Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Day 1: The Funhouse (1981)

A Month of Horror

Like the genre we are here to celebrate, a sequel is always around the corner.  Horror Movies are full of sequels - from the established classics of the '80s, to today's annual cash-grab installments of the cheap and easy series.  Due to the popularity of last year's Horror Movie-A-Day, I have decided to present 31 all new (or old) horror movies for your enjoyment...

October 1:  The Funhouse (1981)

The Funhouse is definitely a product of its time.  Produced in 1981, and directed by genre stalwart Tobe Hooper (of Texas Chainsaw Massacre fame), it is a simple story designed to cash-in on the slasher-craze of the ealry eighties.

The story is simple: a group of twenty to thirty-something teenagers sneak out for a night of fun at the local fair.  In their infinite wisdom, they decide to spend the night in the titular Funhouse, an obvious set-up.  The earlier scenes do a decent job of setting up the characters, including the younger brother of the "last girl" who also sneaks out to check out the excitement.

What none of the characters realize, is that the funhouse is actually home to a deranged albino freak with a face that is split in two, almost like it was once cleaved in two and then stitched back together as two three-quarter faces.  The makeup effects are actually quite effective, which is no surprise as they are the work of Rob Bottin.

While this could easily be passed off as a cash-grab slasher movie, it is actually a fairly effective film, although clearly a product of its time.  It is interesting to note that Tobe Hooper reportedly passed on shooting E.T. the Extra Terrestrial to work on this movie.  Also of note for fans of horror-literature, the film was adapted into a full-length novel by none-other than Dean Koontz, originally under the pseudonym Owen West.

Tomorrow, a man must travel further than he would have imagined to save the soul of his young son.

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