He’s on top of the world . . . and he’s ready to jump!
Ethan’s rivals fear him, colleague’s envy him and he is about to consummate a deal with the Mayor that will be the crowning glory of his storied career.
On this day’s journey a detour past the site of an abandoned amusement park arouses memories from Ethan’s past when he witnessed his teenage friends perish on a mystical carousel.
The meaning of his adolescent experience and its relevance to his deal with the Mayor is exposed during his morning limo ride as flash backs recalling Young Ethan and friends chased by hell hounds into a giant Ferris Wheel that eerily re-animates. The boys flee the giant wheel to climb “The Typhoon” and escape the dogs only to be chased by phantom coasters.
Ethan remembers being on the midway alone, bombarded by sights and sounds from Happyland’s past in a dreamlike collage of sensations that send him reeling from one apparition to another.
He is sickened by a ghostly Bundtist rally in the Old Pavilion and flees, staggering into a funhouse pervaded by Nazi occult. He is snared in its evil maze, lost and terrified deep within its bowels.
Young Ethan escapes the haunted “Geisthaus” to find his friends on an ancient, mystical carousel operated by a satanic figure that spins the sinister ride out of control. When it eventually stops, he discovers his friends morphed into withered old men who wander into the darkness.
A hooded man beckons Ethan to take his turn. Ethan runs for his life, barely escaping the wild dogs that had returned.
We learn that Ethan had torn down Happyland years ago, building his first condos on this unholy plot to obliterate its past. They complete their journey to the Mayor’s office, but it is a commute marked by Ethan’s uncharacteristic bizarre, but humorous behavior.
Ethan, in a tailored suit for the meeting of his life, has a football romp in the street with a former NFL quarterback they meet along the way. Ethan delivers a bible-thumping sermon to a stunned crowd waiting for a bus and further on sinks into a cynical, off-kilter rant at a pretentious coffeehouse.
In the mayor’s office, Ethan realizes his beloved project has been corrupted by the inclusion of the Anadonia brothers, mobsters he’d battled in the past. Ethan rages indignantly, igniting a melee ending with the Anadonias unconscious on the floor.
Ethan exits, takes the elevator and is trapped in a swirling, sickening free-fall consumed by eerie, ghostly carousel music wafting from a hellish amusement park.
Ethan dives into the waiting limo, which speeds off, stopping at a car dealer to buy a new Corvette convertible.
Anadonia henchmen drive-by and brawl with Ethan and Marcus, who prevail and rocket their sports car toward Vegas with Ethan driving, Marcus the passenger. They fade into the sunset.
Ethan has neutralized the Anadonias, scandalized the mayor and relinquished control of the business to his sons. Languishing in Ethan’s closet is a screenplay, complete but for the final scene. He instructs his wife to send “The Carousel” to Vegas for him to finish, having finally found an ending.