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.