I saw this once a long time ago and did not like it, at all. But just for you, Patrick, I'm renting "The Funhouse" from Amazon Video, rewatching it with as open a mind as I muster, then rewatching it right away (within the 24-hr. rental period) with your solo commentary. I owe you that much, and at the very least the movie will get a couple of bucks from my hard-earned (back when I worked! :'( ) money. Deal? ;-)
Well, I rented "The Funhouse" from Amazon, watched it and then re-watched it with Patrick's solo commentary (a much, much improved commentary effort than "Revenge of the Ninja" and "Kuffs"). Guess loving the flick and drinking Diet Coke makes all the difference. ;-) BTW, DO NOT RENT "THE FUNHOUSE" FROM AMAZON. Like those infrequent 2AM HBO broadcasts Patrick likes to DVR, "The Funhouse" is cropped to 1:85:1 after the Universal logo and the opening titles are in 2:35:1. It's still watchable, but the missing extremes of the picture are missing vital information during important scenes (like when Buzz and the monster's "dad" fight it out with guns and swords on opposite ends of the frame). Looks like anamorphic movies on widescreen HDTV's is the new 'full frame.' :-(You know how you see a couple of complete opposites that somehow get along with one another? That's how I see Patrick and "The Funhouse." While I'm glad they found each other I just don't get what Patrick or anyone who likes it sees in this movie. Except for getting three Kevin Conways for the price of one (I love this dude, he was born to play slimy creep) and excellent use of reds and greens for atmospheric lighting I don't like anything about "The Funhouse." Rick Baker's make-up job for the monster was either deliberately done cheesy or Baker just handed the job to an understudy. I like Buzz the more we got into the movie, but he goes out like such a punk bitch (and off-camera to boot!) it's yet another disappointment to add to the pile of disappointments the flick constantly delivers. "Freaks," like "The Funhouse," also took place in an environment and world that makes me feel uncomfortable just watching it. Unlike "The Funhouse," though, "Freaks" constantly engages me with interesting plot twists and characters that are at least relatable. Except for Buzz and (to a much lesser extent) Amy, who am I supposed to relate to or like here? Since technically he doesn't really try to kill Amy at the end like he did the fortuneteller (or kill Liz until after she stabs him), a case could be made The Monster is a Frankenstein-type innocent that we're supposed to find a tragic figure. Which we can't, of course, because Hooper has made almost the entire world and most characters in "The Funhouse" repellent and off-putting.Yes, Hooper is deliberately upending audience expectations by showing cliches and then doing the opposite of what we expect (our 'final girl' topless and enjoying sex? So this is where "Zombeavers" got it from?). But so what? Is flaunting expectations enough of a solid foundation on which to hang a rather simplistic morality story (don't trespass where you don't belong, and while you're doing it don't steal) when the deaths of semi-likable characters are either near-bloodless or off-camera? Ironically for a guy who's perceived as making movies swimming in blood because of two "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" movies, Hooper strikes me as an old-fashioned, classically-trained horror director that implies more than he shows. That may be why, when people finally get around to seeing his non-"Massacre" movies, the lack of gore and tame violence (surrounded by loud screaming, flickering lights and a sense of chaos) tends to disappoint when there isn't an entertaining hook (Mathilda May and OTT chaos in "Lifeforce," Leatherface's loud chainsaw, etc.) to compensate. Glad I rewatched "The Funhouse" and that Patrick loves it so much. The movie got my rental business (for a fucking cropped transfer no less!) and I got the satisfaction of knowing (a) I gave the flick an honest shot and (b) I'll never have to see it again. :-)
P.S. I pulled a Patrick and watched another Hooper movie along with "The Funhouse" to, you know, spot the connections with the director's mise-en-scene and shit. I watched 1986's Invaders from Mars (YouTube) right after "The Funhouse" and before rewatching it with Patrick's commentary. Love the way Hooper fills the anamorphic frame with stuff, which makes those red martian tunnels (a look that I've seen replicated on a million videogames since) seem to go on forever. Basically the entire behind-the-scenes "Lifeforce" crew (who gets a cameo along with "Poltergeist's" TV snow) returns, except with Christopher Young replacing Henry Mancini and the Golan-Globus people already ripping off the "Superman" opening credits in anticipation of both "Superman IV" and "Masters of the Universe." Like Kevin Conway with "The Funhouse," James Karen steals the movie as an army colonel who's a lot more open-minded to a kid suggesting aliens are on Earth that I'm used to seeing in movies. Why is Karen Black the lead in this movie is beyond me (another Hooper attempt to zig when audiences expected her to zag), but at least this sucker keeps moving and upping the ante. At least there's more likable characters and a more relatable trope ("Body Snatchers"-like parents and teachers don't have feelings) on which "Invaders from Mars" anchors its rather-silly sci-fi tale. I don't really liked either "The Funhouse" or "Invaders from Mars" that much, but at least the latter is nuttier and more goofy fun than the former's oppressive atmosphere. Glad to have participated in 'F This Movie's' Tobe Hooper appreciation day. Let's do this again... not soon. ;-P
Actually, even though you're alone this is a very interesting commentary.I discovered this film this October and I absolutely loved it. I love that it's a hybrid of a slasher movie and a monster movie. While I am into slasher films, I do prefer monster movies, so this is a slasher perfect for me. I think the movie finds an incredible balance between being scary and being fun. It is both those things to a crazy high degree. I found this movie kind of stressful to watch for the scares, yet still a total blast.I found myself very interested in the character of Buzz. He started out as such a douche bag, yet became kind of a badass as the movie went on. I ended up very sad to see him die. And I think the scene of Liz offering herself to the monster to be very powerful because of just how horrible it is. I think that scene is terrific if your goal is to freak out your audience, which is obvious Hooper's goal.The movie looks incredible and it's certainly an underrated gem. But that drool/teeth poster isn't. I also hate that poster.
It's very gratifying to hear that you really like the movie and that you became a Tobe Hooper fan during SMM. Thanks!
Good fun, Thanks for helping us with our FixYou were spot on about the videos nasties debacle, Even The Big Red One and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas was on the list at one point Speaking of your passion, I have a film I feel the same about, some people really get it and others are kinda Meh but it speaks to me on every level and is my favourite unsung movie, Xtro is a perfect movie to me, it works on every level and really speaks to me as a experience like no other Thanks Patrick
I have a lot to say about the but will try to keep it short and a few vital bullet points1) Elizabeth Berridge is at her peak on the John Laroquette Show. She plays a super cute but crazy bad ass cop and is gorgeous when they have her let her hair down. Also the first season or two are really very good but completely collapses after that. Chi McBride, Darryl 'Chill' Mitchell pre-accident, Lenny Clarke as her partner, all good stuff2) Also a big Tobe Hooper fan and have never understood why there seems to be some weird resentment towards him by some horror fans. I like at least some aspects of all his work and feel TCM 2 and Funhouse are very underrated films. I do split with you on original TCM though, I think it may be my favorite all time horror film.3) Thank you for doing this. With all the work you did for October this was a great little surprise when I checked in this morning.Doing a solo commentary has got to kind of suck but you pulled it off. 4) I saw this movie back in the 1980s when it wold run on TV. It completely freaked me out as a kid but I really liked it. Your comparison to 'Freaks' is apt and I feel there are many aspects that are inspired from it though it certainly breaks from it in many many ways. Nice to hear someone else appreciates it and maybe this will at least introduce it to some who have either never really heard of it or simply passed it over in the past.
(Absolute hijack, Sutton Foster is a lot of fun on Bunheads, a show I'm mystified didn't do better on ABC Family.)
Great work Patrick. I kinda didn't expect a podcast after the marathon that was scary movie month, much less a podcast on a horror movie, so was thrilled to hear this. I have only seen The Funhouse once, and much like you I found it to be fine. You've talked me into giving it another shot though.
Thanks Patrick, that was an interesting and thoughtful commentary. I first saw this movie this year for Junespolitation, and every assumption I had about horror as a genre crumbled away while watching it. I loved how this movie looked, I loved the ambling pace of the beginning to the bat shite craziness of the ending, I loved the characterisations (I completely agree with Daniel about Buzz). This a movie that has opened up a whole world I now get to explore, and it will always be special for that reason. So thank you Patrick and F This Movie.
For the record, Lawrence Block hasn't written a lot of movies BUT he's written a shit-load of best selling books. He's won multiple Edgar Awards for mystery writing. He was (is?) a long time columnist for the magazine Writer's Digest (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Block)I remember when this was filming in North Miami. Specifically, because a friend who was an over-the-top "Phantom of the Paradise" fan (he drove a Pontiac Phoenix) hung around the set to meet William Finley.As far as it being filmed at the same time as "Scarface" I remember that as being done later. Besides, the Mariel boatlift happened in 1980. It took several months before the results of Castro emptying his jails into Miami via the flotilla to be confirmed (or at least, admitted). "The Funhouse" was released the next year. I doubt even DePalma could have pulled together a production that fast.Also, one could get cocaine long before the production of "Scarface"...
This might have one of my favorite beginnings to a movie. The two-face line made me laugh way too loud. Joe vs. the Volcano! You have to do that movie in some capacity. Hand jobs to monsters and lesbian stuff with Bev D. I love the Lost Boys. What kind of person does that make me? Keep your hands to your sides so you don't punch your boyfriend's dick. I also do not love haunted houses. I just rented this and now I have to fuckin buy it on blu-ray. Thanks, Patrick. Seriously, thanks for putting out a horror commentary in November. I dare you to do another one next week...or Southland Tales...or the Last Boy Scout.
Your enthusiasm for this movie is kind of infectious. Great commentary!
Surprisingly low-key for a 300th episode, but your efforts to put out a podcast right after being worn out by all the SMM goodness is representative of this whole enterprise. Thanks for making sure we got our weekly fix, Patrick!
I noticed that too. Since Patrick didn't make a big deal about it I didn't mention it. But yeah, considering all the hoopla for the 100 podcast anniversary the 200 and 300 ones have been awfully quiet. Patrick must only get excited when he adds a '0' to the 100 (i.e. 1,000). :-D
I didn't even realise. 300 That's a lot of chatting, brilliant
I didn't either. Huh.
F is for Forgetfull ;)
Finally got to re-watch this with your commentary. Great fun! It's really refreshing hearing you talk about such a great film with your knowledge of the genre. To have you say this is in your top five of all time speaks volumes. I love that you love this film!I saw The Funhouse when I was younger but revisiting it with your commentary really made me appreciate it more. I love Woodruff's red pants too :) I thought I might be able to write more and add some of my own thoughts, but there's no need, I just enjoyed this big time. Thanks!