Blu-ray Review: Carnival Magic (1983)

April 25, 2020

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Roll up! Roll up! Ye olde flea-pit dirt carnival has rolled into town and is sure to delight only the most desperate of audiences! Attendance notwithstanding this shitty show is kinda doomed anyway as the two “main attractions”, animal battering hot-head tiger trainer Kirk Wylder (Joe Cirillo) and sullen magician Markov (Don Stewart) are butting heads like some mountain goat mother fuckers.

While Kirk’s primary talent is being a world-class drunken ass, Markov the Magnificent on the other hand has the ability to mentally communicate with animals, including his hyper-intelligent, super-horny, car driving talking chimp sidekick (and ass grabbing personal trainer) Alexander the Great… for fuck’s sake… oh, and he gives some expert relationship advice on the side… naturally.

Anyway, Markov’s act is soon the total shit yo, and is attracting throngs of local-yokels who have doubtless had only such riveting entertainment as “wart counting” and “hog-tickling” as their primary sources of diversion judging by how crazy they go for Big M’s blend of lousy magic and Small A’s crummy small-talk.

Before long, Alexander goes for a fruit-crazed wild ride with a buxom babe in tow (much to the chagrin of the backwoods constables that have to reign Alex’s hairy ass in), gets his carcass ape-napped and sold to science to figure out why he can speak when his mouth is usually always closed in every scene. Carnival ensues.

Carnival Magic is truly insane. Full fuckin’ stop. Directed by exploitation legend (and victim of homicide) Al Adamson (Satan’s Sadists, Dracula vs. Frankenstein), this is a madman’s idea of a children’s film… and it’s glorious!

Where else can you get rampant alcoholism, woman battering, a talking ape, a woman with tits the size of small planets, talk of vivisection, primate horniness that ends in a kidnapping via car that seems like nothing but a prerequisite to impending rape… I mean, you may get one or two of those in any given flick for the pre-school set, but all of them… fuuuuck dude.

For all of it’s lunacy, Adamson instills a great amount of “down home” charm and heart into the proceedings, and in the end that is always what counts, at least in my not so humble opinion.

As for special features on this Severin (released under their Severin Kids label) Blu-ray release there is a big top sized selection! Kicking things off is a new (and hilarious) critical analysis of the film courtesy of writer Zack Carlson and film programmer Lars Nilsen, followed by an informative and honest audio commentary from the film’s producer Elvin Feltner. Following that we get a lengthy (and silent) series of outtakes, the film’s trailer, and a TV spot. There’s also a whole other feature included (with bonus features of it’s own).

Said feature is 1989’s (thought he film looks like it’s much, much older) Lost, which was also directed by Adamson and features Carnival Magic’s Don Stewart as Jeff Morrison; a man that drags his family, including his wife Penny (Sandra Dee) and step-daughter Buddy (Sheila Newhouse), from the “big city” out to the middle of Bumfuck, Utah to live the peaceful life.

Speaking of Buddy, she’s a fairly major pain in the ass… and she gets her own ass promptly… okay, eventually… oh so eventually… lost (along with her dog Skipper) in the harsh, scrub-brush festooned, countryside (read: desolate, Mad Max-like post-apocalyptic hell-scape) after bitching about how her real father would have bought her a horse “by now”.

Soon ol’ Buddy is B.D. in wind sound effects, cougar stock footage (not courtesy of PornHub), and excessive Jack Elam… so danger at every turn… sort of…

Containing a farmer that I am 110% certain fucks the soil on his land as if it were a sweet, sweet lady, some barn fire bullshit, a wholly un-likable child protagonist, and some impressive vistas; Lost ain’t the greatest film in the Adamson oeuvre, but by fuck iffin’ a free movie ain’t a free movie!

As for those extras mentioned up yonder, we get rushes from an unproduced Adamson opus; The Happy Hobo (think silent B-roll of carnivals and parades), and the film’s trailer.

All-in-all this release of Carnival Magic comes recommended; it’s a full-on children’s film nightmare created by folks with zero concept of what a family film should be… plus it has a talking chimp; so bonus!



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