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Malatesta's Carnival of Blood (1973)

Not Rated | | Horror | 1973 (USA)
The Norris family get jobs working at a seedy old carnival as a cover for searching for their missing son who disappeared after visiting said carnival. Eccentric manager Mr. Blood turns out... See full summary »


Christopher Speeth


Werner Liepolt (story)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Janine Carazo ... Vena
Jerome Dempsey ... Blood
Daniel Dietrich Daniel Dietrich ... Malatesta
Lenny Baker ... Sonja
Hervé Villechaize ... Bobo (as Herve Villechaize)
William Preston ... Sticker
Paul Hostetler Paul Hostetler ... Mr Norris
Betsy Henn Betsy Henn ... Mrs Norris
Chris Thomas Chris Thomas ... Kit
Paul Townsend Paul Townsend ... Johnny
Tom Markus ... Bean
Sebastian Stuart Sebastian Stuart ... Lucky
James Lambert James Lambert ... Winston
Rebecca Stuart Rebecca Stuart ... Leading Ghoul
Jim McCrane Jim McCrane ... Mr Davis


The Norris family get jobs working at a seedy old carnival as a cover for searching for their missing son who disappeared after visiting said carnival. Eccentric manager Mr. Blood turns out to be a vampire while the evil owner Malatesta rules over a gaggle of ghastly ghouls who watch silent movies when they aren't feasting on human flesh. Written by Woodyanders

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


You'll Shriek With Horror! ... As You Watch His Victims Take a Diabolical Roller-Coaster Ride to Bloody Death See more »




Not Rated | See all certifications »


Official Sites:

Official site | Official site





Release Date:

1973 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, USA

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Speeth's brother, who worked on the film's sound effects, was responsible for figuring out how to tell the difference between an earthquake and as n underground nuclear explosion. He included deep bass tones in the film to unsettle the audience on a physiological level See more »


Featured in Malatesta's Underground (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

Innovative, unsettling, imperfect
6 July 2017 | by eddie-177See all my reviews

The horror films I enjoy usually fall into one of two categories: excellently made, or not well-made but still enjoyable in a trashy or kitschy way. This is a rare example that straddles the line between the two.

The film was obviously made with very little budget and by people with only minimal experience in film. But the cast and crew still had experience in the art world. They had good ideas. They knew how much a movie could be driven by its aesthetics.

To start with the negatives: the pacing is off, the acting is sometimes amateurish, and while the dialogue is okay, the script is hard to follow. You don't walk away understanding much regarding character motivation, or how action A led to consequence B.

But those are secondary concerns if a film is pleasurable overall, which this one is. The framing and lighting are disquieting throughout, with some dream-like scenes producing eerie effects that I've never quite seen before. Certain images--such as a closeup to a distorted view of the main girl's head wrapped in plastic, or a tracking shot of a bleeding man being slung across a ceiling in some kind of otherwise purposeless contraption--will haunt the view regardless of whether or not she could follow the plot.

The film's strongest aspect is probably its sound effects and minimalist score, which a blu-ray extra explains were made by a duo consisting of the director's older brother and a man who had been a military audiologist (seriously). The "weaponized" sound effects overcame technical limitations to produce a simulacra of bass-heavy "fear notes," the likes of which were copied and stolen by hundreds of horror pictures.

Overall, I'd consider this an important film if it were more well-known. I'm not exactly a horror buff, but I'm somewhat knowledgeable and I'd never heard of it until it was released on Blu Ray by Arrow Films (it's not even mentioned in the Psychotronic Video Guide). But its effects upon trash and horror cinema are palpable, and it's plenty enjoyable for anyone who has a moderate interest in such films.

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