Malatesta's Carnival of Blood Review
An experience of psychedelic horror
Movies reviewDirector Christopher Speeth’s only work of fiction is a bizarre story of a family taking a job at a carnival as a cover to find their missing son who was last seen at said carnival. And whilst that one line synopsis remains true, the film is far more of an excuse to play scene after scene of wild abandonment in a kind of dreamlike quality that surrenders any hope to true narrative structure but exists on a plane of ethereal madness. The carnival itself is a front for ghouls that live below and feast on human flesh when they are not watching silent films while the mysterious owner and manager turn out to be far more than human themselves. The hapless family are on a hiding to nothing.
Rich with social commentary, explicit gore and outright horror, Carnival was thought lost to time for many years until it suddenly turned up and can now be experienced as never before. And experience is the correct way to interpret the feature as adjectives like enjoy can’t really apply. Weirdly though the film is not unpleasant; ok the acting isn’t great, the cinematography is somewhat amateurish but the sheer gusto with which the film assaults your senses is something that modern cinema generally fails to do. There is a certain ‘student-film’ vibe running through out and the wild glee with which it portrays its locations, sets, acting choices, lighting and atmosphere is palpable. You will take away what you bring to the film; don’t expect coherence, structured narrative or any kind of actual sense, but as an experience of psychedelic horror there is nothing quite like it.
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