here and main issue in the film gets set, but I’ll be damn if the movie just doesn’t really take its sweet time getting things rolling on a high level. If the film does have one fault, it’s that I think it makes you wait a little too long before things get from just cool looking to actually good. So if you can hold on till then you won’t be disappointed.

It’s when the film hits its one hour point and proceeds into its last thirty minutes that the movie brings some of the most interesting and spooky looking horror cinema you will find. I loved it and enjoyed it very much. I kinda wish the rest of the film was like this, but I guess without the slow build you wouldn’t appreciate the last part as much as you do. It’s dramatic, it’s scary, and it’s well acted. And it packs an ending I find very fitting for what the film brings. Overall, you have an eerie, fun, and campy film that I’m sure will bring horror enjoyment to whoever watches it. The only downside to this release is I don’t personally think the transfer was that great. There is a blur that comes and goes at the bottom and top of the film and I don’t think it’s THAT much of an improvement from the DVD.

The Movie: (7.5/10)
The Transfer: (6.5/10)


– Tobe Hooper commentary
– Audio Interview with William Finley
– Trailer/TV Spots

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