Watch the 1980 TV ad for Dean Koontz's Funhouse novelization!

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Jan 14, 2013, 2:52 PM EST

Can you believe that there was a time when even novelizations of horror movies got their own TV commercials?

It's true, and here's the proof: Check out this 30-second spot for the novelization of the 1981 movie The Funhouse. Because production on the movie took longer than expected, the book actually came out in 1980—way in advance of the film—and became a bestseller on its own. Footage from the film was used in the commercial, months before the movie would arrive in theaters.

The author of the book, Owen West, was actually horror/suspense master Dean Koontz writing under a pseudonym. Although his previous novels The Key to Midnight and Demon Seed also sold more than a million copies each (the latter helped by its own movie version), his next book, Whispers, would be the one that firmly established him as one of the genre's most popular novelists.

Novelizations are hardly a big deal these days, but back then the publisher certainly felt that The Funhouse was good enough to publicize on its own. As for the movie, directed by Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre) and starring Elizabeth Berridge (Amadeus), it was a nasty slice of fun set in a carnival with a murderous freak on the loose. Check it out sometime—or read the book, which is still in print!