Set along the backroads of Texas towns, Texas Trip: A Carnival of Ghosts, is a documentary about a group of misfits that identify with Joe Bob Briggs’ drive-in mutant oath as outcasts who “are not like other people.” While this film has actually very little to do with drive-ins, the spirit of the mutant oath is prevalent as Attic Ted and friends travel around Texas exhibiting their performance art of masks and sounds.
Texas Trip: A Carnival of Ghosts is Maxime Lachaud’s and Steve Balestreri’s directorial debut. The film is experimental, unique, and contemporary yet somehow reminiscent of the nihilistic oddball aesthetic of the 90’s. The subjects Attic Ted, Mother Fakhir, and Virginia Black perform with crude instruments in strange desolate settings, while they discuss the value of their art and individuality and their place on the outskirts of society.
The film begins with a montage of film scenes and images of defunct drive-ins. This goes on for roughly 14 minutes. This works to set the tone of the film, creating a haunting tension while simultaneously baffling audiences. The rest of the film is somber and strange in setting, capturing the desolation and vastness of rural Texas while featuring these surreal musical performances. There are sections in the film where it’s just experimenting with sounds to see what music is created. While this is pivotal in the creation of such art, it may be a bit much for casual observer on this Texas trip.
Lauchaud and Balestreri incorporate some great footage and poetic shots. One scene in particular engages the eye as the camera follows Attic Ted down a street and black birds soar in and out of the shot, heightening Ted’s narration. As niche as this film may be, the directing will dazzle any filmmaker as the scenes are uniquely beautiful.
Texas Trip: A Carnival of Ghosts paints a picture of the modern Southern Gothic, examining the individual and the nature of their setting. Texas Trip: A Carnival always of Ghosts playing at the Fantasia Film Festival.