Tobe Hooper Weekend – The Funhouse (1981)

Director: Tobe Hooper

Writer: Lawrence J Block (Screenplay)

Starring: Elizabeth Berridge, Shawn Carson, Jeanne Austin, Jack McDermott, Cooper Huckabee, Largo Woodruff, Miles Chapin

 

Plot: Four teenage friends spend the night in a carnival funhouse and are stalked by a deformed man in a Frankenstein mask.


Tagline –  Something is alive in the funhouse!

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Standard 80s Horror

 

Story: The Funhouse starts as four friends Amy (Berrirge), Buzz (Huckabee), Liz (Woodruff) and Richie (Chapin) head to a mysterious carnival, that has a reputation for the strange occurrence appearing around it. While they smoke weed and have a good time, Amy’s little brother Joey (Carson) sneaks his way to the carnival to as he follows her to report back to mum and dad.

When the friends decide to try and stay in the carnival overnight they find themselves needing to fight to stay alive after it turns out the carnival has their own deformed man that has an anger problem which will leave anybody in his way dead.

 

Thoughts on The Funhouse

 

Characters – When we look at the characters we follow the generic horror figures, we have Amy the virginal leading lady that is trying to learn to break the rules from her parents by sneaking off out to a forbidden location. Buzz is the jock with a job that is taking Amy on her first date, he is the most macho of the group. Liz is the slutty friend that is trying to push her friend into bed for the first time and Richie is the lucky one that Liz has picked for tonight, partly the geek figure and part the stoner, chances are you can work out which one will be in trouble first. When it comes to the villain, it takes a while for us to understand who they are and what they want, but turns into the generic freak figure.

PerformancesWhen it comes to the performances Elizabeth Berridge is the star of the film, your typical final girl if you want. When it comes to the rest of the friends, they are fine without being standout and when it comes to villains they are mostly fine too again nothing standout in their performances.

StoryThe story follows the four friends that go to the carnival only to try and stay the night and learn the darker side of carnival life as they must fight of the resident freak to survive. The slasher genre of horror was just coming to life and this style of story fits in perfectly to this movie, it is nothing overly original and with carnivals being something that attracts the American audience it does make sense to make a horror film out of something that has always had an air of mystery around them. The fact the story happens over one night is a big plus because we are not left to see the slow pacing which would have ruined the idea, but it does take a while for this film to get going with the horror side of the story.

HorrorThe horror side of the film is the slasher genre through and through, we get the generic horror characters, we know the order they will die and we know the final girl will need to face the hardest obstacles to survive, this is routine if you have ever seen a slasher you know the way this will go.

SettingsThe film takes place at the carnival, we get to see the populated side of the carnival and the closed side which brings the horror.

Special EffectsThe effects are good for a slasher, we get the blood where we need it and the bodies falling when needing to add the terror.


Scene of the Movie –
The first meeting face to face with the freak.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Calling an old guy a perv for doing the same thing as her boyfriend, peeking at strippers.

Final ThoughtsThis is a by the book slasher movie, it checks the boxes well and you will get enjoyment out of the film if you are a fan of the genre.

 

Overall: By the books slasher.

Rating

 

 

James Bond Month – For Your Eyes Only (1981)

Director: John Glen

Writer: Richard Maibaum, Michael G Wilson (Screenplay)

Starring: Roger Moore, Carole Bouquet, Topol, Lynn-Holly Johnson, Julian Glover, Cassandra Harris

 

Plot: Agent 007 is assigned to hunt for a lost British encryption device and prevent it from falling into enemy hands.


Tagline – Bond for the ladies in For Your Eyes Only

Runtime: 2 Hour 7 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Weakest Bond So Far?

 

Story: For Your Eyes Only starts when a British submarine is sunk with the equipment lost putting Britain in danger, with a salvage crew hired they a killed leaving only the daughter Melina (Bouquet) alive. James Bond (Moore) is put on the case to retrieve the equipment before it falls into the wrong hands.

James must work with Melina to figure out just who is behind the attack and working for the Russians, with Milos Columbo (Topol) and Kristatos (Glover) being the prime suspects.

 

Thoughts on For Your Eyes Only

 

Characters – James Bond has returned to his roots after disposing of an old enemy, he must work with other intelligence agencies to figure out who is behind the a British submarine sinking, he still picks up the women, only here he rejects one for once, he will go out of his way to not trust both sides just to be sure who he can trust. Melina is the daughter of the explorer that is killed, she wants revenge and will help James out through the adventure. Milos is one of the potential suspects to whom could be after the equipment. The film does struggle to establish a true villain, we have the hitmen, but when it comes to the lead villain we don’t learn the identity until late into the film.

