The Funhouse (1981)

90m (Sweden), 96m
35mm, Panavision, Technicolor, 2.35:1
re-recorded in Dolby Stereo, English

An American horror film directed by Tobe Hooper. It has been suggested that the film only made the UK's “” list because it was mistaken by the authorities for the more contentious The Last House on Dead End Street (1977) which was also known as The Funhouse.

Plot Summary

Four set off for a night at a traveling carnival despite warnings from their parents, suspicious that there have been reported murders wherever the carnival pitches tent. They decide to spend the night in the funhouse but find themselves trapped with a horribly mutated murderer.


Directed by: Tobe Hooper
© MCMLXXXI [1981] by Universal City Studios, Inc.
Universal an MCA company [opening logo] A Mace Neufeld production in association with Derek Power. A Tobe Hooper film
Executive Producers: Mace Neufeld, Mark L. Lester
Produced by: Derek Power, Steven Bernhardt
Associate Producer: Brad Neufeld
Written by: Larry Block
Director of Photography: Andrew Laszlo
Film Editor: Jack Hofstra
Music by: John Beal
Sound Mixer: Jack Dalton Sr
Wardrobe: Linda Benedict, Andre Lavery, Harold Richter
Make-Up: Mariana May
Hair Stylist: Donisia McGowan
Special Make-Up Design: Rick Baker
Special Make-Up Execution: Craig Reardon
Special Effects: J.B. Jones
Production Designer: Morton Rabinowitz
Filmed entirely on location in North Florida, Miami at Norin Studios

Cooper Huckabee (Buzz)
Miles Chapin (Richie)
Largo Woodruff (Liz)
Sylvia Miles (Madame Zena)
William Finley (Marco the Magnificent)
Elizabeth Berridge (Amy Harper)
Kevin Conway as the barker
Wayne Doba (the monster)
Shawn Carson (Joey Harper)
Jeanne Austin (Mrs Harper)
Jack McDermott (Mr Harper)
David Carson (geek)
Sonia Zomina (bag lady)
Ralph Marino (truck driver)
Herb Robins (carnival manager)
Mona Agar (strip show dancer)
Susie Malnik (Carmella)
Sid Raymond (stripshow MC)
Larry Ross (girly show heckler)
Frank Grimes (peepshow voyeur)

Alternative Titles

Acidente no Luna Parque – Portuguese title
Carnaval del terror – Argentine, Mexican title
Carnival of Terror
La casa de los horrores – Spanish title
Dean Koontz's The Funhouse – alternative title
Funhouse: Carnival of Terror – UK video advertising title
Das Kabinett des Schreckens – West German title
Kuca straha – Croatian Yugoslavian title
Kummitusjuna – Finnish title
Lunapark – Polish title
Massacres dans le train fantôme – French title
n afgrijselijk gebeuren – Dutch title
Pague Para Entrar, Reze Para Sair – Brazilian title
Panoptikum – Czech title
Rædselshuset – Danish title
Il tunnel dell'orrore – Italian title
To tunnel tou tromou – Greek title

Includes extracts from
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Extracts included in
78/52 (2017)
Terror in the Aisles (1984)

See also
Dracula (1931)
Halloween (1978)
House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
Phenomena (1985)
Psycho (1960)
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)


Cinefantastique vol.11 no.2 (Autumn 1981) p.49 (USA)
After a witty opening credit sequence […] Tobe Hooper's The Funhouse begins an unlikely, leisurely ride around the perimeter of its story, clearly in no hurry to get to the heart of it. […] Various attempts have been made to tie loose thematic and narrative threads together, but many are left dangling. While it stands head and shoulders above many of the genre movies being released today, The Funhouse remains a flabby film that is seemingly uncertain of its goals. What does place it above the majority of current fare stems from the submerged, sinuous logic of Larry Block script and Hooper's approach to the material. […] Benefitting from superior set design and a crisply-recorded Dolby soundtrack, The Funhouse does have its moments and is consistent with themes established in Hooper's earlier work. But its success has been ruinously hindered by haste and too little time. Watching it, one feels occasionally embarrassed, as if one has discovered someone in a compromising position. – from an illustrated review by Tim Lucas.


Cinefantastique vol.10 no.1 (Summer 1980) pp.33 – illustrated preview (by Bill Kelley)
Cinefantastique vol.10 no.3 (Winter 1980) pp.26-30 – illustrated article (Tobe Hooper's The Funhouse by Bill Kelley & Glenn Lovell)
Film Quarterly vol.35 no.1 (1981) pp.54-55 – review
Filme no.10 (July-August 1981) pp.54-55 – review
Halls of Horror no.27 p.22 – note
Interzone no.235 (July/August 2011) p.57 – review (by Tony Lee)
Variety 12 March 1981 p.133 – credits, review (by Cart)
Video Watchdog no.11 pp.19-20 – review

The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror by Phil Hardy (ed.) p.363
Film Review 1981-1982 by F. Maurice Speed p.153 – credits, synopsis, review
Hoffman's Guide to SF, Horror and Fantasy Movies 1991-1992 p.147 – credits, review
Horror and Science Fiction Films II by Donald C. Willis p.145
Horror Films of the 1980s by John Kenneth Muir pp.166-172 – illustrated credits, synopsis, review
Seduction of the Gullible, The by John Martin pp.93-95 – credits, synopsis, review