Tales Point Horror Book Club – Funhouse – by Diane Hoh
#PointHorrorBookClub was created by author Juno Dawson in 2013. Juno announced in 2015 that she was no longer able to carry on so, with her blessing, I took over the reins.
So why not grab a copy and join the discussion with this months #PointHorrorBookClub
Funhouse by Diane Hoh
Are the Point Horror books we loved as a teenager still our favourites on a re-read? Have they not stood the test of time? After a hit of nostalgia? Or are you new to Point Horror and want to see what its all about?
Want to explore previous #PointHorrorBookClub posts? I’ve got you! Head to the main page here
A high schooler suspects that a tragic roller coaster crash wasn’t an accident.
If it weren’t for the Boardwalk, the small town of Santa Luisa might disappear altogether. The amusement park employs half the town’s workers, pulls in tourists, and gives teenagers like Tess Landers someplace to hang out on the weekends. Tess is eating a hot dog when the Boardwalk’s roller coaster—the Devil’s Elbow—jumps the track, hangs for a moment in the air, and then plummets to the ground. One of Tess’s classmates is dead on impact, two are forever maimed, and over twenty others are taken to the hospital. It’s the worst tragedy Santa Luisa has ever seen, but it’s only the beginning. As people rush to help, Tess spies a black-suited figure running away from the crowd. The crash was no accident. Five more teens will suffer before the killer is through, and Tess may be about to put herself on the list of victims.
Click for a Q&A with Diane Hoh!
You can die laughing.
Okay ….so…What’s It All About?
Amusement park The Boardwalk is open all year round. Its the hip place to be for all teenagers and closing it would send the teenagers stark raving mad!
Wow! It must be popular!
Well nothing bad has happened at The Boardwalk for 100 years! But there maybe some history with the infamous Funhouse. One of the most popular atractions is the Devils Elbow rollercoaster until one fateful day it became unpopular when it CAME OFF THE TRACKS!
WOAH! Did Hoh write Final Destination 3!?
You could say that! With a death on page one (Yes you heard me right…RIP Dade Lewis!) and not forgetting Shree Buchanan’s butchered face and Joey Furman’s missing left leg and not forgetting an elderly lady having being tossed into a food booth……. Tess sees a figure with a lead pipe running away from the crash scene instead of running for help!
Wow! That sound traumatic!
What follows is some of the best most hilarious character names in Point Horror, a threatening note written in purple magic marker, creepy phonecalls with endings you don’t expect (meow), someone following our main character, slashing her tyres and leaving her fake dead cats!
Is The Boardwalk a target or is someone after Tess and her friends….everyone is a suspect and Tess suspects one of them is not having fun at the Funhouse. I mean The Board wouldnt hide the fact that the accidents weren’t accidents would they?
Oh darn it’s Tess Landers……our tall and skinny protagonist with her straight mousy fair hair, little blue car and passion for walking everywhere on her own even when theres someone clearly stalking her (Someone ater you? Fear not…walk home alone through the woods you will be fine). The Boardwalk is Tess’s favourite place to be. I mean she can’t keep away from it! She just couldn’t keep her mouth shut about seeing the figure running away from the rollercoaster crash either, blabbing to her friends about what she saw…. I guess this is better than when she later chats away to a Grandfather Clock….but lets move on. Tess loves her friends, they are her support system for her anxieties and I loved that….but Tess was suspicious about all of them and rightly so! She quickly works out that there was something fishy going on with The Boardwalk and its board members. Could one of them really be after her?! Yes Tess! Have you not seen like any slasher horror films or read any Point Horror before lol
I kind of liked the deep, possibly unecessary, back story we get for Tess. Her mother dies when she was 9 years old and Tess has lived in Santa Luisa all her life and with her parents seperated she lives in a posh complex called The Shadows deep in the woods on a hill above the town with her stepmum Shelley who is only 15 years younger than her Dad and who just happens to be off on a trip to Europe. Tess’s Dad, Guy-Joe Landers Senior is still around but they have a fractious relationship, but her brother Guy-Joe Junior lives with him. And when she finally at the end of the book moves in with her Dad…..look what happens. I’m looking at you Guy-Joe!
She has only recently moved into her complex in the hills six weeks earlier….a perfectly normal house…..exclusive, overlooking a lush green valley….with lots of glass windows and no curtains….anywhere! I mean that in itself is its own Point Horror! It had a feel of When A Stranger Calls with its openess. Tess loved the view in the daytime but at night it was very isolated and lonely…..and makes Tess perfect prey for a stalker! But fear not! She borrowed a cat off Gina, called Trilby for company, (like you can just lend cats out…take your pick Tess lol)….and the poor thing nearly ended up brown bread on the light outside which by the way all the friends happened to be in the area for when she found the fake dead cat.
Tess didn’t stand any crap from anyone! She kind of said things how they were….she just had this tendancy to walk alone at night and fall into swimming pools that were under construction like something out of Polterguist (and being concerned she was using the pool without permission lol)! And in pure Point Horror style no one ever believed her!
Hats off to Tess for also having no shame and the common sense to sit on her bum over those revolving discs in the Funhouse…..totally what I would do!
Give the girl some hot dogs….they bring our The Beast in her!
Tess did have a couple of lets say questionable moments…..
Lost something on the beach in the sand? Fear not Tess can find the smallest of blue gems buried in the sand at the exact spot where she is standing…..thats a skill!
And don’t forget Tess’s top tips on when your being kidnapped and its raining outside….ask your kidnapper if you can grab a jacket so you don’t get soaked! *face palm*
The Love Interest
Ugh Sam Oliver anyone?! With his wavy curly dark hair and broad shoulders …he had potential but I didn’t like him! Not one bit!
We are first introduced to Sam with the fact that he and Tess have had some sort of falling out / off page fight which seems to have split them up which later is implied that it is something to do with Shelley (Tess’s Stepmum). What could that be about? He gets very touchy around the subject … and angry when Tess does not do as he wants. He thiks Tess is stubborn and doesnt like it when Tess doesnt get his jokes. Don’t get me wrong he’s not on vile Frank from April Fools level of vile but there is something about him I just didn’t like!
He never believed Tess! You can do better Tess!!
He wasn’t even romantic! Taking Tess on a romatic stroll….to underneath the abandoned rollercoaster!
And what was with that kiss on the beach…grabbing poor Tess and forcing himself on her…
“There is that taking you seriously” (Sam)
“What is that, some kind of therapy for people you consider nervous wrecks” (Tess)
“You;re as nervous as my old man when the stock market takes a dive” (Sam about Tess)
Only plus point was his father is a Dr (who by the way I was far more interested in on the page that we met him lol).
Okay I’m giving our villian a whole heading to himself in this one….mainly because of the clever alternating chapters we see from his persepctive of him having found a diary (instead of ski clothes lol), reading the diary, plotting out his revenge and I found myself laughing when it all keeps going slightly wrong. I mean the guy purposely poisons HIMSELF with cookies he laced HIMSELF just to throw people off the scent! And he clearly has no awareness of Health and Safety as climbing a rollercoaster with a lead pipe and slipping his hand under the tracks to use said lead pipe clearly says it all!
I present Guy-Joe Jr in all his denim cutoff glory! Tess’s brother…..or as it turns out not. He deserted Tess to live with his Father… or what we now know to be his adoptive Father. With his broad sholders, deep grey eyes and tall figure…he sounded like the perfect Point Horror boy…even with that name…. oh and his stalking tendancies!
Also can we call up all Point Horror villians and teach this guy how to do a creepy Point Horror phonecall….meow…MEOW!!! Omg…..I died laughing…I’m still not over it! I mean as if that wasnt bad enough for his street cred…. he then trys a a creepy singing phonecall of happy birthday with a sinsister twsit….too late Guy-Joe….to late…..
And that creepy poem in purple magic marker…..I mean lets give him credit for creativity!
And taking Tess to The Boardwalk Funhouse to kill her like his parents dies…..does this make up for his laughable other scares? Or did anyone else laugh when he fell through the disc hole?!
Also the ending ….. there should have been a Funhouse 2! Slaughterhouse……(if you know the end then this should make sense)
On a side note related to my sequel name Buddy in the journals….we always wondered what happened to Buddy from the Beach House! Mind blown! It even kind of fit his character! The sequel we never knew we needed!
I have to start with best friend Gina Giambone or Gina G as I liked to call her (Ohhhhh ah just a little bit) or Jam Boney as her teacher seemed to, very inappropriately call her.
