Monday, October 22, 2012

Phil's Halloween Horrors Marthon, Day 19: Phil reviews THE FUNHOUSE (1981) Blu-Ray from Scream Factory-October 19, 2012

THE FUNHOUSE Blu-Ray Cover (2012)
Starring: Elizabeth Berridge, Shawn Carson, Largo Woodruff, Cooper Huckabee, Kevin Conway, Miles Chapin, Sylvia Miles, Wayne Doba
Written by Larry Block
Produced by Steven Bernhardt, Derek Power, Mace Neufeld, Mark L. Lester
Directed by Tobe Hooper
Originally released by Universal Pictures
Released by Scream Factory

Welcome my fellow creatures of the night to Day Nineteen of my horror movie marathon! Today's film is another 80's horror classic that I saw when I was younger. Every week there was a new horror film coming out in theaters. Combined with the new technological invention called the VCR, you could rent movies on VHS cassettes and watch them in the privacy of your home. This meant that horror fans (like myself) finally had the opportunity to watch films from Britain, Italy, Spain, etc. I originally rented THE FUNHOUSE on VHS from my local Mom & Pop video store. After rewatching it all these years later, the film still holds up and is still has the power to terrify you!

The film's about a teenage couple Amy (Berridge) and Buzz Dawson (Huckabee) who go on a double date with their friends Richie (Chapin) and Liz (Woodruff) to a carnival. For kicks, Richie  decides that they should spend the night in the funhouse. But started off as a prank soon turns deadly for them. When they witness the brutal murder of the fortune teller Madame Zena (Miles) by a freak wearing a Frankenstein mask, they are hunted down by the freak and his barker father (Conway), who are determined they will not leave to report it to the police.

Director Tobe Hoper does a terrific job of creating some truly suspenseful moments and the effective jump-out of your seat scenes. But then again what would you expect from the man who brought us horror classics such as THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and POLTERGEIST. However the film is more about empathy and atmosphere than just gore. We've all been in a funhouse before, especially when we were young children and it was very creepy! Hoper recreates our childhood fear and displays it up on the big screen for all of us to see and to confront once again as adults.

Theatrical Movie Poster (1981)
The entire cast puts in  terrific performances, especially Elizabeth Berridge and Wayne Doba, who gives us a monster that is by turns pathetic, disgusting, pitiful and horrifying. Also a special nod to Kevin Conway, who won't be winning the "Father of the Year" award anytime soon, but helped create a truly disturbing character for horror fans to remember always!

The film was released to theaters by Universal Studios on March18, 1981 and earned $2,765,456 in its opening weekend. It went on to gross $7,886,857 in total. Now believe it or not, the late film critic Gene Siskel from the Chicago Tribune gave the film a positive review! Yes friends, things were a lot different in the 80's!

The film was just recently released on Blu-Ray and DVD by the Scream Factory (the horror label of Shout Factory). Both editions comes with numerous special features: Audio Commentary With Director Tobe Hooper, Moderated By Filmmaker Tim Sullivan, Interview With Executive Producer Mark L. Lester And Composer John Beal, Audio Interview With Actor William Finley, Theatrical Trailer, and TV Spots.

THE FUNHOUSE is definitely a must see for fans of the genre! Thanks to Scream Factory, this horror classic can now be rediscovered, just in time for Halloween! 4 out of 5 stars!!

THE FUNHOUSE is currently available on both Blu-Ray and DVD at your local retailer or at the Scream Factory website. To purchase a copy and receive a free limited poster, visit

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the screaming!


  1. I actually enjoyed this film. A fun way to pass a couple of hours

  2. It's a great little known horror film. Nice transfer and awesome bonus features.