Plot: What’s it about?
In Carnival of Blood, a madman stalks young women and leaves them slashed to pieces, to look for his newest selection. How does this sick bastard choose his victims? He hangs out around amusement rides and then uses the carousel to choose them for him, taking out all of the messy guesswork. Those left in his blood stained wake are young females with rather annoying personalities, but even so, they deserved to remain alive, right? Hot on the trail is up & coming lawyer Dan and his fiancee Laura, but little do they know what horrors await them, especially when the killer turns his attentions toward Laura. In Curse of the Headless Horsemen, Mark and his wild hippie friends run into some luck when he inherits a wild west tourist trap, although some folks claim that the place is haunted. Of course, the boys discard the warnings as nonsense and begin to take root in the park, but the tales of a headless man remain in their brains. In the end, not even massive amounts of narcotics can save these boys from the headless menace, but then again, couldn’t the drugs be causing the bizarre experiences?
This blood soaked double feature from Something Weird was tons of fun, with two offbeat, enjoyable pictures for the price of one. As expected, neither will pass for a cinematic masterpiece, but for fans of the genre, they’re worth a look. Carnival of Blood plays out like a Herschell Gordon Lewis wannabe, complete with entire scenes lifted from some of his pictures, but done with less skill, if you can imagine that. I’ve laughed at poor gore effects countless times, but the ones seen here are downright miserable, you’ll almost cry, they’re so bad. Whenever a bloody murder isn’t being done, the film focuses on outlandish, hilarious arguments, ones that have no real impact or depth, instead just filling up screen time. In others words, I loved this movie from start to finish, it was so bad that was good, then bad again, then back to good once more. The other half of this double feature is also hilarious, as hippies overtake a wild west theme park and do battle with a headless horseman, talk about an ambitious premise, huh? Another solid release from Something Weird, fans of previous release won’t want to miss this one, as both have the usual outrageous antics we’ve come to expect from Something Weird’s selections.
Video: How does it look?
Both of these trippy, blood soaked pictures are presented in full frame, which seems to be open matte in both cases. The image quality for both films is lower than the usual standards, even for low rent films from this time period. Curse looks the better of the two, but both have prints that look as though they’ve been beaten with a stick, literally. You’ll see frequent nicks, grain, and such, which I expected, but also more serious defects, such as consistent lines and such. Mind you, these flaws won’t keep you from the movie, but it is a problem and I wanted to mention it, since this is a review, after all. Aside from the print issues, the movies look solid and while soft, they’re more than up to the levels of similar material, so no worries.
Audio: How does it sound?
The mono tracks used here sound stable, but man, sometimes the music goes nuts on Carnival of Blood. I’m not sure if it is intentional or not, but it seems like it should be, even as disturbing as the volume changes can become. Not a lot to discuss outside of that, as vocals come through well enough and sound effects seem in proper order. You’ll hear some age related defects here and there, plus these are older, very low budget pictures, so no one should expect pristine audio treatments, if you ask me. The audio in both films is acceptable, but flawed and that’s good enough, given the material that is involved.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes two television spots, three horror themed short films (Carnival Show, The Hunchback of Massapequa Park, and Hands of Justice), some exploitation artwork, and a selection of bonus theatrical trailers.