Friday, September 23, 2011

The Funhouse (1981)

Director: Tobe Hooper

Starring: Elizabeth Berridge, Shawn Carson, Jeanne Austin, Jack McDermott, Cooper Huckabee, Largo Woodruff, Miles Chapin, David Carson, Sonia Zomina, Ralph Morino, Kevin Conway, Wayne Doba, Sylvia Miles

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Something is alive in the funhouse...something that, tonight, will turn the funhouse into a carnival of terror!

Plot: Four teenagers, Amy Harper, Buzz Klemmet, Richie Atterbury and Liz Duncan, travel to the carnival which has just come to town, for some fun. As the night begins to come to an end, Liz suggests they stay the night in the fun house. They all agree and decide to take the last ride before the attraction shuts down. As they stay in the fun house, the four witness and horrific murder against a psychic reader by a very big man in a Frankenstein mask, also Richie takes some of the money earned by the man who runs the fun house. The owner is furious about the missing money and sends his son, Gunther, who killed the reader, to take care of the thieves. Now the four are locked in the fun house, being stalked and killed one by one.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? Sure.

#244 on Drive-In Delirium Volume 1 (part of the TRAILER TRASH PROJECT)

I'm embarrassed. I didn't know the name, Elizabeth Berridge. What, you, too? From the first few minutes of the picture it was killing me that I knew her from somewhere. Ah, she played Mozart's wife in AMADEUS (1984), one of my all-time favorite movies. I was 15 when it came out and I saw it in the theater at least a couple of times. It's a brilliant picture. I was young and in love with Constanze Mozart, only I didn't bother to learn her name. I've never seen her in anything else but her beautiful image from that movie has been with me ever since. Ahhhhh. And now I see her like this and that image has been sullied.

That's disgusting, distasteful and no way for the wife of one of the greatest, if not THE greatest, composers in the history of mankind. Wait. Let me see that picture one more time.

Maybe I'm being a little too hasty. Perhaps I shouldn't be so quick to pass judgment. I mean after all, Mozart had been dead just about 200 years when this was made and I'm sure her grieving period had long since ended. Elizabeth Berridge, you knock yourself out. Will you marry me? It's not a requirement but you do need to have my musical genius babies.

Ah, THE FUNHOUSE. I really liked it. I think it'll take one more viewing to really bring it home for me but I think one of the things I dug was the atmosphere. Tobe Hooper's made something different than the standard slashers of that era. First of all, it's a good looking picture. Although no one is going to win any awards for it, the acting is better than usual. There are a few good kills with the one that got the axe to the head being the best. The nudity is front-loaded with a tiny bit later on, courtesy of my future wife, Elizabeth Berridge. I particularly liked her little brother's role. Very good score by John Beal, too, and the ending is great.

The only thing I can see being a hindrance is the overall pacing being a tad slow but I think that's where the second viewing will help iron things out. We'll see because I'll definitely be revisiting this one again. What a treat it was to see Mozart's wife in another movie. I shall cherish the moments we shared always. Always.

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