Film Review: Carnival Magic (1981)

Release Date: 1981
Directed by: Al Adamson
Written by: Mark Weston, Bob Levine, Elvin Feltner
Music by: Martin St. Lawrence
Cast: Don Stewart, Regina Carrol

Krypton Productions, 86 Minutes


This is another one of those obscure B-movies I would have never known about had it not been featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000. I’m glad it was though.

At first, when getting into this, I thought, “Great, another one of these turkeys that even MST3K can’t save.” But as the film rolled on, it had a lot of stuff that made it interesting. Ultimately, I ended up liking it for the most part, despite it being riddled with more flaws than a zipper from a North Korean pants factory.

The film, which should be obvious from its title, follows a bunch of carnies around. The carnival is struggling and the tiger trainer has some weird beef with the magician Markov. Markov is some psychic mystic dude with powers he got from a faraway land. He also has a pet monkey named Alex. Alex talks and is psychic and can operate motor vehicles and all sorts of stuff. The tiger guy had the biggest attraction in the carnival but now the magician is all the rage. So their rivalry intensifies. Eventually, tiger guy sells his tigers and quits but he kidnaps the monkey to have him sliced up by a crooked surgeon. It ends up being a race against time as the carnies storm the mansion where the evil doctor is going to cut up Alex the talking monkey.

Now if that plot doesn’t get you excited, I don’t know what plot will. I mean, mad props to the mind that came up with this thing. Plus, Markov looks like a classy hobo convinced he is Doctor Strange. But all in all, this is a story abut saving an awesome monkey from an evil mad doctor and drunk woman-beating tiger man.

Is this well directed? No! Is this well acted? No! Is it at least well shot? No! How about that cinematography? Shit!

But Alex the monkey is my homeboy and I’ll be damned if some jerkola drunkard tiger douche and hasbeen Third Reich doctor are going to chop up my buddy!

Carnival Magic is far from being a good movie. But there is something about it that just resonates. And Alex the monkey is my homeboy!

Rating: 4/10