Forgotten Filmcast Episode 39: The Funhouse

ep_39Halloween is almost here, so we’ve got one more scary episode of the Forgotten Filmcast before the big day arrives. This time, Todd is joined by Bernardo Villela from The Movie Rat to discuss Tobe Hooper’s 1981 film The Funhouse. If carnys freak you out, listen to this one at your own risk.

Download the Show:
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Show Notes:
The Movie Rat
Bernardo at Twitter
Music Alley

Movies Discussed:
The Funhouse
Rammbock
Invaders from Mars

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One thought on “Forgotten Filmcast Episode 39: The Funhouse

  1. Random note: they really did have dancing girls/strip tease tents at carnivals in the 70s (I thought it was in older carnivals, but these pictures were taken as late as 77: http://www.susanmeiselas.com/early-years/carnival-strippers/#id=girl-show). Here’s a retrospective page-note both are a little NSFW: http://www.sideshowworld.com/106-Girlie/Revue.html.

    As to the movie, I agree that it has great atmosphere-in fact, though it’s not a fantastic horror movie, I love the mood Hooper creates, recalling the days, for me at least, when I wasn’t allowed to go to the carnival that came through town or, when we went to the local agricultural fair, how I wasn’t to go to the Midway. I suspect it was less Puritanical impulse on my parents part and more a desire to not spend money on shoddy rides, fixed games, junk food and trinkets, but in any case it made that area of the fair interesting and kind of scary, especially at night when there were some real weirdos about. Unfortunately Hooper didn’t seem to be able to build that mood into a more effective horror storyline, but I appreciate the novelty, especially in 1981, of having one of the threats just be a dirtbag with a gun, and it’s interesting how a twisted family is once again the focus of his horror movie.

    I think what Hooper was trying (and mostly failing) to do with the kid story line was a) twist around Carpenter’s Halloween vibe where the kid who loves masks and horror movies isn’t a murderous monster-he’s just a kid and b) defy our expectations. You expect the brother’s trip to the fair to result in either him in serious danger or in him bringing aid to his sister, but instead he merely goes on a little hero’s journey of his own and tantalizes his sister with the chance at escaping her nightmare, while drawing him into the horror-he knows that his sister is trapped in the fun house but his parents are too mad (and drunk and neglectful) to actually allow him to tell them what happened. I think it’s supposed to emphasize the horror of her situation, but I agree that it takes a long time to get there for the small impact the scene has.

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