Saturday, May 7, 2011

#274. Carnival of Blood (1970)

Directed By: Leonard Kirtman

Starring: Earle Edgerton, Judith Resnick, Martin Berolsky

Tag line: "Terror Strikes The Carnival!"

Trivia:  This was Burt Young's film debut (he was credited as "John Harris")

When watching an ultra-low budget film like Carnival of Blood, you have to accept a few things going in, namely the absence of special effects wizardry and professional actors, a natural side effects of a severe lack of funds. One thing a film's budget cannot be blamed for, however, is bad film making; no matter how limited your resources may be, shooting and editing a movie is something you simply have to get right, and Carnival of Blood does not.

A killer is loose at the Coney island Amusement Pier, and Dan (Martin Barolsky), a wannabe detective, has decided to investigate, dragging his reluctant fiance Laura (Judith Resnick) along with him. After paying a visit to Tom (Earle Edgerton), a neighbor of theirs who operates one of the game stands on Coney island, Dan and Laura enjoy a fun-filled evening of rides and games, all the while unaware that the killer has struck again.

Carnival of Blood has absolutely nothing going for it, and even the film's "big" scenes, namely the on-screen murders, are incredibly mishandled. As an example, one need look no further than the first victim, a loud-mouthed housewife named Claire (Linda Kurtz), who spends the first 10 minutes of the movie badgering her husband Harry (William Grannel) into submission. At one point, she demands that Harry take her on the haunted ride, and it's here that the killer strikes, cutting Claire's head off. But the effect is so clumsy, and the editing of the scene so poor (multiple jump cuts only serve to confuse the situation), that it falls completely flat. None of the later killings fare any better, and what we're left with is a low-budget horror film that generates no horror whatsoever.

With zero tension, zero thrills, and a mystery that's a snap to figure out (I had the killer pegged in the film's first 10 minutes), Carnival of Blood is a movie that was dead on arrival.



Anonymous said...

this movie was already covered way back months ago on planet macobre podcast, what gives? sf gramps

Dave Becker said...

sf gramps: Thanks for stopping by, and for the comment.

As I mentioned on the last podcast, I will occasionally be going back and adding a movie to the blog that was already discussed on Planet Macabre (I'm covering 2,500 movies, so there's gonna be some crossover). However, I've reserved three days for horror films not discussed on the show: Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. On the other days of the week, I cover the genres that my other readers enjoy (drama, comedy, etc), as well as some crossover (which i also do for the many readers who don't listen to the Podcast).

Thanks again for stopping by, and for listening to Planet macabre.

Anonymous said...

that dont make sense you are affiliated with the podcast so why would you review the same movies in two different locations? sf gramps

Dusty McGowan said...

I've been thinking a lot about camp, "so bad it's good," "just plain bad," etc. What have I come up with? Not much. Other than filmmaking is really, really hard. Making a bad movie falls into that category as well.

I haven't seen this movie...but I'm sure the people made it worked hard. They still put time and effort into it...which just makes the fact that it sucks even more heartbreaking.

So in other words, you did them a favor by watching and reviewing it. At least you gave them some time!

Dave Becker said...

Thanks for the comments:

@SF Gramps: for the reasons I explained above, and because, though I am fortunate enough to be a co-host of Planet Macabre, this blog is a separate entity. It's not a Planet Macabre blog (thus the many reviews of films other than horror). To reiterate what I said above, I have many readers who have never listened to the Podcast, so this will be new for them. Bottom line: there will be crossover from time to time.

@Dusty: Yes, I absolutely agree with you on every point. I have no doubt the filmmakers behind CARNIVAL OF BLOOD set out to make a good film, and that it undoubtedly takes tremendous hard work to put a movie together. It certainly is depressing to see their hard work fail to materialize. Going into every film, I hope to enjoy it to some degree (even if it's on a "so bade it's good" level). But when I don't connect with it, I have no choice but to say so.

Thanks again for the comments. They're appreciated.

Nathalie Uy said...

We're just trying to find some color in this black and white world.
Keep on making inspiring article :)