Sunday, March 29, 2020

Malatesta's Carnival of Blood (Christopher Speeth, 1973)

Malatesta's Carnival Of Blood is one of those low-budget nightmare oddities which came about from time-to-time in that era between Night Of The Living Dead and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which changed the horror landscape forever. It is roughly in the same company as Carnival Of Souls (1962) or Messiah Of Evil (also 1973), with which it shares a distaff post-hippie vibe.Wedging itself between expressionist narrative film (paying homage to silent classics like The Phantom Of The Opera and The Hunchback Of Notre Dame) and ambient happening/freakout (tape loops and upside-down VW Bugs and mylar and 'improvised ghoul action'), this is an excellent late-night ramble. Filmed at an already run-down amusement park (Six Gun Territory, formerly Willow Grove Park, which I have learned was one of the most successful amusement parks in the United States from the Late 19th Century to roughly the 1950's, meeting its demise in 1975 to make way for the Willow Grove Park Mall in Willow Grove Pennsylvania), Malatesta's Carnival Of Blood is an offering to and an encapsulation of an unretrievable past, of older-school horrors, nocturnal vibes and a playful counterculture nearly buried by shock and anomie. --Letterboxd