short takes (3)

The latest horror movies are horrific but not much else.The Howling tries for some satiric bite in the second half, suggesting that people who eat hamburgers have a touch of the werewolf in them. The first half is dull, though, and the second half is sparked by some technically brilliant (and bloody and brutal) special effects. The Funhouse is the work of Tobe Hooper, who achieved an "exalted" reputation among thriller specialists with -- no fooling! -- a picture called "The Texas Chainsaw Massacres." His new epic is extremely well-made, and extremely unnecessary. It tells about four youngsters trapped overnight in a sinister carnival. What's the point? Aside from a few jumps and jolts, I'm afraid ther e is none.

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