Review Date: October 30, 1999
Released by: Goodtimes
Release date: 1999
Region 1, NTSC
Widescreen 2.35:1 | 16:9 - no
Director Tobe Hopper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) 1981 film, The Funhouse, gets a standard DVD release from Goodtimes.
Against her father's wishes, Amy (Elizabeth Berridge) goes to the carnival visiting her town. She is being accompanied by her date Buzz (Cooper Huckabee) who has convinced her into going to the carnival, and friends Richie (Miles Chapin) and Liz (Largo Woodruff). Her father forbade her from going to the carnival because recently two girls were found dead right next to the carnival when it was in a neighboring town.
The four teens begin to have a fun time at the carnival as expected. They go on the various rides, see the freak shows, and eat cotton candy. Towards the end of the night they decide to go into the Funhouse and stay in their all night by hiding out until the carnival closes. They succeed - the carnival closes and they are in the Funhouse for the night. Shortly into the night they witness a gruesome murder on the level beneath them. Soon after one of the teens lighter falls through through onto the floor beneath them and the killers now know there are other people in the Funhouse who have witnessed the murder.
Now the four teens are trapped in the Funhouse for the night. They must attempt to break free from the Funhouse before being killed by the hideous creature stalking them.
Not as bad as a movie as I expected, I must admit. Originally I thought this was just going to be another horrible horror movie but it's not half bad. It's certainly no Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Halloween, but it's still an entertaining film. There's not much gore in the film, but it does have a decent story, a few good special effects, some good costume design, and even manages to get a few scares through. It's definitely worth at least a rental.
The Funhouse was presented in its original theatrical ratio of 2.35:1. The colors were well balanced and the blacks were solid. Some scenes did seem a little too bright but generally the colors were perfect. There were a number of scratches and blemishes appearing throughout the film, likely from print damage. There was also a good amount of speckling that appeared mostly throughout the well lit scenes. Overall the transfer was acceptable, but there is room for improvement. It also lacked an anamorphic transfer which would've helped. This is my first Goodtimes title and from some of the stories I've heard in the past I expected it to be a lot worse. If this was an Anchor Bay release I'd expect better.
The Funhouse contains a Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround track. Audio and music was clear throughout the film and I didn't hear any problems with it. There was very little activity from the rear speakers. Only during some of the simulated lightning scenes in the Funhouse did I hear sound coming from the rears.
Only supplement was some production notes on the DVD. It was just 2 pages about some productions issues and special effects. Nothing worth talking about. I suppose for $19.98 you can't expect too many extras
As mentioned earlier, this is an enjoyable movie. I wouldn't recommend purchasing it if you haven't seen it before. Best to rent for a first time viewing. The image quality is probably as good as it's going to get given it isn't a very popular cult film. Who knows...maybe Anchor Bay, Elite, or Synapse can snag up the rights some day and give it a deluxe treatment with cleaner transfer that is anamorphic.
Movie - C+
Image Quality - B
Sound - B
Supplements - C-
- Running Time - 1 hour 35 minute
- Rated R
- 2 Discs
- Chapter stops
- Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround