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Carnival Magic (1981)

G | | Fantasy
A magician in a carnival--who actually can read minds and levitate people and objects--works with a superintelligent chimp named Alex, who can also talk. The magician and the chimp soon ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jennifer Houlton ...
Howard Segal ...
Joe Cirillo ...
Mark Weston ...
Charles Reynolds ...
Dr. Poole
Diane Kettering ...
Missy Crutchfield ...
Girl in Car (as Missy O'Shea)
Ron De Marco ...
Dr. Poole's Assistant (as Ron DeMarco)
Farzene Habib ...
Nurse Ranya
Earl Vedder ...
Gus / Clarence
Mike Allen ...
Sgt. Willis ...
Gordon Peterson Jr. ...


A magician in a carnival--who actually can read minds and levitate people and objects--works with a superintelligent chimp named Alex, who can also talk. The magician and the chimp soon become the stars of the carnival, drawing in big crowds. However, the wild-animal trainer, who has been displaced by the team as the carnival's top act, decides to kidnap Alex and sell him to a medical laboratory for experimentation, thereby getting rid of his competition. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

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User Reviews

A Film Like This Could Only Be Adamson
6 November 2010 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Carnival Magic (1981)

1/2 (out of 4)

Adamson, best known for drive-in stuff like Dracula VS. FRANKENSTEIN and BLOOD OF GHASTLY HORROR, ended his career making a couple kiddie flicks. This one was made in 1981 and LOST would follow a couple years later. Neither one was originally released to theaters and rumor has it that no one knew this film existed until police searched the director's home after his disappearance and found the film prints (before finding the director's dead body). In the film, Markov the Magician (Don Stewart) is fired from his carnival gig because the boss is under pressure from the lion keeper. Soon the boss' daughter discovers that Markov has a secret chimp who can actually speak. She convinces Marvok to tell the boss so that they can add the chimp to the act, which brings in a lot of money but soon the tiger trainer gets jealous and decides to steal the chimp. Yes, that's the story to this thing. Watching any Adamson picture can feel like an 70-year prison sentence but sometimes he would give us stuff so wild and over the top that you couldn't help but be entertained. Dracula VS. FRANKENSTEIN is the best example of this but CARNIVAL MAGIC is just a downright mystery. Who on Earth was Adamson making this for? Adults are going to be bored out of their minds and I think even kids would hate this thing. The film is certainly meant to be cute but it comes off more scary than anything else as you really can't help but feel uncomfortable with Markov and the teenage girl's friendship coming off a little weird. It also doesn't help that the chimp's voice makes him sound like a gargoyle or some type of freak with a smoker's voice who sounds like he's gasping for his last breathe. Another problem is that the screenplay is just downright bad as none of the character stories are of any interest and you can't help but feel as if the film should have ran no longer than 9-minutes at the most. Stewart seems bored out of his mind and wishing he could be somewhere else while the director's real-life wife Regina Carrol sleepwalks through things. You get the typical Adamson slowness and there are countless scenes that could have been left out as they add nothing to the film and in the end you're pretty much left with the type of film you expect from the director. There's no question that Adamson deserves his cult following because he certainly made some very unique films. Most were downright bad, a few are cult favorites and then there are others that make very little sense. CARNIVAL MAGIC is certainly the strangest film I've seen from the man and that's saying quite a bit.

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