Taking place in a backwater town in rural Kansas, a sensitive, creative young boy is being held back by an abusive older brother and a coddling ultra religious mother (one of two roles portrayed by Karen Black in the film). When the carnival comes to town, the young boy is drawn to the sexy siren (also convincingly played by Black, even if she is a bit long in the tooth to play such a role) - not knowing that his older brother has had an ongoing affair with Black going back several years whenever the carnival comes to town.
Sounds interesting so far, doesn't it? Sad to say the execution, direction, and especially the acting drag this down into a mere curiosity, so banal in parts and overly suggestive of mystical mumbo jumbo in others to be laughable.
The carnival aspects of the film give it some interest, compared to the main story of murder and mysticism, but there are so many scenes that add nothing and are so terribly acted (the boss of the carnival seems to have come right out of a high school play, complete with bad make-up), that, along with some gaping plot holes and preposterous reasonings, tempt you to continue watching simply to see how bad this can be.
Attempting to be creative, the director chose to film the Kansas parts of the story in black and white, while washing the Carnival in color. Pretty much stating the obvious; that life is bleak for the boy in Kansas, but there's a big colorful world out there (filled with inane characters who cannot act). However, this becomes tiresome as the film switches scenes back and forth - complete with some truly awful editing. The odd Lynchian elements seemed pretentious and thrown in not to advance the story or offer anything profound, but more as an attempt to make the film seem artsy (and failing).
A "B" film if ever there was one, and looking as cheap as its minimal budget... another film where you wonder how and why it was made. I also wondered how someone with good acting chops like Karen Black could have a career that never really blossomed. She tries her best here to carry the load, but it's pretty obvious that she is miles above the rest of the cast, in spite of her having to utter some truly ridiculous lines.
Jimmy wants to join the carnival and play piano for Sandra, who has also the summer before being involved with David, who is obbessed with Sandra and follows her around, when they meet up again, Sandra draws the line wants nothing to do with David, after he got her pregnant the summer before.
Frank then made Sandra get an abortion leaving her horrificly mutliated, another part of Frank's entrapment to make sure she will never leave, making her feel like his personal slave, Both Jimmy and Sandra long for the freedom from their captours.
On the 4th July holiday there is a mystery when David goes missing Heddy the town sherrif starts investigating into Davids disappearance questioning the town for clues to his whereabouts when Heddy starts to look a bit closer to home, and discovers all is not what it seems.
All in all it is an intersting movie, my only little critic is that I wished they moved some of the storyline a bit closer into the family unit a bit more, showing why they were the way they were and it dragged a little in a few places but all in all, A creative and surreal effort for Steve Balderstone, and the colours and filming is amazing.
Karen Black and Mike Patton are defintley the stand outs in this film and Patton did a great job as the evil Frank (originally to be played by acting veteran Dennis Hopper) and also did justice to the twisted David, Black was amazing as Sandra as well.
At least give it a go and watch it once
Esta buena pero no me termino de cerrar...
The story is overall told in a very interesting and appealing way. I think Balderson captivates the mystery around this case and it was absolutley LOVLEY to watch someting else than the traditional hollywood-package. The photo and the music kept me interested enough right to the end which makes it hard not to downrate this movie. From time to time this movie reallt crawled into my very core and touched me in some extreme ways , but just as amazing as theese moments were the bad ones were Truly. Terrible.
However, as the dork I am, sorry for treating this in a very fangirly way - but I really can't bring myself to dislike anything Mike Patton is involved in.
Sorry guys, better luck next time.