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Sunday, November 7, 2021


So, this is what you would call an impulse buy. Severin Films was selling it for three bucks. Three bucks, how can you go wrong with three bucks? Plus, Al Adamson directed it? Sure, what could go wrong?

So, Carnival Magic tells the story of a small carnival that is failing. The biggest draw would be the tiger tamer, Kirk (Joe Cirillo). An alcoholic, abusive jerk. Stoney (Mark Weston) and his daughter Ellen (Jennifer Houlton) try to keep things going, but they need a miracle.

The miracle comes in the form of their magician Markov (Don Stewart) who happens to have a friend named Alex who happens to be a talking chimpanzee. With the addition of Alex to his act soon the carnival is thriving, much to the dismay of Kirk.

To add insult to injury, Markov saves Kirk from a mauling by a tiger because he was drunk.

Now Kirk, along with an evil doctor, who wants to study Alex hatch a plot to get rid of Alex once and for all.

Carnival Magic is one of those unique films that defies description. The driving force behind the entire film is producer Elvin Feltner who produced one other feature Teenage Strangler (1964). Listening to the commentary by Feltner on the DVD he explains how he directed a few of the scenes, lent the production his girlfriend for a silly chase scene where the monkey is driving a car, and wrote the original story as well. 

When you watch it you need to realize that he spent nearly a quarter of a million dollars to make Carnival Magic. That sounds like a lot, but he used 35mm, actually paid his actors and released it when there were not a lot of kiddie flicks being made. And that's what this is; a G rated kiddie flick. 

The disc by Severin is just full of extras. There's an additional Al Adamson kid flick called LOST, with Jack Elam and Sandra Dee. A ton of outtakes for Carnival Magic, the aforementioned commentary. A TV Spot and Movie trailer and something where people I have never heard of talk about the film. Probably gonna skip that. The commentary with Feltner is required listening. There are rushes for an unproduced film called The Happy Hobo.

A lot of the quotes and reviews of the film seem a little mean spirited and I just don't see it. I had a great time watching this movie. It's like a time capsule for a more innocent time. The scenes of the carnival at night in the warm summer air filled me with a wonderful sense of nostalgia.

Carnival Magic is a great film.  

Sunday, September 19, 2021

CarousHELL The 2nd


Time is funny. If you told me it had been five years since I attended a viewing of the original CarousHELL at Cinema Wasteland I would say it felt much shorter. The first film gives us the blood soaked rampage of a unicorn from a carousel named Duke. It is such a gory, funny, sleazy film.
When director Steve Rudzinski told us he was going to make a sequel, well how could you say no to something like that?
After a successful Kickstarter, we are finally graced with the finished product.
At a brief 70 minute run time we are given the actual 'why' behind Duke and his need to just kill everyone.
Duke discovers that he has a son from his wild and crazy sex from the first film. Where Duke is a relatively motionless carousel unicorn, his son, Robbie, is realized with a well done puppet that reminded me a little of Falkor The Luck Dragon from Neverending Story.
We also discover that Duke is the result of Nazi experimentation and those responsible haver discovered a form of immortality using human blood.
Led by the despicable Ilsa (Of course, she had to be named Ilsa) they are now ready to capture Robbie to see what secrets he holds and use him as bait to recapture Duke after all these decades.
Where the first film is a literal rampage, this sequel brings the tenderness of discovering your roots and a child you never knew you had. Duke is absolutely invested in his son and will do anything to stay with him. But, Duke knows he's a monster and never tries to hide that fact from anyone.
Except for his son.
There are some great kills in this movie. I like the nod to Friday the 13th Part 5. 
The bumbling Nazis are hilarious, especially one who is constantly using different disguises, but looks exactly the same and gives way too much back story anytime he comes into contact with Duke.
The bumpers after the credits add fuel to the fires of future films and this is how you do a sequel. Make it something new and different.
Just when you think you've figured out how this should go, it takes a sharp left, invites you along for the ride and you're glad you did.
If you were foolish and didn't manage to back the Kickstarter, you can still order the film at Rudzinski's web site at;

And if you haven't seen the first one, order that one as well. You kind of need to see that first. I mean you can watch just the sequel, but the first one is not only awesome, but kind of necessary here, folks. 

Sunday, September 12, 2021

The Butcher #20: Hollywood Assassin


Before we get started; this is the only book I have read in this series. I'm more of a Nick Carter guy, but who am I to judge?
So this fella Bucher, they call him The Butcher. He used to be a top man for the syndicate but then decided he wanted out.
No one gets out of the syndicate so now he has a quarter of a million dollar price tag on his head. He also now works freelance for a secret government group called White Hat. And some government officials young daughter has been seduced by the bright lights of Hollywood.
Only problem is that one of the biggest studios has been taken over by the syndicate where they shoot high end porn.
So, Bucher needs to find her and not get killed by his former employers in the process.
Seems pretty easy, right?
This is a pretty violent and graphic book. We get a lot of gruesome descriptions of what happens when Bucher shoots someone. Gun noises also factor in quite a bit.
It was a fast enjoyable read, but there really is nothing here to make me search for other books in the series.

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Slasher Season 3: Solstice


Okay, so Season 3 is over. Apparently I will have to wait for season 4 to be completed over on Shudder before Netflix gets it. I'm fine with that. Netflix encourages binging. 
This time around we have a killer named The Druid who killed party boy Kit Jennings a year ago. This happened in the courtyard of the apartment building that is the focus of the season. It reminded me very much of the Kitty Genovese murder that Alan Moore popularized in his comic Watchmen. Hell, they even called him Kit so you knew that was what they were going for.
A year later people from the apartment building that just sat in their apartments and watched Kit get stabbed to death are getting murdered. A mobster gets his head cut off in broad daylight. A biology teacher gets dissected in her classroom. A snotty barista gets turned into a French press.
Lots of innovative killings in this season.
They make sure to throw in a few red herrings like any good slasher flick.
I have to say that the interior of the apartment building is the most hideous thing in the show. Just a trash fire of bad decorating.
With all that I got the killer right by episode two. Sure, there was a little twist I really did not see coming, but I was still right.
But, here's the thing. The Druid is on a path of vengeance, but for a different reason that becomes clearer as the season progresses. When you do that, if you stray from that path it just makes no sense.
This season did that with at least three victims who there was no reason to kill. 
Baraka Rahmani as Saadi is the best thing in the show. Saadi survived the horrors of Afghanistan as a child to come to America where it's supposed to be better. Unless, you are living in a building with a lunatic, serial killer.
Of the three seasons so far this one is probably the goriest and bloodiest. The Druid has a pretty cool look for a slasher. Better than season One's Executioner because he just looked like a Sleestak in a robe to me. Season Two's killer is nameless with more of a Pamela Voorhees vibe. The best thing Season Two had going for it was a winter slasher flick just doesn't get done. 
So, if I was to rate best to worst of the seasons, Three is the best because it just gets right into the gory, slasher vibe right away. Two would be next for the Winter thing and they managed to trick me with the killer. Pretty impressive trick. One just tries too hard and felt the most padded out of the bunch.
I would like to see them try a real time Slasher season. Three did take place in a 24 hour time frame, but with a multitude of flashbacks, it's not really real time. 
Season 4 is already on episode 5 and that means it will be on Netflix soon enough.
It is described as; 
Slasher: Flesh & Blood  follows a wealthy but dysfunctional family gathering for a reunion on a secluded island. Their old wounds and competitive rivalries flare up when the family realizes a masked killer is on the island, intent on cruelly picking them off one by one. 
That doesn't really sound like a slasher movie to me, but we shall see how it goes.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Slasher Season 2


If Season One took a large amount of cues from Halloween, this one is definitely a I Know What You Did Last Summer kind of beast. It begins and camp when a judgement against Talvinder, a decidedly creepy girl who does her best to get in with the cool kids and then it all comes back to bite her in the ass hard enough that her corpse gets shoved in a hole. 

Five years later this group of five is forced to face what they did when the campground where they buried what they did is going to be the spot for a new resort and Talvinder is resting where the tennis courts will go in.

