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The Funhouse

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  19,816 ratings  ·  545 reviews
Once there was a girl who ran away and joined a traveling carnival. She married a man she grew to hate—and gave birth to a child she could never love. A child so monstrous that she killed it with her own hands…Twenty-five years later, Ellen Harper has a new life, a new husband, and two normal children—Joey loves monster movies, and Amy is about to graduate from high school ...more
Paperback, 333 pages
Published June 1994 by Berkley Books (first published January 1st 1980)
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3.60  · 
Rating details
 ·  19,816 ratings  ·  545 reviews

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Dec 06, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, novel
Creepy fun, in the right way!


I had so much "fun" with this book (pun intended).

But it was a creepy fun indeed!

This novel was written by Dean Koontz but when it was originally published it was under the pseudonym of "Owen West".

The decision to do it under other name I think it was because it was the novelization of a movie and so Dean Koontz wasn't too eager to be related with it if it happens to be bad.

Well, the movie was bad BUT the book was good, real...

First reading- Oh so long my younger days- 3-stars.

Second reading- as a...semi-mature person-1-star.
Edward Lorn
May 13, 2012 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one
I remember buying this off the rack at Lucky's in Fontana, California, taking it home, and reading it all in one sitting. Teenage E. was all about this book. It was violent and creepy and quickly became one of my favorite Koontz novels. I even love the Tobe Hooper film based on this story.

All I can say is, Teenage E. was a gullible idiot. This book is terrible. Nobody acts believably. The horror is hokey. The dialogue is... sweet baby Tom Cruise, it's some of the worst I've read.

To anyone I ha
Boy, did I ever hate this book!

It was originally released decades ago under a pen name. When the audio came up for free, I jumped on the chance, because I loved Dean Koontz back in the day. I thought that because I enjoyed his older books like The Watchers, that I would enjoy this one. I was wrong.

There were so many cliches in this book, it became sad. The characters were predictable and (surprise!) cliche. There was potential here but nothing original came out of this story.

The narrator was ok
Karl Marberger
Mar 28, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Pretty cringey. Poorly written. A swing and a miss.
Rebecca McNutt
Jun 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Not what I was expecting, and I'm pretty neutral towards the story, I didn't love it but I didn't hate it, either. It wasn't the most original, I could list off a ton of film and book titles with extremely similar plots right off the bat, but it was a somewhat entertaining book all the same.
The book itself probably be no more than 4 stars, but because the idea of the book and the purpose it served for me I'll give it 5. I stole it from my mom's bookshelf in 8th grade and I remember it being the first definitive adult novel I ever read. I devoured it within days, it was such an easy read. From what I remember, the writing just flowed from one page to the next, making it simple for a relatively inexperienced reader like myself to follow along. I don't remember the sequence of events, ...more
Gianfranco Mancini

Il Tunnel dell'Orrore (The Funhouse, ma noto anche come Carnival of Terror) è un film slasher/horror del 1981 diretto da Tobe Hooper, regista del cult movie Non aprite quella porta (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre -1974).

Avevo appena visto il film, un classico slasher/horror con tutti gli elementi tipici del genere (ragazzetti arrapati, omicidi sanguinolenti ed una final girl che sopravvive alla fine), quando pochi giorni dopo, incredibile ma vero, trovo a 2 euro in un negozietto di libri e fumetti
Martin Rondina
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Video Reseña:

Una novela que nos remonta al horror de los años 80. Tiene un inicio espeluznante y aterrador que me enganchó desde las primeras páginas. Es una novela corta, que va generando una atmósfera de suspenso e intriga a medida que pasan las páginas, los protagonistas principales son interesantes, pero el mayor logro se lo llevan los antagonistas, que sin dudas, para mi, fueron lo mejor del libro. La feria ambulante es aterradora, y todos los que la
Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*
The carnival is always a unique, exciting setting for any horror novel. Amidst all the freaks, gloomy funhouses, maniacally grinning clowns, and … well, candy, there’s a man with a mission. To seek out and destroy his ex-wife’s children, the ex-wife who had taken away his own mutated son. Besides this juicy tidbit, there’s also a misled creature that delights in killing innocent men and raping/shredding apart women in each town it visits.

One thing that really made The Funhouse work was the chara
Oct 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: audible, horror
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Goodreads Horror Week 2018

I thought this was an ok book. It became very good vs evil, God vs. satan. The end was a bit to quick and easy for my taste. There was a great buildup, then....that's it? Ah well, still a decent read worthy of 3 stars.
Dustin Crazy little brown owl
You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you can not do."
-Anna Roosevelt

This book is definitely creepy.

The Funhouse is one of the last in-print Koontz books for me to read. I think the only other one I haven't read is Night Chills. The Funhouse recently became available in audiobook form
Nov 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
I honestly didn't know what to expect from this book, since it was one of Koontz older books, and also written under a pseudonym. But surprisingly, I liked it, I had read that a lot of people hated this one but I thought it was pretty good. The storyline is intriguing and the plot is very easy to follow.

Barely seems to drag at all, and I liked the carnival setting. A fun and easy read.
Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*
The carnival is always a unique, exciting setting for any horror novel. Amidst all the freaks, gloomy funhouses, maniacally grinning clowns, and … well, candy, there’s a man with a mission. To seek out and destroy his ex-wife’s children, the ex-wife who had taken away his own mutated son. Besides this juicy tidbit, there’s also a misled creature that delights in killing innocent men and raping/shredding apart women in each town it visits.

One thing that really made The Funhouse work was the char
Ignacio Senao f
Oct 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Siempre tengo muy poca expectativa con este autor, pienso que es la copia mala de King, debido a su gran número de libros, temas, época… Pero este hombretón escribe bien. Sí es cierto que sus historias son típicas, con final y desarrollo extremadamente previsible. Esto no quita que te guste y empáticas con los personajes tan bien definidos.

En este volumen encontramos el deseo de venganza de un feriante hacia su ex mujer, la que mato a su hijo debido a que ese intento matarla a ella (muy gore, aú
Jun 21, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: hated-it, horror
This book is so bad that I wish I could give it negative stars. The story we were promised sounds like it would be good:

"Years after leaving the carnival, her hated first husband, and the child she could never love, Ellen has a new life, a new husband, and two beautiful children, but now the carnival is coming back to town, and Ellen is going to have to pay for her sins."

But, Ellen is only part of the set-up of this story. Once the focus shifts to Ellen's "two beautiful children" going off to en
I need to make a new Goodreads bookshelf: Horror/Supernatural/Slasher/teen religious and sexual angst. I thought only movies achieved that level of silliness?

Cool story with a really boring ending that resolves only the immediate problem: Funhouse Monsters. I demand MORE Mr. Koontz. I already had 3 awesome endings imagined before I got there. Yours wouldn't have made my top 25. Seriously buddy? Or were you more focused on teen porn?
Of course, maybe Dean Koontz didn't write this. It does mention
Misty Battle
Aug 09, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: horror
That would be a negative star. It has never taken me so long to choke down a book in my life. It started off good and then it went downhill from there. I wish I could get those hours back I wasted reading this trash.
Sep 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
this is the first dean koontz book I've read after a lot of people recommended him to be a great author ~ I can confirm I loved this book 😊 it was gripping right from the beginning I didn't want to put the book down I am impressed and I will be reading more books by dean koontz!!
A.C. Thompson
Aug 21, 2014 rated it it was ok
I am a HUGE fan of Dean Koontz books, and I've read dozens of them, usually enjoying every page and finding myself unable to put them down. I've lost many hours of sleep because of this, since I sometimes find myself reading long into the night even when I know I'll be tired the next day.

