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Case Number 01998: Small Claims Court

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Carnival Of Blood / Curse Of The Headless Horseman

Something Weird Video // 1972 // 188 Minutes // Unrated
Reviewed by Judge Bill Gibron // July 5th, 2002

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All Rise...

The Charge

Finally…amusement parks for homicidal maniacs!

The Case

The most grating humans ever to discolor a Tilt-a-Whirl seat find themselves composted at the hands of a deranged psychotic at the Carnival of Blood, otherwise known as Coney Island. Investigating these shrill killings is assistant DA Dan who decides that the best way to celebrate his love with fiancée Laura is to visit a bloody homicide scene. Suspects are plenty: there's Gimpy, a deformed repugnant man freak played by Burt Young (without makeup); Tom, an effeminate scam booth barker who is fixated on Teddy Ruxpin; and, well, that's about it. Eventually, all trails lead to the games area, and its up to Dan to save Laura, less she learn the true meaning of "bust a balloon, win a baboon." Over at Uncle Calahan's Flea Infested Wild West Rodeo Corral and Six Gun Territory Style Tourist Trap, new owner Mark must make the sorry place financially solvent, or face the humiliation of losing a bunch of rotting outhouses and some sagebrush. He convinces his friends, a bunch of professional freeloaders otherwise known as hippies, to do bad improv and sing indecipherable bluegrass to draw a paying crowd. All they manage to draw are flies, the ire of Solomon (the creepy caretaker), and the Curse of the Headless Horseman. Yep, as the non-plot dictates, a guy in a long black robe and mannequin head shows up and hurls ketchup at the great unwashed, otherwise known as hippies. And naturally, people start dying. It's up to those lousy no good meddling kids to discover who is haunting the hoedown hacienda before Scooby eats all the prickly pears.

To enjoy these movies, one must first understand the premise under which they were created. It can best be summed up as follows; let's improvise all the dialogue! That's right, both films stem from the demented mind of porn director turned scorn creator John Kirkland, who believed his directing skills were strong enough to sustain the lack of narrative, character, or script. These unintentionally warped laugh fests are guaranteed to show you how absolutely and utterly annoying people can be. The non-actors, left to their own imaginations, do such a good job at being completely irritating that you'd swear they were auditioning to sell Dell products. Clarice Starling would quit the FBI and raise mutton had she been subject to the awful squealing of these hams. Every person who dies deserves to, and in as unpleasant a way as possible. Too bad John K. also believed in the maxim "make the effects as cheap as possible," because they are. And let's not forget the Indigo Girls meet Charles Manson acoustic guitar squawking that passes for a soundtrack. In the end, neither killer gets around to offing the dour flower children who do a "cops on dope" skit. Sometimes, there is no justice.

Something Weird has decided to package these films in as spectacular of surroundings as possible, since the prints are, shall we say, barely passable. There is massive grain, flaws, and green emulsion scratches running through both films, and even with the care that SWV takes with its product, these prints are in bad shape. The audio is not much better, since director Kirkland didn't worry about things like proper mixing or sound recording. However, for a movie made at the cost of a couple of Nathan's Finest, they are better than expected. Extras are again fantastic, with an added twist this time out. While we get the standard plethora of trailers, and a Horror/Exploitation Gallery, the short subjects warrant the most attention. Along with Carnival Show, a 1930s short about a day at the world's most politically incorrect fair, we have homemade horror movie shorts. While completely amateurish, they also show a great deal of inventiveness and energy, and match well with the included disasterpieces of Master Kirkland. Fans of obscure and unhinged cinema will drool over these campy pieces of fried dough. Others may feel like they just spent two hours watching diseased rodeo clowns argue. Either way, it's worth checking out.

(Note: Be Warned! All the material here is harmless, but the Easter egg is definitely X-rated. It's a trailer for a slimy little scuzzball called Carny Girl that resembles autopsy photos in its pornographic seediness.)

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 85

Perp Profile

Studio: Something Weird Video
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 188 Minutes
Release Year: 1972
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Genre:
• Horror

Distinguishing Marks

• Trailers
• Archival Short Subjects
• Gallery of Exploitation Art
• Radio Spot Rarities

Accomplices

• IMDb








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