Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Carnival of Blood, Coney Island Carnage

As with all films which gained popularity at the drive-in, 1970's "Carnival of Blood" is flawed. Sure, some of the scenes go on too long, and the film quality is grainy, etc.  However, our feature today is better than anything Harrison Ford has done in 30 years, and the gore is quite graphic. Oh yes, an interesting note, in addition to being filmed at the amusement park in Coney Island, this is the screen debut of Burt Young ("Rocky").
Tom and Gimpy
Oh so sweet, Dan (Martin Barolsky), an assistant DA, proposes to the nubile and quite shapely Laura (Judith Resnick). At the same time, the horror begins at Coney Island. The beautiful Claire (Linda Kurtz) is decapitated on a house of horrors ride. No clues. No witnesses. Dan, a real jerk, cancels his celebration date with Laura in order to take her to Coney Island to investigate the murder...the case is assigned to him in the prosecutor's office.  Distraught at the un-romantic nature of this date, Laura wants to break off the engagement.  Enter Tom (Earle Edgerton). Tom mans a booth at Coney Island and convinces Laura to change her attitude. Actually, lots of passionate pre-marital sex with Dan also helps her attitude adjustment. Tom loves giving teddy bears out to people who win his dart game.  Interesting point however, as the body count increases, all the victims were obnoxious to him just before their demise.
Dan looks for clues
Then there is Gimpy (Young). A hunchback with a deformed face, he helps Tom run his booth.  He is very antagonistic to customers, and mentally unbalanced.  Then a beautiful young lady is gutted underneath the pier, and her entrails are pulled out.  No spoilers here, but the next murder will be even gorier.  As Laura and Dan seem to make-up, Dan continues to investigate the homicides.  Feeling neglected, Tom and Gimpy take pity on her and keep giving her teddy bears.  Uh oh, the beautiful blonde Laura seems to have drawn the attention of the maniac.
Tom consoles Laura
Will Laura ditch her un-romantic fiance in favor of a doctor?  Is our hunchback too easy of a suspect? How about Tom? Why is he so interested in comforting a babe way out of his league? The gore is intense, and the acting is just fine.  Burt Young is great and it is easy to see why he was cast in "Rocky," a few years later.  Drive-in horror fans will want to catch this grainy and raw horror/exploitation film.


  1. Carnival of Blood. The precursor to Funhouse? This seems like a movie I would have watched in high school at 3 am. Good review, Christopher.

  2. Lol I keep getting this confused with Malatesta's Carnival of Blood from 1973 (which is apparently kinda reminiscent of Messiah of Evil from the same year) & I haven't seen either yet, thanks for the reminder on this one & nice review mate & Happy Halloween!