In the dead of winter they return to the camp that has become a community of peaceniks who aren't real crazy about the new visitors.

Then the body count begins.

Summer camp always means Friday the 13th to me and there are nods to that, but this is one of those series where everyone is severely damaged. No secrets are sacred and the more people hide the worse it's going to get. There are some cool kills by snowmobile, auger drill, chainsaw and much, much more. It gets pretty gruesome early on and doesn't slow down. 

The character Glenn is played by Ty Ollson who I remember as the vampire from Supernatural. There's a cute in joke there as well.

So, this could have also used some trimming, but I get that they are just filling time to get their 8 episodes. I understand how TV works. I also give them a pat on the back because while I knew who the killer was by the second episode I couldn't have been more wrong, yet right at the same time. It was a pretty good twist.

Time for Season 3.

I'll be back with that report. 

Deathknight by Andrew J. Offutt (1990)


So, I decided to pick up this as my next read. I hadn't read any sword and sorcery in a while. To be fair, this doesn't really have a lot of sorcery going on, but there is a decent amount of sword.
Falc Risskor is a member of OMO which stands for Order Most Old. They exist to prevent mankind from advancing technologically because, well this planet has done this already that and it almost destroyed everyone and everything.
Now the OMOs are much like our own Templar Knights. Everything is very ritualistic. Even the act of getting dressed must follow a certain pattern. This is the life of the OMO.
Now, there are people killing OMOs and Falc needs to find out why.
Just the way the descriptions of everyday items and particular attention to clothing is reminiscent of Michael Moorcock. The alien world that has turned it's back on technology is interesting to read about and a fair bit of world building has gone into the book.
It would have been interesting to see where it went from there, but this was just a one shot.
I'll be back with my next read once I've finished it.
Time to pick out a new book.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

SLASHER Season One


So, a little backstory to get this moving. One of the lovely Martha's favorite shows is Merlin. Basically the time that Merlin and Arthur spent together as young men. In that we get probably my favorite character, Morgana played by Katie McGrath. So, a little internet research and I found SLASHER. Well, I love a good slasher flick and this was a series with three seasons. 

Each season is a different story arc, but I will have to see if they do have some interconnectedness lurking about.

But for now, Season 1. 

Sarah Bennett and her husband Dylan go back to her hometown of Waterbury. Just like any small town, dark and full of nasty secrets and Waterbury is no different. It seems that Sarah's parents were murdered by The Executioner, Tom Wilson. And Sarah was cut from her mother's womb. On Halloween just to make it cool.

Now she has returned to the same house because her grandmother never thought to sell it. Okay, I'll buy that.

And The Executioner has returned and is killing people using the ever popular theme of The Seven Deadly Sins. Always a crowd pleaser. Favorite kill would ne the naked woman hooked up to a paralytic IV covered in honey in the middle of a huge wheat field. Just for you city folk, those fields are just chock full of rats.

I did like the amount of practical effects used throughout the eight episodes. Sure, you can see some CGI once in a while, but mostly practical stuff and there is gore aplenty for you gore hounds out there.

All, in all this is incredibly clever. It has more red herrings than three Italian Giallo films, but I still figured out the killer around episode four. 

Here is the one thing that bothered me;

See, one of the victims has their head chopped off and put in a deep fryer in the local Burger Shack. During lunch rush one of the townspeople is eating his nuggets and comes across a breaded, deep fried ear. 

So, when the cops come they pull out the head and it just looks like a severed head. 

Here's the problem with that. I can assume that The Executioner cut off and breaded the ear. I'm fine with that. The Executioner is very fond of people finding their handiwork. But the head just looked like a head covered in greasy goo.

First, whoever wrote this doesn't understand how a deep fryer works. If we assume that The Executioner jammed it down between the heating elements so it wouldn't float, that's okay. But, when that baby got fired up for the day the stench would have been unbearable. That and the skin and hair just looked greasy. Hot oil would have made short work of all that skin and hair.

Honestly, that is really my only complaint. It was cool watching them just heap on some many weird things going on in a small town. If Twin Peaks proved anything, it's that small towns are where the real weirdness is going on.

I'll be back after I finish Season Two.


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