Monday, October 02, 2006

The Funhouse


(1981) ***

Again, scroll down for I'mnotMarc's review and more plot points.

I saw the trailer for this on TV when I was a little kid, and I thought it looked like the coolest movie in the world. The big, unnatural flaming mouth that framed the title (see below) creeped me out and stayed with me -- when I read Summerisle's review of this in 2003 the image popped right into my head. Despite all that, I never saw one bit of this movie until last night. And when I watched the trailer that big flamy mouth looked nothing like I remembered.

This movie has the almost the same exact appeal as a honkytonk carnival itself. It's got that big helping of sleaze you get in 1981 movies and maybe 1982 movies, but not so much 1983 or later. Our heroes watch a magic show where the magician takes hits off his flask up on stage, and watching this movie I felt I was being entertained with the same sloppy dedication. You know, "we're here to really entertain you and we all want a good show, but no way I'm gonna stop drinking so things might get a bit fuzzy around the edges." The result is quite a bit of padding (watch the little brother wander around the empty carnival, slowly...now watch some more!), but when the flick hits its stride it delivers some memorable moments. The monster is pretty darn creepy and the funhouse setting is a great idea. There's a good number of shots to be proud of. Watching this, I thought it might be a good idea for someone to remake it with a bigger cast and a bigger funhouse. It's not like anyone will gripe about them sullying the original.

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