It's Final Girl Film Club day! I watched and reviewed this month's selection The Funhouse a while back, and was sadly a bit disappointed. While I got a lot of hate mail soon after, I still stand by my initial criticisms. Perhaps in another time and another place The Funhouse and I would have got along better. For now enjoy this reposting and be thankful you aren't trapped in a funhouse with a fat Geisha lady that has nothing better to do than laugh at you.
I had a nightmare once where I was trapped in some kind of car wash in a floating car (you know how these "dream" things work right?) and there was this animatronic doll puppet thing with a face like...like that friggen witch puppet from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood!
And she was teaching a class at the chalkboard and I can still remember what it smelled like...some kind of musk, or incense-like smell predominately found in some sort of Indian boutique OR Hippie store. What does all this mean? Animatronic doll things are scary. And yes in most cases this means that Disney World is at times a very scary place to be.
....But I still love it.
As luck would have it, while sitting through the opening credits of The Funhouse, I started cowering under the bed sheets due to all the nice shots of the animatronic puppet dolls that reside in the funhouse.
I figured I was right on track to enjoy an hour and 30 minutes of good old creepy fun. Unfortunately I had to wait about an hour into the film to get a solid dose of anything particularly creepy. And even then I found myself sadly yawning on more than one occasion. The imagery of the things inside the funhouse are fantastic. But the pacing, and the story--could have been better. And less borrrrrrrrrrring.
The story goes like this; a group of real rabble rousers who smoke pot decide that it would be a real gas to spend the night in a carnival funhouse. Whoever thinks it's fun to spend the night with evil dolls, and the leftover smell of dry ice--is no friend of mine. Anyways. In the middle of getting to second base, the group witnesses a monstrous act, a murder. They are filled with panic and in their attempt to escape from the funhouse, run into more trouble than they bargained for.
I guess I was hoping that the story would somehow involve the reanimation of the creepy dolls in the funhouse. Wouldn't that be freaking sweet? It's like Waxwork but better and creepier. I guess it just really bothered me that the only thing keeping them there was the presence of real people and further more, the result of an accident. I also found that they spent a little too much time at the carnival before deciding that they would want to spend the night in the funhouse. We literally went to every single attraction along with them, and it took about an hour. What is that? I understand that the animal freak show and the mutated fetus thing in the jar are important for the story's sake. But do we really need to see the magician (how did he do that trick anyways?)
and the peep show?
That reminds me. This movie is really horny. From the start, when the little brother plays his great prank on his sister while she's in the shower- we realize that there's a lot of boobs. And by the way I don't know what kind of show that little kid is running, but he was staring at his sisters soapy and wet teats a little too long if you ask me. What a perv. Then there's the peepshow, the romp in the funhouse with more boobs, the prostitution of the gross fortune teller, giving an HJ to the mutant and him not being able to hold on for long. And there's also a weird, drooling kind of rape scene...
Oh and also--did anyone else think the main girl was about 12 years old at the very beginning? She comes into the bathroom and then you realize that she's going to shower and suddenly you get really worried that this is going to turn into a kiddie porn or something revolting. And then she takes off her robe, to unveil some pretty massive (and saggy) teats which then of course makes you realize, oh she's probably not 12 she just LOOKS 12. But seriously. I had a mini heart attack there for a bit.
And while I did typically enjoy a lot of the imagery, especially parts where the dolls started up again during spurts of electricity problems and became either part of a murder weapon, or were used to dispose or transport dead bodies.
Excellent touch! Other than I didn't really love this as much as I thought I would. There were a lot of random things that weren't explained very well. Dramatic "I'm so horrified at something" faces with an unclear reason for the face in the first place for instance, or how the little brother seems like he's going to have a major role in possibly saving his sister or at the very least becoming a victim, but then he just gets saved and chauffeured off! So much for that interesting plot development. And while I do think it's interesting how the mutant son becomes the real attraction/scary thing/monster --I just think he was really really REALLY lame. Those strangled cat noises he was making at the end? Meh.
I guess the main gripe here is that it takes far too long for anything to happen. With nothing interesting happening beforehand. Which some would refer to as a "slow burn", but I'm thinking this is just an example of a bad storyline. Even when the supposedly good stuff does happen it's not all that interesting either. Yes my mind will be scarred for life with images of that fat Geisha lady on top of the funhouse laughing,
but I'm mainly just going to be annoyed at how boring most of it was. I was hoping for some full on creepiness and excitement but it ended up just being bland with a side of boring. Rumor has it my good friend Eli Roth expressed interest in remaking this. While I don't think he is the right man for the job I do think this movie could benefit from some help. Particularly help from me who knows exactly why those animatronic things are scary, and how they can be scarier. Just kidding I don't know anything. But I would like to see those elements play a bigger role in the evilness of the funhouse. Fuck those carnies just being lousy at holding in their emotions. I don't want to see a movie about the misfit child acting out again, I want some damn creepy puppet dolls damnit.
Did anyone else think the over sized Frankenstein's monster mask, was more frightening than what was underneath?....I guess it's probably just me.