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The Funhouse 4K UHD Review

‘The Funhouse’ never lives up to its potential.

1981’s ‘The Funhouse’ is a slasher horror film penned by Larry Block. The story is simple- a couple on their first date (Buzz and Amy) and Amy’s pal Liz and her stoner boyfriend Richie venture off to a carnival for a night of fun. Amy’s jealous brother Joey also decides to sneak into the carnival. As they see the sights (a magician, exotic dancers, a fortune teller, deformed animals, you get the drift), the 4 decide to spend the night in the funhouse. It’s a decision they will soon regret. Not only do they witness a murder, but the 4 find themselves being hunted by a deformed man and his father (a carnival barker). Will they make it out alive?

Directed by Tobe Hooper (of ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ and ‘Poltergeist’ fame), ‘The Funhouse’ seemingly has everything going for it. It’s directed by a horror legend, it features a great setting (the carnival) that is dripping with atmosphere, the production design for both the carnival and the colorful funhouse is first rate, makeup artist Rick Baker’s work is incredible as per usual, and there’s numerous fun homages to monster movies of yesteryear (especially ‘Frankenstein’). Despite all of that, however, ‘The Funhouse’ feels like a missed opportunity. 

Perhaps the most glaring issue is that the characters are not fully formed. Aside from Elizabeth Berridge as Amy, the characters are entirely forgettable, bland, or downright loathsome in the case of Richie. More time should have been spent on developing the characters to be sure.

In terms of the premise, it’s certainly ripe with possibilities, but the story is lacking in imagination. Why does the Joey subplot go nowhere? Why doesn’t more happen with the characters being trapped in the funhouse? There could have been funhouse traps or other crazed killers. Anything really. Instead, it’s just 4 characters being stalked by a father and son (and it all resolves far too quickly). There’s no big payoff here. You’re just left wanting more.

 
Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.39:1 2160p. How does it look? Taken from a 4K scan from the original camera negative, this is a quality 4K Scream Factory disc that maintains the purity and grain of the original print.

Audio Track: 5.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD MA. How do they sound? Both tracks are adequate here. The 5.1 track is a little snowy in spots, but it certainly captures the lively sounds of the carnival through and through.

Extras:
* Blu-ray copy
* Commentary by Tobe Hooper and Tim Sullivan (on the 4K and Blu-ray).
* Deleted scenes from the TV broadcast version
* Theatrical trailer, TV spots and radio spots.
* 7 separate interviews with Kevin Conway, executive producer Mark L. Lester, composer John Beal, actress Largo Woodruff, actor Miles Chapin, Wayne Doba (who played The Monster), and special makeup artist Craig Reardon.
* Book advertisement
* An audio interview with actor William Finley.

September 1, 2022 - Posted by | 4K UHD Review | , , , , ,

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