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Malatesta's Carnival of Blood (1973) - Blu-ray Review

5 beersSurrender.  Forget the common and known world.  Once you enter the wild and wacky world of Malatesta’s Carnival of Blood, life, as you know it, becomes permanently altered.  There is a dream but you are not the dreamer. 

Press play.  Ease on back.  Let the visuals guide you through the dark as carnies turn to cannibalism and lure the guests to their own demise.  You are in a faraway land of funhouse thrills and spills, but the delusion IS the reality. 

Long thought lost to the ravages of time, Malatesta’s Carnival of Blood arrives freshly 2k cleaned and focused for its rediscovery on blu-ray thanks to American Horror Project’s new venture with Arrow Video.  Thousands of instances of dirt and debris has been scrubbed from the only known 35mm print of this B-movie.  And, truthfully, the results are amazing.  Horror’s Gorefather, Herschell Gordon Lewis, would be proud.

Welcome to Six Gun Territory, a ramshackle amusement park in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania.  People are just dying to get in AND out of this horrible place.  The psychedelic highs once you cross into the carnival’s front gate are full of delirium and dread.  This is the palace of freaks and geeks.  Freaks on a leash (and on a dime) and luscious mood, mood, mood made extreme by the unexpected; the odd; the unusual. 

This is the visual feast that is Malatesta's Carnival of Blood and, once seen with your own eyes, things aren’t ever going to be the same again.  A proper restructuring is in order for those who survive this mental mindfuck of a movie.  There can be no further recourse after seeing Hervé Villechaize (Fantasy Island) deliver some of the weirdest lines in an already cracked-out flick. 

Up there with the highs of Night of the Living Dead and Carnival of SoulsMalatesta's Carnival of Blood is a rich blast of nightmarish fear as one dilapidated carnival is discovered to be a front for a cannibalistic cult, all led by Dr. Blood (Jerome Dempsey).  And the Norris family, who infiltrate the carnival in the ongoing search for their missing son, are suddenly in over their heads.  The film is a complete trip; edited to death and then once more to create a surreal quality that merely hints at a connective thread. 

Directed by Christopher Speeth, who discovered a remaining print of his movie in an attic after this $100,000 production enjoyed a couple of local screenings, and written by Werner Liepolt, who based his screenplay on the horrific legend of Sawney Bean and his clan of cave-dwelling cannibals, this film concerns itself with the some of the happiest people in the world, running the machines they love, for the crowds they want so much to … eat. 

Malatesta’s Carnival of Blood is one of the most twisted takes on vampirism to ever arise from America.  Roll up, roll up! Step right this way and ENJOY THE SHOW!


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Malatesta's Carnival of Blood (1973) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
74 mins
: Christopher Speeth
Werner Liepolt
Janine Carazo, Jerome Dempsey, Daniel Dietrich
: Horror
You'll Shriek With Horror! ... As You Watch His Victims Take a Diabolical Roller-Coaster Ride to Bloody Death
Memorable Movie Quote: "No one will come within 500 yards of this place... except me."
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
December 5, 2017
Synopsis: Arriving at a creepy, dilapidated fairground under the premise of looking for work, the Norris family are hoping to track down their missing son, who, they believe, is somewhere in the park. But it’s not long before they find themselves at the mercy of the fairground’s fiendish proprietors and the cannibalistic ghouls lurking in the caverns below.


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Malatesta's Carnival of Blood (1973) - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Arrow Video
Available on Blu-ray
- December 5, 2017
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English SDH
English: LPCM Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Arrow Video presents Malatesta's Carnival of Blood on 1080p with solid results.  The film that many thought they’d never see arrives with a glorious 2K restoration from original 35mm vault materials.  While colors don’t exactly pop, the subtleties in the black levels are palpable.  Shadows run deep and remain engaging.  Skin tones are fair and some of the blood effects – looking like a mixture of corn syrup and red paint – remain gooey and textured.  The sound is presented in the film’s original mono audio and the aspect ratio is presented in the original 1.85:1, retaining its theatrical look.



  • Thankfully, we have a strong commentary from Film Historian Richard Harland Smith to help set the record straight on this mysterious origin of this raw film.

Special Features:

Nightmare USA author Stephen Thrower provides a fine introduction to the blu-ray presentation of the movie.  Other supplemental items include an interview with director Christopher Speeth, an interview with writer Werner Liepolt, a conversation with art directors Richard Stange and Alan Johnson, a BD-ROM accessible script, and reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by The Twins of Evil.  A DVD copy is also included.

  • Stephen Thrower Introduction
  • The Secrets of Malatesta
  • Crimson Speak
  • Malatesta’s Underground
  • Outtakes
  • BD-ROM Draft Script
  • Stills Gallery


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Malatesta's Carnival of Blood (1973) - Blu-ray Review