Malatestas Carnival of Blood (1973)
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 (a flamboyantly sinister portrayal by Jerome Dempsey) turns out to be a vampire while evil owner Malatesta (an unnerving performance by Daniel Dietrich) rules over a gaggle of ghastly ghouls who watch silent movies when they aren't feasting on human flesh.
Director Christopher Sheeth, working from a quirky and inspired story by Werner Liepolt, makes excellent and effectively unsettling use of an actual rundown amusement park, does an adept job of crafting a supremely spooky'n'surreal dreamy atmosphere, relates the disjointed, yet still intriguing and idiosyncratic plot at a hypnotically deliberate pace, brings a take-no-prisoners nihilistic sensibility to the kooky proceedings, and delivers a satisfying sprinkling of grisly gore. Token breakout star Herve Villechaize contributes a stand-out turn as flaky poetry-spouting dwarf Bobo. Moreover, there's sound acting from Janine Carazo as the sweet Vena Norris, Lenny Baker as freaky transvestite fortune teller Sonja, William Preston as deranged groundskeeper Sticker, Chris Thomas as the amiable Kit, and Tom Markus as hook-handed creep Bean. The accomplished cinematography by Norman Gaines offers a wealth of stunning visuals; the shots of the ghouls watching silent movies in a dingy basement theater are especially striking. Best of all, this film radiates a truly off-kilter eerie vibe that's both distinctive and impressive in equal measure. Essential viewing for aficionados of outré underground indie fright fare. (IMDB Woodyanders)