Tuesday, March 23, 2010
The MARCH of Death, Day 21: The Funhouse
Director Tobe Hooper is most famously known for two things: Directing the seminal Texas Chainsaw Massacre and kinda sorta directing Poltergeist under the thumb of one Steven Spielberg. Whether or not the later is true will be up for debate until the man shuffles off this mortal coil to the big meat freezer in the sky. Although, what I remember him most for is The Funhouse. Why? Because way back when Drive-Ins were the rage, my mother (in all her wisdom) took her 7 year old son to see it. It was a hot summer evening in my small town, we were bored out of our minds and thought that an evening on a blanket in front of that giant screen would thrill. In fact, I was scared shitless and chilled to the bone by what I saw. Needless to say, I had a blast. For this very reason, The Funhouse will always be the Tobe Hooper “joint” that resonates with me the most. I still remember the astonishment I felt as he took me into a carnival, it’s gleefully welcoming surroundings, and deep into my favorite attraction. Only to plant inside it’s bowels a disfigured man child so horrific I could’ve cared less about the load that lie nestled in the seat of my Yoda Underoos. The Funhouse centers generally around two couples who decide to creep around the carnival after hours and spend the night in the afore mentioned house of mirrors and midgets. Little do they know that living inside, is a grotesquely deformed man who has little interest in letting them leave, let alone live. Upon revisiting this nearly a decade after my last viewing, I’m sad to report it doesn’t quite live up to my recollection. The story meanders and bores more often than not. The direction is stale. The acting sub-par to say the least. For me though, what still shines through is the ability for the ordinary to become surprisingly frightening. Like the menacing shadow of a tree through a lightening storm, or the sound of a music box in a dark and empty house, putting that “thing” in the basement of The Funhouse still creeps me out to this day.
Director: Tobe Hooper
Starring: Sylvia Miles and Cooper Huckabee
7/10 Farmhouses ~ Chris Conduit