IMDb > "Carnivàle" (2003) > Parents Guide
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Parents Guide for
"Carnivàle" (2003) More at IMDbPro »

The content of this page was created directly by users and has not been screened or verified by IMDb staff.
Since the beliefs that parents want to instill in their children can vary greatly, we ask that, instead of adding your personal opinions about what is right or wrong in a film, you use this feature to help parents make informed viewing decisions by describing the facts of relevant scenes in the title for each one of the different categories: Sex and Nudity, Violence and Gore, Profanity, Alcohol/Drugs/Smoking, and Frightening/Intense Scenes.
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Nudity: The story features, among others, a family of strippers. Heavy frontal and rear nudity throughout the series. Both male and female genitals are shown on occasion. Once scene in particular shows a woman stage dancing, who stands on her hands and spreads her legs completely open, showing her pubic region, labia, and clitoris.

Sex: a few graphic imitations of sexual intercourse. Open discussions of sexuality, including occasional sexual profanity.

Incest: a man (a priest) passionately kisses his sister in the mouth. Later in the second season, he kisses his own daugther in the mouth. (Though he is presumably unaware of her being his daughter.)

Rape: brief scenes of a woman being raped (in visions).

In one episode a man instructs his mentally ill, severely underage daughter to lift her skirts to a stranger man, which she does (not shown, obviously). He then offers her to the man as a prostitute, claiming that "she won't complain" and "she's tight". The other man refuses and he's infuriated by the idea. A particularly disturbing scene.

Occasional, moderate to extreme violence, mostly realistic.

A man gets tortured to death by his entire body being gradually covered with boiling hot tar. Graphic. 9/10 (Although later in the episode he makes a full recovery through 'supernatural' intervention.)

A man rips out another man's internal organs. Somewhat stylized and unrealistic but still gory. 8/10

The protagonist strangles a man to death to revive a woman that man has killed. He later kills another man to protect his father.

A priest beheads another man with a sickle. Not shown directly but the severed head is seen in two scenes.

A man is being buried alive. They dig him up before he dies.

It is implied that a woman has murdered her entire family and afterwards she cut out her own eyes.

A woman sets a caravan on fire in an attempt to kill her daughter and herself. The mother's remains are shown afterwards.

It is implied that a woman has set an orphanage on fire, killing children. Bodies not shown but discussed in detail afterwards.

Three snakes get killed in an episode, two of them thrown in a fire alive, the third beaten to death.

Moderate language throughout the series, including occasional, mild blasphemies.

Protagonist Ben Hawkins has the divine power to decide who lives and who dies, invested in him by God. He basically has a license to kill and to raise the dead. The story also prominently features a methodist priest with the initials J.C. who turns from God to Satan. These elements may be considered as blasphemous by some viewers.

The protagonist is shown smoking cigarettes.

Other people are shown smoking and drinking. Instances of drunkness shown. One of the characters is a heavy alcoholic.

The 'supernatural' elements may seem very bizarre and nightmarish as the rest of the show is quite realistic.

37/50 - The show is overall dark, frightening, suspenseful and intense. (Somewhat similar to Twin Peaks but with more horror, more realism and much more adult content.) Not suitable for children. High daily doses or watching at night may cause nightmares for adults as well.

Argentina:16 / Australia:MA15+ (some episodes) / Australia:M (some episodes) / Finland:K-15 (DVD rating) / Netherlands:16 / New Zealand:R13 / Portugal:M/12 (DVD rating) / Spain:18 / USA:TV-MA

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