(director/writer: Toby Poser, John Adams, Zelda Adams; cinematographer: ; editor: ; music: ; cast: Toby Poser (Maggie), Zelda Adams (Eve), John Adams (Seven), Lulu Adams (Axe girl), Sam Rodd (Mr. Tipps), Razor de Rockefeller (Rocky), Nathaniel Meek (Sparks); Runtime: 93; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Toby Poser; Yellow Veil Pictures/Wonder Wheel Productions; 2023)

“The dark film pleasures us with numerous decapitations.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The low-budget indie period piece B-movie is a Gothic styled diabolical tale of love, blood, and dark legacies. It follows a family of carnival side show performers during the Great Depression. It’s family acted, directed and written affair by the filmmakers residing in upstate NY, known as the Adams family. They are mom Toby Poser, dad John Adams and daughter Zelda Adams, who previously filmed together (“Hellbender”/”Halfway to Zen”). Also acting in this pic is their other daughter, the teenager Lulu.

The family has been splendidly doing their movie thing for over a decade. Their latest film, with a bigger budget, is their biggest venture yet.

It’s 1931, during the Great Depression in America, when the country is reeling financially. The performing carny family trio are at a failing carnival, where patrons have become scarce. Maggie (Toby Poser), Seven (John Adams) and their daughter Eve (Zelda Adams), do a song and dance routine that draws a crowd. The black magic magician Mr. Tipps (Sam Rodd) lures some viewers in the musical crowd to watch his act, where he carefully slices off his fingers. A trick he can do safely because he made a Faustian bargain with the Devil.

The trio are upset the carnival has been sold to a wealthy landowner, so the riled up Maggie beats him to death. The trio flee and roam the countryside, where they randomly kill in horrifying ways only rich people. But after making a deadly mistake, they return to the carnival to see Mr. Tibbs. Whereby the teenager Eve cozies up to him to steal his magical tricks.

The dark film pleasures us with numerous decapitations.

Zelda has described the gruesome movie as “a mix between Bonnie and Clyde and Frankenstein.” In any case, it’s an amazing B-film that meshes horror with a 1930s gangster story.

On its limited budget, it comes up with some amazing technical feats, as it marvelously transitions from full-color to a grainy sepia tone.

Only its awkward dialogue gave me some pause.

It played at Fantasia Film Festival.


REVIEWED ON 11/29/2023  GRADE: B