funhouse

“You know what this room needs? An evil clown statue. Oh wait…

The town carnival was always a place of fascination for me. A sort of mobile caravan of weirdness. The row of games where you can loose your teenage life’s savings while trying to win a $3 stuffed Tweety bird for your girlfriend. The buckets of assorted fried meats you can gorge yourself on before they have to jump start your heart, and then there’s the unsavory combination of smells around every turn. When you put an assortment of porta-potties, open garbage cans and a few hundred tons of corn dogs a few feet from each other you’re bound to create some sort of toxic sludge. That might explains how they keep those creepy carny workers alive, a netherworld chemical of food by-products thereby reanimating their lifeless corpses for another day of work much like office coffee. I’d also question some of the rides safety testings. Ever notice the small single rusty bolt that holds your creeky cart precariously to the metal octopus arm?…at any moment snapping and sending you into the parking lot like a homemade turkey catapult? Well now you will…and you’re welcome. Fortunately most people make it out alive in the face of these carnival dangers.

In the horror film “the funhouse” some carnival patrons aren’t so lucky. Amy our lead virginal hero is going out with her friends to check out the arrival of the carnival. We know she’ll survive because she’s a virgin and as we all know they can create forcefields around them from evil (or drunk frat guys whichever they encounter first.) After a Halloween inspired shower-scene attack by her perverted little brother she decides sideshow freaks would be a welcome change of pace. They check out the mutant cattle show, get mild whiplash on the bumper cars and visit a fortune teller who freelances as a hooker. Will the fun ever stop? They even stop at a girlie strip show tent hoping to get a sneak peek. I don’t recall seeing that particular attraction at my local town fair when I was a teenager. The closest to that was the 4H melon contest next to the farm animal petting cage. It sure would have increased tickets sales though.

Amy seems to be mysteriously drawn to a creepy funhouse at the outskirts of the carnival and her friends decide it would be a great idea to actually stay the night inside. The funhouse is a massive structure with a winding track of riding carts that tour through a variety of creepy displays and animatronic weirdness within it. There’s also a creepy robotic fat lady who sits on top of the building laughing mockingly at any bulimic teen that walks by.

Once inside, the teenagers ditch the carts and frolic in some poorly made evil forests that seemed to be constructed by the same people that build cheap floats for town parades. Things go from bad to worse when they inadvertently witness the killing of the fortune teller hooker (fortune-hooker!) who just gave a quickie to some guy dressed as Frankenstein. Frank didn’t feel he got his money worth so he kills her instead. Business transactions never go well between mutant beasts and gypsy hookers, but she really should have predicted that.

The kids are soon discovered and Frank who actually turns out to be some sort of real life freak mutant is stalking them along with his equally crazy dad. With only 4 teenagers total, the body count isn’t going to get too high but mutant Frank is all about quality kills not quantity. There’s surprise lynchings, axes to the head, impalements, trapdoors, air duct maulings, and some torso/gear grinding action. All this making up for a great popcorn b-movie but I’d have to say that the main star of this movie really has to be the funhouse itself. It’s creepy, icky and filled with the stuff of nightmares and yet consistently out-acts the actual cast members. I say give this one a spin in your DVD player and save an elephant ear for me.

Keep an eye out for…

– little brother perverts
– carnival bag ladies
– gypsy hookers
– carney choking
– mutant cattle shows gawking
– rope a nerd lynchings
– accidental sword impalements
– freak carney grinders

funhouses, carnies, and a live performance of the Oak ridge boys? Stop the horror!


rated 9.1 out of 10 for the movie

Check out the trailer for the Funhouse