With that being said, that was definitely not the case with Funhouse. Admittedly, the only reason I actually finished the entire book was my twisted curiosity for what would actually happen in the end, and whic
Circa Girl
Sep 09, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: didn-t-finish, horror
I adore the campy film this is a novelization of, but just 96 pages in, I'm already hating the out of left field motivations and backgrounds Koontz is tacking on to Ellen, Amy, and the Carnival barker. The overbearing, creepy religious overtones and unplanned pregnancy don't fit at all with what I recall of the film's atmosphere and themes. Also, is it necessary to have the funhouse monster be related in some way to Amy or her family to make it creepy? Isn't it better not to know too much when f ...more
Kimberly Sexton
May 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I love the carnival theme set to this book. Koontz wrote an exceptional story of the triumph of good over evil, with a twist of how too much religious good can be overbearing to a child. Kids can be rebellious and the circus is in town, which makes for a great escape for a child, or does it
Mar 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Like the 80's horror movie of the same name, cheesy and wonderful!
Nov 09, 2011 rated it it was ok
Somewhere between 2 and 2.5 stars

The Funhouse isn't exactly FUN, but it's not that boring either. I like it slightly better than Mr. Koontz's Twilight Eyes for the fact that the gore is très yummy-licious. Without a doubt, hanging-out intestine is really my thing.

But, it's mighty unfortunate that I've actually read better books demonstrating better goreXploration.

Now, let's talk about the plot, the storyline. Ellen was married to a handsome carnie named Conrad Straker, who at first seems gentle
Tina Pino
For some reason I skipped this one back in my Dean Koontz reading frenzy days, and just finally got around to reading.

On the plus side, I had fun reading this. It was, like much of early eighties horror, a fun, thrilling kind of scary, not a creepy evil kind of scary. I would give it four stars for readability if that's all I were rating it on. I need to clarify that if you are not a fan of horror to begin with, don't pick up this book thinking it will be fun. It is a horror book and filled wit
Susan Mackie Powers
Jan 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
As a teenager, Ellen Giavenetto got tired of her dismal life in the home of her kind, but meek, father and her angry, overly religious mother, and decided to run away with a handsome carney, Conrad Straker, who owned and operated the famous Funhouse. She was certain that anything would be an upgrade from the life she had with her parents, but she had no idea what she was in for when she married Conrad. Conrad turned out to be angry and prone to violence and cruelty against her. Unbeknownst to he ...more
Dec 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, horror
This was my first Dean Koontz and I thoroughly enjoyed it! It took me a while to read it and it wasn't because the book itself was slow, you know life gets in the way, stress blah, blah, blah...


What if your mother was like so religious and thought you were like the evilest and to get back at her you run away and take up with carnies? Well, Ellen runs away with a carny and marries him, did you know a carny marriage is sealed by going on the carousel? and to end it you ride it by yourself
Shelby Moreland
May 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
When Ellen was young and naive all she wanted was young love. Once she met Conrad, a carnie, Ellen knew he was the one. After talking for two weeks they got married and lived the carnie life, traveling around the country. Ellen soon found out that Conrad was no longer a charmer and started to physically abuse her. In a few weeks she was pregnant. Hoping that this child would bring happiness back into their life, the baby turned out to be not exactly human. Their love falls in and out and fails t ...more
Rosemary O'Malley
Oct 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I often hear about the cliche of creepy carnivals. When this novel first came out, it was something new. It was the late 80's when I found it in a used bookstore. I love carnivals; the creepier and sleazier, the better - and thought this was right up my alley. I'd read Bradbury's and King's versions, both of which were essentially coming-of-age stories, centered around (mostly) pre-adolsecent boys. This one was different.

It turned out to be really freaking scary.

This is actually a novelization
Gaston Sanders
Jan 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A scary ride through a terrifying psych...

He scared me to shivers. If a horror/paranormal writer can scare me to that level, take my word for it, it's downright terrorizing reading. Koontz is a master storyteller and character developer as can be seen in his leading characters. Amy was conflicted until the very end when she grew up and could tell evil from real life. The Funhouse is a hypnotic, enthralling story from beginning to end and it was difficult to put down for such mundane activities a
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  • Shadowfires
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Owen West is a pseudonym used by the author Dean Koontz.

Koontz has also published under the names Leigh Nichols, Brian Coffey, David Axton, Deanna Dwyer and Aaron Wolfe.

Note: More than one author has written under the name 'Owen West'. For books by the former Marine major, go here.