PerformancesRoger Moore is good as always in his role in the movie, he does bring a more serious approach this time around. Carole Bouquet has the look of a Bond girl no question, but the fact that they have to dub her doesn’t help her performance. When we look at the rest of the cast we don’t get too many standouts because we don’t know who the villain is until too late.

StoryThe story follows Bond on his latest adventure where he must track down a missing component from a British submarine, he must play both sides to whom could be the person behind it all. This time we get a much more serious focus on the story cutting out the cheesy material we have been seeing in the previous films. This is a good thing only the fact the film struggles to establish a villain until later into the film, we never feel like there is a big enough threat in the film. in the end this does feel like one of the weakest stories in the franchise to date.

Action/AdventureThe action brings back the wildly over the top races with the ski versus motorbikes being the highlight of the ones we see here. The adventure does take Bond around the globe again, this is what we come to know from him.

SettingsThe settings add moments of tension in the film with the action sequence feeling fresh, the climbing scene being nail biting and the underwater moments being shark infested.


Scene of the Movie –
Skiing versus motorbike scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The bad dubbing job on Melina.

Final ThoughtsThis feels like one of the weakest storylines to date, the tense moments are great though, the film lacks the iconic villain which most of this franchise has become so famous for.

 

Overall: Not on the best level.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – F – The Fox and the Hound (1981)

Director: Ted Berman, Richard Rich, Art Stevens

Writer: Daniel P Mannix (Book) Larry Clemmons, Ted Berman, David Michener, Peter Young, Burny Mattinson, Steve Hulett, Earl Kress, Vance Gerry (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Micky Rooney, Kurt Russell, Pearl Baily, Jack Albertson, Sandy Duncan, Jeanette Nolan, Pat Buttram

 

Plot: Two childhood friends find themselves forced to become enemies.


Tagline – A New Captivating Animated Adventure!

Runtime: 1 Hour 23 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Sweet Disney Animation

 

Story: The Fox and the Hound starts as we see Tod’s mother killed by a hunter, trying to keep him safe, the other animals in the woods including Big Mama an owl takes the cub to Widow Tweed to look after him, but they just so happen to be living next door to a hunter that gets a new bloodhound pup Copper and the two become unlikely friends.

After the two grow up over a winter, Copper becomes the hunting dog he was meant to be, but refuses to attack Tod, forcing Widow Tweed into letting Tod go into the wild. As the two grow up they follow their nature until one fateful clash between the two reminds them who they were.

 

Thoughts on The Fox and the Hound

 

Characters – Tod is a curious orphaned fox that just wants to explore the world and without his real mother struggles to understand boundaries. He must learn that his new friend will soon become his biggest enemy. Copper is the bloodhound that befriends Tod when they were pups and cubs. He gets trained to become a hunter including Tod, but their friendship puts his instinct on the back burner. Big Mama helps guide Tod through his countryside adventures warning him of things to come.

StoryThe story follows the two young animals that become friends only to follow their natural instinct and become sworn enemies. The story tries to show us that friendship will last till the end even when the two at meant to be enemies in the natural selection of things. We do get other messages in this film, including how hunting is bad and shouldn’t be turned into a sport and learning about your place in the world.

Adventure/FamilyThe adventure in the movie shows us just where Tod and Copper life will take them, this is one for the family, but maybe not the youngest members.

SettingsThe settings created show us the world the animals will be living their whole lives, peaceful quiet countryside.

AnimationThe animation used shows where Disney was and makes things look the magical style.


Scene of the Movie –
The bear scene is terrifying.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Dinky and Boomer sounding like mobsters.

Final ThoughtsThis is a sweet and simple Disney story, it focuses on friendship over anything else with two unlikely friends.

 

Overall: Short and Sweet.

Rating

 

 

Taps (1981)

Director: Harold Becker

Writer: Darryl Ponicsan, Robert Mark Kamen (Screenplay) Devery Freeman (Novel)

Starring: George C Scott, Timothy Hutton, Ronny Cox, Sean Penn, Tom Cruise

 

Plot: Military cadets take extreme measures to insure the future of their academy when its existence is threatened by local condo developers.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Little 80’s Movie

 

Story: Taps starts as we meet our Military Cadets with Cadet Major Brian Moreland (Hutton) getting the promotion to this rank for his final year at the academy from General Harlan Bache (Scott). Bache informs the students this will be their final year before the academy is going to be knocked down for development.

When there is an altercation outside the grounds Bache accidently kills a young civilian. The consequences of this are that the base is going to close early but Moreland brings together the cadets with his Captains Alex Dwyer (Penn) and David Shawn (Cruise) to hold the base so they can have their final year and prove the academy is important for the community.

 

Thoughts on Taps

 

Characters – General Harlan Bache runs the military academy, he has done for years and enjoys developing the next generation of soldiers, when he is accidently involved in a shooting of a civilian he is removed from the base ending up in hospital. Cadet Major Brian Moreland leads the cadets, he was handpicked by the General and once the General is off the base, he leads the defence of the base from the incoming developers. Cadet Captain Dwyer is the closest friend Moreland has on the base and does clash with Shawn at time over clash of styles. Cadet Captain David Shawn is the fellow captain that is determined to prove the cadets can handle themselves, he acts quicker than Dwyer which leads to their tension at times.

PerformanceThe performances are great throughout, George Scott is your big name draw for the time and is good in his role, with Timothy Hutton here right after his Oscar win that is great throughout. Tom Cruise and Sean Penn both show their skills in the supporting role where they easily becoming big stars.

StoryThe story does follow the cadets who look to defend their school after an accident that is about to be getting closed. It shows how they were trained to handle themselves and stand up for what they believe in a bigger cause than themselves. It does have moments where you think it is a kids movie but the reality war is never just this tone and you also couldn’t see both sides fighting for what is mostly property.

SettingsMost of the film is set at the academy which shows how the young men worked together to stand up for what could build on a generation of future soldiers.

Scene of the Movie – Escape the locals.

That Moment That Annoyed Me This does seem like fighting for almost nothing, even if it is mostly tactical building up to a potential battle.

Final ThoughtsThis film shows us three young talented actors who all went onto bigger project in a film which shows the meaning behind being a solider from a young age, working together and understanding when to stand up for something you believe in.

 

Overall: Good drama showing us plenty of military tactics.

Rating

 

 

Double Feature Weekend – Shock Treatment (1981)

Director: Jim Sharman

Writer: Jim Sharman, Richard O’Brien (Screenplay)

Starring: Jessica Harper, Cliff De Young, Richard O’Brien, Patricia Quinn, Charles Gray, Ruby Wax, Nell Campbell, Rik Mayall

 

Plot: Janet and Brad become contestants on a game show… but wind up as captives instead.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Way Before It’s Time

 

Story: Shock Treatment starts as Brad (de Young) and Janet (Harper) are part of a marriage television show where Brad gets taken away for treatment through Dr Cosmo (O’Brien) and Dr Nation (Quinn).

With each day becoming a new day on the show Janet leaves Brad in the hands of the doctors while she considers her options.

When Brad finds, himself becoming the face of a fast food franchise Janet learns that they have become trapped in this twisted world with no escape as her star power continues to grow.

 

Thoughts on Shock Treatment

 

Characters/PerformanceReturning us to Janet and Brad is an interesting idea but they both seem very different people, Janet gets drawn to the idea of becoming a big star leaving people behind to do this, Brad spends most of the film tied up which doesn’t give him a lot of time to do anything. The Doctors are good without being anything special which is what could be said for the rest of the characters too.

Performance wise, Jessica Harper is great in the leading role but it would be fair to say none of the other stars really stand out on the level she reaches through this film.

StoryThe story is in places complicated, but it does poke fun at reality television which for the time was something unknown, watching it now and seeing how people look at success we do get to see a huge difference in what people think. On the other hand, this is so far away from the Rocky Picture Show we don’t need to use the same characters.

Comedy/MusicalThis doesn’t reach that many levels of comedy but I do think the musical numbers are an improvement from the Rocky Horror.

SettingsThe whole film is set inside a studio showing us just how Janet rose and fell from celebrity status which feels like the television show we are watching.

Special EffectsWe don’t have many special effects here once again but when needed they are good.

Final ThoughtsThis does take the characters in a direction you wouldn’t expect and has fun poking fun at television shows but otherwise it isn’t anything special.

 

Overall: Strange sequel with little connection.

Rating