222 – Fantastic Journey – Funhouse

Everyone loves a carnival, right?!

Our weary travelers arrived at a carnival for an episode of fun, fun, fun.  I mean, nothing could go wrong at a funhouse, right?

Ben and Eugene discuss Funhouse.

4 thoughts on “222 – Fantastic Journey – Funhouse”

  1. At long last … we come to “Funhouse”.

    Funhouse: I spent the first half in head-scratching bewilderment and – from the moment Appollonius reveals his true visage – in open-mouthed astonishment. I became Lost In Space Robot intoning “Does Not Compute!” over and over. I have no idea how this ever made it to television.

    How did Appollonius come by a carnival? I thought it a psychic projection – that Appollonius had pulled the image out of Scott’s mind and mentally depicted the fairground. This idea collapsed with Fred going into the ventilation duct … why would a psychic projection have ventilation ducts? Why would psychic guns run out of bullets?

    I concluded that (somehow) an actual carnival, on a ship, crossing the Bermuda Triangle, had been sucked into a vortex … and then assembled itself. Baffling.

    It’s a pity that they didn’t achieve the creepy vibe of an incorporeal carnival – a dream you can’t escape. Instead, everything is flat and prosaic. The only nods to unreality were decor and camera angles borrowed from a Batman’66 villain’s lair.

    There was one moment of “They can’t escape!”, when the travellers walked past the same dangling rubber chicken six times.

    The dog-people makeup – it’s as though the Makeup Department was on strike and the director’s 10 year old nephew was put on the job. Appollonius’ horrific appearance is the central conceit of the episode. It’s sub-amateur execution leaves the story a farce. Any gravitas and menace Appollonius possessed vanished in the Big Reveal.

    I had the same “DC Fontana was attached to this?” moment you did. I’ve always associated her with the best of Trek, now … I am deeply confused.

    Nice to see Varian remember that he can “sense” things, although “vague uneasiness” isn’t much of a superpower. Also, Liana remembered that she can do that Vulcan Forehead Pinch thing.

    Liana. What was going on with Liana? I actually watched this episode twice (TWICE!) because I was convinced that Katie Saylor had been replaced with a lookalike. It really was Katie, but her hair and makeup were completely different. Her face seemed puffier (perhaps due to her hair not being tightly tied back?). Even her voice and patterns of speech seemed different. Whoever she was portraying, it was no longer the daughter of an Atlantean father and an extraterrestrial mother.

    Casting for Appollonius was good. I could buy him as ancient and powerful magician. If given something to do, Mel Ferrer could have made something of this episode. As for the 2nd and 3rd bananas, why were they even there? Perhaps they do maintenance on the rides.

    If we assume that Appollonius has been there for a long time – perhaps since the first Century AD – why hasn’t his plot worked before? Are travellers extremely rare? Did he require an exact match? Did previous travellers also have a man from the future with Awesome Powers to save them?

    Nothing makes sense. Everything collapses the moment you cease being a completely receptive sponge-on-a-couch and think about it.

    Funhouse is part of that Bonkers Pantheon of 70’s SciFi I contemplate whenever I think there’s nothing on TV. LOOK WHAT I GREW UP ON!

    1. It’s no doubt that we are rapidly plummeting to the end of this series. Ben and I have decided to do the final two episodes back-to-back just to get this one over with!

      I watched the last episode earlier in the week and I genuinely cannot remember anything about it, even the name. I hope I took good notes!

      You’re a real trooper for having watched this one twice! How did you survive the horrid “music” that accompanied the dogface boy makeup?

      So now that we come to the end, what of that pantheon of scifi should we look at next? Logan’s Run? Planet of the Apes? Beyond Westworld? Quark? Automan? Manimal? Maybe those last few episodes of Man From Atlantis?

      Listeners, what do you think?

  2. Fantastic Journey: putting it out of its misery is a kindness. God bless you sir. As for “What Next?”:

    Logan’s Run – I haven’t seen this since it first aired, but my memory is of “Beyond Fantastic Journey” and no semi-naked Jenny Agutter.

    Planet of the Apes – I rewatched this a couple of years ago. It was a hard slog. There is much to mock – especially the hang glider. Is there an unaired episode where they also invent CB-radio?

    Beyond Westworld – I’ve only seen 15 minutes of this, but its reputation is so diabolical that it could be interesting. Beware! Going down this path leads to Supertrain.

    Quark – Not seen since it first aired. Will I appreciate the jokes more, now that I’m older? (I’m serious!)

    I have three suggestions (but no expectations):

    1) 1990
    A 1977 Edward Woodward series set in an Orwellian Britain. It’s almost unknown now, but has resurfaced on YouTube. It takes a couple of episodes to find its feet, but continues strongly from there.

    2) Kolchak – The Night Stalker
    Trashy, but well worth watching, if just for the fights between Kolchak and his editor where the veins in Vincenzo’s temples visibly throb. The nostalgia is strong with this one. I’m still wired from the “sewing zombie lips” scene.

    3) Return to the Planet of the Apes
    Yes – the cartoon! It has an arc. It’s well thought out and does something with the idea of astronauts lost in time. It remembers that the movies had psychic mutants! Why did the regular series not have mutants?!? 40 years later and I’m still angry about that.

    It depends on how far you’re willing to stretch the definition of “SciFi and Fantasy”. 1990 is political thriller with SciFi trappings. Is Kolchak less SciFi than Ultraviolet? RthPofA must be SciFi, it has spaceships and mutants.

    I’m sure that whatever you choose, there will be insight and marvellous snarking to be had.

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