With her short, dark curly hair, olive skinned face, dark brown eyes (which were her most outstanding feature) , round face and fun, cute personality I loved her! She was described as being short and round and part of a large Italian family with her Father being on the board of Directors for The Boardwalk (even guilting Gina into getting her and her friends to hang out at The Boardwalk to show people that even after a rollercosater crash its completely safe). Basically both girls and guys liked to be around her. She was obsessed with her new purple blouse and had the ability to shut off bad things and pretend they are not happening. With her dislike for mustard she was ready for something different as she fancied Doss Beecham with his black hair and rough around the edges demeanor but Doss better not tell any Robin Williams jokes around our Gina G….that would go down with her as fast as The Devils Elbow coming off the track at The Boardwalk! Too soon?
Poor Gina ends up in hospital for being a decent person and offering to fetch her friends lost keys and falling through a gap where a spinning disc has been removed (how big was that disc?!)….. but not even concussion will stop Gina nicknaming the nurse Florence Frightingale lol. Gina also made me laugh talking about poor injured Shree (face injured in rollercoaster) commenting on more than one occasion about how she was wearing the same purple blouse as her….I’m sure Sheree was not thinking the same thing. Also when they get a day off from school out of respect for dead Dade Gina suggests going to see a funny movie….I love you Gina never change!
Robert Knapp aka Beak – 18 years old and the the self proclaimed practical joker of the pack who is not a fan of the rolling tunnel in the Funhouse. Now he’s older he has perfectly proportioned features but when he was younger his nose had been very prominent on his thin bony face. Charming and funny Beak had once replaced a kettle of soup in the cafeteria with a pot of glue. Other practical jokes that happen off page included ….
Pouring thick layers of honey into every pair of track shoes worn by his team mates
Tieing two dozen aluminium cans to the back of the school bus.
And not forgetting the time he went to American history class on stilts!
His poor parents asking at the hospital, when their son had been poisoned by brownies if he was on drugs said a lot about his personallity – “We have always considered the possiblity that Robert might experiment with controlled substances. And he hasn’t been himself lately. He seems angry and rude”. I mean Trudy does call Beak a psychotic chicken…..so fairs fair lol
Donald “Doss” Beecham and insensitive clod, different and a bit of a grouch. He walks around like the world owes him with his olive skin and black hair. His Father lost all their money because of his drinking but they still own a big brick house up in the hills. And poor Mrs Beecham has to now wear expensive looking but outdated black dresses and black shoes with worn heels. Oh the horror! Other than his name giving me much amusement…he didn;t really do a lot….Gina fancied him and thats all really.
Candance our quiet, pale, thin blonde friend who never wears jeans, loves a ponytail and looks ferocious because of her heavy hand on the eyebrow pencil (hey it was the 90’s). She always looks frightened. She was Sam’s sister and kinda fancied Guy-Joe…bless the little scared rabbit. She has a passion for stuffed animals….not sure what that whole conversation was about and a dull blue muu muu – wtf?!
And last but by no means least….Trudy Slaughter in all her posh sophisticated clothes glory (those beige silk slacks and red leotard held something to be desired)! Daddy is chairman of the board of directors that run The Boardwalk and they are very socially busy. Trudy doesnt have a curfew! But does this excuse some of Trudy’s awful (but we love IT) behaviour. A popular powerful voice who thinks Tess is weird and afraid of her own shadow. who clearly doesn’t beleive Tess about anything and has now qwarms telling her too!
“If anything terrible happens to you, it’s your own fault!”
Big boned, very pretty with a love for yellow jumpsuits and fat pink velvet bows in her thick blonde hair she is known for losing her temper over low grades, practises ballet and is a keen athlete and has also had the lead in several school plays. She was all about the fashion and not compasionate at all. Gina even says to Trudy “You must have ice water in your veins”. I loved her!
She was very insistant about having her nighttime party on the beach by The Boardwalk much to Tess’s horror and that wasnt just because of the party hats. Just never offer her a Brownie….she couldn’t possibly eat one without it going straight to her hips.
Can you imagine Trudy and Joanna form The Boyfriend together?! OMG! Quick grab that fast acting rat posion for the brownies!
I also love at the end we find out that the infamous Buddy from the journals is Trudy’s dad!
Lastly shout out to the rubbish police in this town who’s catch phrase was “The matter will be investigated”! Especially Chalmers the police chief…I mean what the hell was he even doing?! He couldn’t find his own nose without a mirror! Heavy set, red faced who walked in a rolling motion and doesn’t work Sundays. The board got him elected….I smell a rat! And not forgetting the creepy cop when Tess goes to the station with her poem “You missing your boyfriend? Nah that can’t be it. Fellow’d have to be crazy to walk out on a pretty little thing like you” *passes sick bag*
Oh and a shout out to another wacky Point Horror name….Debbie Wooster …. the forgotton z list character from Funhouse!
Fashion Faux Pas
We seemed to have lots of high end , posh fashion in Funhouse. Lots of navy wool blazers, beige slacks over a red leotards, flowered skirts, and expensive pink jumpsuits belted with leather. And not forgetting the characters roughing it in their cutoffs and short sleaved sweatshirts!
And the fashion didn’t just stop at clothes… hair was also top priority with lots of hair in barrettes and pink bows.
I feel this is a fashion shoot in a Point Horror book!
It’s hard to fault Diane Hohs writing but heres some lines that made me chuckle….
“It’s worse for the parents”
I mean parents are normally absent from Point Horror so ……is it really?
“What you do? Overdose on sour balls?”
“Honestly Tess you just get weirder and weirder”
Well someone clearly gets meaner and meaner
“The smell of hot dogs brings out the beast in me”
We love you Tess
“Left her knees feeling like pudding”
MMMMMMMMM Yum Yum….not in a knee fetish kind of way though …. lets move on
“For all I know you could have been creamed by one of the falling cars”
*chokes on hotdog*
“Quit that stupid barking and go and get help. Didn’t you ever hear of Lassie”
You’re in an under construction swimming pool not a well Tess
“If he wanted someone to take care of, let him buy a puppy”
Wow Tess is hard ass! Go Tess!
“Shelley didn’t believe in curtains or drapes”
Again just my dirty mind?
“If you were almost a hundred years old don’t you think you might break down too?”
I’m only 40 and I’m there Gina!
“But the Funhouse is perfectly safe”
Says Gina who ended up in hospital…….
“Beak, you look like a psycotic chicken”
Beak grew on me as the book went on…
1! But on page one!! PAGE ONE!!! But then ……nothing!! NOTHING! Nooooooooo!
I need me some more dead Point Horror peeps!
Is it scary?
I think Funhouse really did well at honing in on some of peoples fears….rollercoaster crash, stalking, creepy Funhouse with a history of someone having hanged themself in there. So I feel teen me would have been terrified….adult me not so much but that rollercoaster crash at the beginning really really was scary!
Did the best friend do it?
How could lovely perfect Gina ever be the bad guy!
In this Point Horror we get a bad sibling…..with a dodgy name with a full on revenge plot for what he finds out about his real parents and what members of the Board did to contribute to that. So you know going after their kids including the sister you grew up with seems totally legit!
Some Mild Peril?
I would say roller coaster crashes, discs being removed from Funhouse so people can fall, under construction swimming pools for people to fall into and lots of running around in the dark classes as mild peril!
Let’s not forget flying legs and old ladies *wink*
Is it any good?
I really really enjoyed this one. I remember it so much from my teeen years that it was like going back to an old friend! I loved the setting, the premise, the whole alternative villan chapters…. love love loved!
However that ending was a bit anti climatic…just me?
Shout out to Diane Hohs love of purple shining through…..purple blouse, purple magic marker! We love you Diane!
Over to you!
As well as your thoughts here are some fun questions to ponder….
- Does poor Trilby the cat survive?
- Did Sam fancy Shelley?
- What happened to The Boardwalk after Funhouse?
- Sequel name?
- Was Buddy from Beach House in this book lol?
Also check out the brilliant @shellufocatcher etsy store – https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/shellufocatcher
I actually couldn’t find that many different Funhouse covers….I love the classic UK cover but that American Point cover is well creepy!
However look at this amazing cover recreation by @90scutiesspooky on Instagram!
Also we all remember the Funhouse Audio Book right?!
Want more Funhouse? Check out these fab Podcasts!
Or looking to buy Point Horror check out Welcome To Point Horror – I highly recommend!
Feel free to pop me a comment using the reply button at the top of the page
Want to explore previous #PointHorrorBookClub posts? I’ve got you! Head to the main page here
Thanks for joining in…..