Carnival of Souls 1962

Carnival of Souls

Critics Consensus

Carnival of Souls offers delightfully chilling proof that when it comes to telling an effective horror story, less can often be much, much more.

86%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 37

73%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 9,483

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Movie Info

Mary Henry (Candace Hilligoss) ends up the sole survivor of a fatal car accident through mysterious circumstances. Trying to put the incident behind her, she moves to Utah and takes a job as a church organist. But her fresh start is interrupted by visions of a fiendish man (Herk Harvey). As the visions begin to occur more frequently, Mary finds herself drawn to the deserted carnival on the outskirts of town. The strangely alluring carnival may hold the secret to her tragic past.

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Critic Reviews for Carnival of Souls

All Critics (37) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (32) | Rotten (5)

  • With boldly imaginative effects that defy the scant budget, Harvey leaps out from the company of Ed Wood and George Romero to join that of Michelangelo Antonioni as a poet of post-industrial alienation.

    October 30, 2020 | Full Review…
  • Occasionally a feature film emerges from the midwest, although this is the first ever out of Lawrence, Kans, where a group of commercial film pros veered off into a try at producing theatrical entertainment.

    September 21, 2007 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • There isn't very much here to sustain interest.

    September 21, 2007 | Full Review…
  • The mesmerising power of the carnival and dance-hall sequences far outweighs the corniness of the awkward intimate scenes.

    June 24, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Carnival of Souls works well enough as chill-up-the-spine cinema.

    January 1, 2000 | Full Review…
  • It depends on crisp black-and-white photography, atmosphere and surprisingly effective acting.

    January 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Carnival of Souls

  • May 14, 2018
    I can see how this horror movie inspired many others that came after; in any case, despite a solid beginning, there isn't much here to compensate for the fact that it is so unexciting, predictable, poorly acted, unscary and manages to be very boring with only 78 minutes.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Nov 13, 2014
    The eerie organ music and uncomfortable angels made Carnival of Souls a cult classic.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Jul 07, 2012
    "Carnival of Souls" is a laughable attempt at horror. This no-budget, poorly-executed cult classic is unsurprisingly free of suspense, and being dated has nothing to do with it. I doubt this material was scary even fifty years ago. Not only is it meandering and pointless, but the twists that it takes are silly and implausible, and for being less than 80 minutes long, it's a real chore to sit through. Just because something's old doesn't mean it's a classic. Skip this one for sure.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer
  • Jul 02, 2012
    A drive in the country past an delapidated amusement park proves to be more than simply moody and atmospheric for an young woman just starting out in life ... or is she? A heavy church organ music background proves to rattle even the strongest nerve in this justified cult classic.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer

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