Step right up! and witness the film largely responsible for landing Tobe Hooper the directing job for Poltergeist (1982). In honor of the great horror director’s birthday today, we decided to see if The Funhouse (1981), and it’s carnival of terrors, could tap into a person’s biggest fears.

We’ve all heard of a person being ‘Scared to Death’ or how something ‘Made My Heart Skip a Beat’, but what does that actually look like? Studies have shown that even when subjected to stimuli that can not present a true threat of danger, our bodies will still produce a physiological response. By analyzing real-time results we are able to give you the most accurate reviews for anything that makes your heart race.


For The Funhouse we equipped our test subject with a professional grade, hospital certified heart-monitor to record real-time measurements of her heart-rate, oxygen intake and stress levels. (FearScale reports on Heart-Rate monitoring but at times will take into account story structure, acting and plot to draw conclusions about physiological responses when compiling results)


Test Subject: Jackie

Age: 34

Gender: Female

Fears: Clowns / Enclosed Spaces

Resting HR: 62-65 bpm

Walking HR: 75-80 bpm


ANALYSIS: An opening nod to the original Halloween (1978) film caused a minor heart fluctuation in our subject early in the film. After that she endured close to an hour of teens checking out attractions and going on carnival rides. While this amusement may have raised the heart rates of our main characters, it did little to raise the rate of our subject. Not until the 52:00 mark did we see her pulse finally show some life. She hit her peak of 82bpm during a surprising revelation however this frenetic scene would be the highest her numbers would ever climb. Real world tension and stressful situations were able to keep her heart rate elevated comparable to a brisk walk during the finale.



CONCLUSION: The Funhouse has all the imagery and atmospheric effects one would expect from a creepy classic slasher. As a child growing up with 80’s horror movies, many sleepless nights were caused by the use of practical effects. Our results, however, proved the more latex revealed, the weaker the numbers. Although this film did not provide our subject with record breaking levels she did enjoy the thrill. A killer movie with story and heart was all our subject needed to burn off most of the cotton candy ingested during the ride. Happy Birthday Mr. Hooper!

The Funhouse: Burns an average of 162 Calories

Cotton Candy: 220 Calories

How many Fear Calories did you burn watching The FunhouseLet us know on TwitterReddit, and in the Horror Movie Fiend Club on Facebook!