HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Adrift
Never a Dull Moment
McQueen
Ugly Duckling, The
Apostle
Distant Voices, Still Lives
Hereditary
Cup Fever
Peril for the Guy
3 Days in Quiberon
Club, The
Best F(r)iends: Volume 1
Pili
Suspect, The
Baxter!
Dead Night
Thoroughbreds
Ghost and the Darkness, The
Strike Commando
Molly
Full Alert
Up the Academy
Darling Lili
Tehran Taboo
Follow That Bird
I, Olga Hepnarová
Finders Keepers
Breadwinner, The
All About Steve
Bad Samaritan
   
 
Newest Articles
Tee-Hee, It's 80s Sci-Fi Horror: Night of the Comet, The Stuff and Night of the Creeps
Chance of a Ghost: The Uninvited and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
3 Simian Slashers: Phenomena, Link and Monkey Shines
When is a Jackie Chan Movie Not a Jackie Chan Movie? Armour of God and City Hunter
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 2
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 1
I-Spy Scotland: The Thirty Nine Steps and Eye of the Needle
Manor On Movies--Black Shampoo--three three three films in one
Manor On Movies--Invasion USA
Time Trap: Last Year in Marienbad and La Jetée
Gaining Three Stone: Salvador, Natural Born Killers and Savages
Right Said Bernard: Cribbins on DVD
1969: The Year Westerns Couldn't Get Past
A Network Horror Double Bill: Assault and Death Line on Blu-ray
The Edie Levy: Edie Sedgwick, Andy Warhol and Ciao! Manhattan
   
 
  Carny Roll Up, Roll UpBuy this film here.
Year: 1980
Director: Robert Kaylor
Stars: Gary Busey, Jodie Foster, Robbie Robertson, Meg Foster, Kenneth McMillan, Elisha Cook Jr, Tim Thomerson, Teddy Wilson, John Lehne, Bill McKinney, Bert Remsen, Woodrow Parfrey, Alan Braunstein, Tina Andrews, Craig Wasson, Fred Ward
Genre: Drama, Romance
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: Frankie (Gary Busey) works in a carnival, where nightly he takes the role of Bozo the Clown, whose job it is to sit on a plank in a cage above a tank of water, then taunt the punters who are encouraged to pay to throw baseballs at a target. If they hit a target, Bozo lands in the water and they have the satisfaction of seeing his insults recveive their just desserts. One such punter is Mickey (Craig Wasson) who is there with his girlfriend Donna (Jodie Foster), but he fails miserably to dunk Bozo and stomps off, though later Donna is approached by Frankie and there's a spark between them...

Seeing the period this was made in, the opening credits of Carny look as if Busey was making himself up as a clown to go and slaughter a bunch of victims in a slasher movie, what with the intense closeup, the darkness, and the creepy music courtesy of Alex North. It was more of a drama about life on the road with carnival workers, but the air of menace never quite left it, as if violence was always just about to erupt, and indeed it does, signalling these people are operating somewhere below the law with their money-making scams and know-how. That Jodie Foster wanted to be part of this world was undeniably curious considering the more sophisticated areas her career went thereafter.

It wasn't really Jodie, of course, she was playing a character, but this was the main indication that she was willing to take chances as an adult actress even if it wasn't much of a hit, which was a pity for its director Robert Kaylor, a documentarian turning his hand to fiction, for he didn't get many chances following this to make his mark otherwise. What Carny was, naturally, was a cult movie, and there were a few good reasons for that, one being that you could take your pick of the main cast for there were a clutch of cult actors to appreciate. Busey in particular was excellent as the friendly Frankie who transforms into a caustic comedian once he's in the cage; Donna decides early she wants to stay with him.

So for her, this was a tale of running away to join, not the circus but the carnival, which was a lot sleazier choice as depicted here. In truth Foster didn't quite convince as a Southern gal who feels the wanderlust, but Kaylor made this a benefit for the movie as Donna not fitting in with her surroundings goes some way to explaining why the other corner of the central love triangle resents her so much, at least for the first half of the story. That other corner was one more reason this found a following, as Robbie Robertson took his debut acting role after years in the music industry, also contributing to the script and producing; he acquitted himself very well, and should have sought other films to appear in.

He didn't, so the movie industry's loss was music's gain, but his Patch made an intriguing element of the central relationship which enabled this to end on a more optimistic note than the uneasy tone of what came before it might have indicated. Aggrieved punters who don't like to be so easily parted with their cash are one thing, but when the mobsters get involved, that violent mood seems to be about to break, and there are scenes on the brink of a riot: see where Patch tricks Donna into thinking she can join the strippers on stage to prove her worth, only to freeze in fear as things get too rowdy. Jodie's gay fans would be more interested in the scene where she scams a lesbian couple by shamelessly flirting with them, yet another move towards cult status, though not often mentioned was the resemblance between Carny and Freaks: Kaylor didn't exactly tip this over into horror, but he came very close to it, rendering the us and them, order restored ending a lot spikier (and maybe less convincing) than it might have been.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2118 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (2)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Steven Seagal
Pam Grier
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Shrimpton
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
  Patrick Keenan
Enoch Sneed
Ian Phillips
  Afra Khan
   

 

Last Updated: