Carnival of Souls

( 3 )

Overview

A drag race turns to tragedy when one car, with three young women inside, topples over a bridge and into the muddy river below. The authorities drag the river, but the search is fruitless and the girls are presumed dead until a single survivor stumbles out of the water with no recollection of how she escaped. Mary Henry (Candace Hilligoss) decides to forget her strange experience and carry on with her plan to move to Utah to accept a job as a church organist. She rejects the notion that because her profession ...
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Overview

A drag race turns to tragedy when one car, with three young women inside, topples over a bridge and into the muddy river below. The authorities drag the river, but the search is fruitless and the girls are presumed dead until a single survivor stumbles out of the water with no recollection of how she escaped. Mary Henry (Candace Hilligoss) decides to forget her strange experience and carry on with her plan to move to Utah to accept a job as a church organist. She rejects the notion that because her profession leads her to work in the church, she is obligated to worship as part of the congregation, and this cold approach to her work unnerves many around her. While driving to the new city, she experiences weird visions of a ghoulish man who stares at her through the windshield, and passes an abandonded carnival on a desolate stretch of highway outside of town to which she feels strangely drawn. Mary tries to live her life in private, ignoring invitations to worship by the minister of her church and the leering propositions of a neighbor in her rooming house. Soon the ghostly apparition from the highway is appearing more often, and she experiences eerie spells in which she becomes invisible to people on the street. A doctor tries to help, but he too is rejected, and eventually Mary realizes that the deserted carnival holds the secret to her destiny.
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
A simple, low-budget ghost story made without stars or elaborate special effects, Carnival of Souls opened in 1962 to a generally dismissive public -- but with the passing years, Herk Harvey's hypnotic little chiller has acquired a cult following and been acknowledged as a minor masterpiece of fantastic cinema. It begins with the apparent drowning of Mary Henry (Candace Hilligoss), who subsequently drives to Utah to take a job as a church organist in a small town. She suffers hallucinations of a cadaverous-looking man (played by Harvey) and, feeling alone and alienated, wanders into a shabby amusement park where she encounters the tormentor she thinks she's only imagined. Harvey doesn't attempt to cram his story with action and incident; instead he creates an eerie, dream-like atmosphere and lets the narrative unfold at a tempered pace. As is the case with the best horror films, Carnival of Souls has become a monument in its own right, spawning many imitators and a remake in 1998. Four decades after its release, this stark movie is as horrifying as ever.
All Movie Guide - Mark Deming
In the 1960s, there were dozens of regional filmmakers cranking out low-budget horror and sci-fi pictures, but while most of them were hoping to become the next Roger Corman or William Castle, Herk Harvey obviously had something more grand in mind. Kansas-based Harvey fancied himself an artist, and if his only feature, Carnival of Souls, is more than a bit pretentious, it's also strong and stylish enough to support his ambitions -- Carnival of Souls has a look and feel decidedly different than that of any horror movie of its time. Concerning itself with a woman caught in a spiritual netherworld between life and death, Carnival of Souls has a cool, slightly forbidding tone and a desolate beauty in its visual style that stands apart from most B-horror pics of the period (or A-horror pics, for that matter), and the icy emotional remove of leading lady Candace Hilligoss suggests a character out of Ingmar Bergman rather than the usual screaming damsel being chased by monsters who graced drive-in screens of the period. Harvey's years in industrial filmmaking certainly served him well while making Carnival of Souls, which looks surprisingly glossy and distinctive given its shoestring budget, and if some of the material seems just a shade overdone, more than enough of it hits the target (especially the slightly surreal dance of the ghouls, and Hilligoss' panicky final reel) to make one wish Harvey had been able to make a few more features before retreating back to movies about proper classroom etiquette. Carnival of Souls is that rare cult movie that truly deserves its reputation; while the film is available on home video from a number of sources thanks to its public domain status, the double-disc Criterion Collection DVD is certainly the best way to go, offering a pristine transfer that makes the most of the film's excellent camera work, and plenty of bonus features which tell you everything you might want to know about the making of Carnival of Souls, its locations, and the career of Herk Harvey.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/16/2009
  • UPC: 844503001382
  • Original Release: 1962
  • Rating:

  • Source: Legend Films
  • Presentation: Full Frame
  • Time: 1:18:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Candace Hilligoss Mary Henry
Frances Feist Landlady
Sidney Berger John Linden
Art Ellison Minister
Herk Harvey The Man
Tom McGinniss
Ted Adams
Pamela Ballard
Steve Boozer
Cari Conboy
Bill de Jarnette
Stan Levitt Doctor
Dan Palmquist
Lamy Sneegas
Technical Credits
Herk Harvey Director, Producer
John Clifford Screenwriter
Bill de Jarnette Editor
Gene Moore Score Composer
Dan Palmquist Editor
Maurice Prather Cinematographer
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Menu

Disc #1 -- RiffTrax: Carnival of Souls
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Retitled Version

    Don't buy this version if you want the *real* movie in its entirety. This version is the one they retitled ''Corridors of Evil'', hoping to increase interest after its release in 1962. It's still the same movie, but the badly done replacement title card might upset movie buffs. And what title could ever beat ''Carnival of Souls''?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews