Malatesta's Carnival of Blood

1973

Action / Horror

1
IMDb Rating 5.8 10 301

Synopsis


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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by gavin6942 7 / 10

An American Horror Project

The Norris family get jobs working at a seedy old carnival as a cover for searching for their missing son who disappeared after visiting said carnival. Eccentric manager Mr. Blood turns out to be a vampire while the evil owner Malatesta rules over a gaggle of ghastly ghouls who watch silent movies when they aren't feasting on human flesh.

Director Christopher Speeth grew up in the world of theater, and at college was trained in the tradition of the documentary. He made one film called "Sugar" following two very different diabetics, and then "Dona Nobis Pacem", an anti-Vietnam War film featuring footage of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. If he had done nothing else, this footage would have made him immortal, even if not necessarily famous.

By pure coincidence, Speeth met Richard Grosser on an airplane. Grosser had a strange background, starting out as a violin virtuoso and then getting mixed up in the development of the ENIAC and UNIVAC computers. Grosser proposed the idea of a horror film to Speeth, with his thought on the matter being quite simple: under the current rules, an investment in a film could be used as a tax shelter. The film was birthed as a write-off!

Playwright Werner Liepolt was hired to construct a script. He started with legendary cannibal Sawney Bean (also a source for "Texas Chainsaw massacre" and "Hills Have Eyes") and then incorporated circus elements. Allegedly, Speeth's house had a fortune telling machine and merry-go-round horses converted into chairs, so Liepolt assumed this was the sort of thing Speeth would like to see on screen. Liepolt was very conscious of the words he used, with "carnival" literally being a celebration of meat.

Much of the film's dreamlike narrative came about during post-production. The movie was edited again and again, which produced a non-linear quality to the picture, sometimes intentionally and sometimes not. If you like cut and dried plots, this might not be for you.

You might wonder, if this is a good film (and it is), why have I not heard of it? Well, there could be many reasons, but the biggest is simply that the film was not available. Apparently after a screening or two, it ended up in Christopher Speeth's attic, collecting dust until 2003. At that point, Windmill Films released it on DVD, but it quickly went out of print. Don't be ashamed if you never heard of Windmill Films, because no one else has either.

This film is presented on glorious blu-ray as part of Arrow Video's American Horror Project (Volume 1). Of the three films in the set, it appears to be the leanest on special features, with no audio commentary listed. But this is just an oversight, as we do have one, from Richard Harland Smith of Video Watchdog. Furthermore, we do have brand new interviews with director Christopher Speeth and writer Werner Liepolt which should provide viewers with plenty of insight. (If you're still hungry for more, track down a copy of the December 2009 issue of Video Watchdog and check out the in-depth article from Shaun Brady.)

Reviewed by robocopssadside 7 / 10

Fairly unseen flick about a family that goes to work at a carnival.

A man named Mr. Blood (who looks like Frasier, if he dressed up like Dracula) seems to be the front man. After settling in, the more carnival workers they meet, the sooner they realize the place isn't right. The movie seems to be fairly cut, there are a lot of inconsistencies in the plot. For instance, there seems to be a revenge type back story with the man of the family by the way he talks in some scenes, but there's never any concrete evidence to prove this theory.

Anyhow, when it goes dark, a whole heap of cannibals who used to be workers inhabit the carnival, and eat the flesh of people who visit. The explanation is that they eat human flesh because they were never told it was wrong, lol. Same cannibals also have great tastes in classic horror. Several scenes in a small theater show the flesh hungry crowd watching Cabinet of Dr Caligari and other films from yesteryear. There's also ghouls, a cultist/wizard named Malatesta and Hervé Villechaize from Fantasy Island. Wacky bunch of freaks, I tell ya! Most of the gut munching scenes were cut out, but you can view them in the outtakes section of the DVD. It's a shame they weren't added back in, but apparently American Zoetrope had a problem with the MPAA while remastering this lost film for DVD. A few scenes are still lost, for the time being, I believe. Either way, the cut scenes are worth watching, because it is pretty damn nasty in a few scenes. Another worthy mention of gore is a guy who smokes a joint getting beheaded while on a roller coaster. Lots of fun there, and a good creepy atmosphere.

Surprisingly no nudity. Surprising because the female lead runs around for half of the movie in her nightgown, pursued by ghouls and Malatesta. Great little trippy nighttime chase scene with her through the entire carnival, where death and carnage is discovered in all corners.

It has a great little bizarre ending too. Lots of fun to be witnessed in this incoherent, mindless Drive-In slice of cheese. Recommended for Fans of I Drink Your Blood and Carnival of Souls.

Reviewed by robocopssadside 7 / 10

A free-form amateur spook show.

A man named Mr. Blood (who looks like Frasier, if he dressed up like Dracula) seems to be the front man. After settling in, the more carnival workers they meet, the sooner they realize the place isn't right. The movie seems to be fairly cut, there are a lot of inconsistencies in the plot. For instance, there seems to be a revenge type back story with the man of the family by the way he talks in some scenes, but there's never any concrete evidence to prove this theory.

Anyhow, when it goes dark, a whole heap of cannibals who used to be workers inhabit the carnival, and eat the flesh of people who visit. The explanation is that they eat human flesh because they were never told it was wrong, lol. Same cannibals also have great tastes in classic horror. Several scenes in a small theater show the flesh hungry crowd watching Cabinet of Dr Caligari and other films from yesteryear. There's also ghouls, a cultist/wizard named Malatesta and Hervé Villechaize from Fantasy Island. Wacky bunch of freaks, I tell ya! Most of the gut munching scenes were cut out, but you can view them in the outtakes section of the DVD. It's a shame they weren't added back in, but apparently American Zoetrope had a problem with the MPAA while remastering this lost film for DVD. A few scenes are still lost, for the time being, I believe. Either way, the cut scenes are worth watching, because it is pretty damn nasty in a few scenes. Another worthy mention of gore is a guy who smokes a joint getting beheaded while on a roller coaster. Lots of fun there, and a good creepy atmosphere.

Surprisingly no nudity. Surprising because the female lead runs around for half of the movie in her nightgown, pursued by ghouls and Malatesta. Great little trippy nighttime chase scene with her through the entire carnival, where death and carnage is discovered in all corners.

It has a great little bizarre ending too. Lots of fun to be witnessed in this incoherent, mindless Drive-In slice of cheese. Recommended for Fans of I Drink Your Blood and Carnival of Souls.

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