Goodbye My Coney Island Baby

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Here’s a classic drive-in double feature. Let’s start off with Curse Of The Headless Horseman…not even Washington Irving could’ve conceived of such a frightening vision. A group of hippies are sprucing up a Wild West-themed tourist attraction…when that old square, the Headless Horseman, crashes the party and harshes everyone’s mellow. He doesn’t take any heads though…he just anoints people with blood (has the old Hessian joined PETA?) by waving his severed melon like a censer. Is it the real Horseman, putting the ghost back in ghost town? Or is someone just trying to scare everybody off the land because it’s literally sitting on a  goldmine? My theory is that the filmmakers watched too many Scooby Doo cartoons…possibly while on acid. The cinematographer was definitely  on something…

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“I’d heard that too much acid could damage your genes but I never believed it.”

Then there’s Carnival Of Blood, where someone is making like H.G. Lewis at a Coney Island funpark. (All the victims go to the gypsy fortune teller, who ends all the readings abruptly, neglecting to tell them little things like “Don’t go into the tunnel of love if you wanna keep your head.”) Along with the rides and games, the carnival is full of couples whose every conversation is an argument (you’ll be heartbroken to see them get bumped off) and endearingly weird characters such as the lady who looks like Captain Sensible’s mum…

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…and the two creepy carnies who run the bust-a-balloon stand. That’s Burt Young as the Quasimodo-like “Gimpy” with the unexplained, bullet-hole like craters in his  face. I don’t know why, but  my favorite moment in a movie full of choice oddities, is the part where Gimpy rips apart a teddy bear. What can I say? Sometimes I’m easily amused…

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