Carnival of Souls (1962)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.


Movie Info

Mary Henry is enjoying the day by riding around in a car with two friends. When challenged to a drag, the women accept, but are forced off a bridge. It appears that all are drowned, until Mary, quite some time later, amazingly emerges from the river. After recovering, Mary accepts a job in a new town as a church organist, only to be dogged by a mysterious phantom figure that seems to reside in an old run-down pavilion. It is here that Mary must confront the personal demons of her spiritual … More

Rating: R
Genre: Horror, Mystery & Suspense, Classics, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Herk Harvey, John Clifford
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 16, 2000
Runtime:
Herts-Lion International Corp.

Cast


as Mary Henry

as The Man

as Landlady

as John Linden

as Minister

as Organ Factory Boss

as Gas Station Attendan...

as Chip, Man at Juke Bo...

as Dress Sales Lady

as Drag Racer

as Lake Zombie

as Dress Store Customer

as Carpenter in Organ F...

as Dancing Zombie

as Mary's Girlfriend

as Mary's Girlfriend

as A Walking Corpse

as Lake Zombie
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Carnival of Souls

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Critic Reviews for Carnival of Souls

All Critics (31) | Top Critics (5)

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.

Full Review… | September 21, 2007
Variety
Top Critic

There isn't very much here to sustain interest.

Full Review… | September 21, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The mesmerising power of the carnival and dance-hall sequences far outweighs the corniness of the awkward intimate scenes.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Carnival of Souls works well enough as chill-up-the-spine cinema.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

What is amazing about the film CARNIVAL OF SOULS is that the cheap budget works so much in its favor. There is little unreal to get between the actors and the viewer.

Full Review… | June 28, 2013
Mark Leeper's Reviews

There is a nightmare quality to its best scenes, but the film is essentially a great half-hour Twilight Zone padded out to feature length.

Full Review… | August 14, 2010
Cinefantastique

Audience Reviews for Carnival of Souls

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.

ApeneckFletcher
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

After a tragic car crash during a drag race, the sole survivor, a Kansas woman named Mary takes a job playing the organ at a church in Utah. On her journey ot Utah she begins experiencing ghostly visions and odd compulsions to visit an eeir abandoned carnival. Things get even weirder and more spooky from there, and her attempts to live a normal, quiet life seem all but impossible to do.

Released in the early 1960s, this is a low budget indie before that concept really became what it is today. It might a horror film with a bunch of no names and little funds, but it makes the msot of what it has, and the result is a surprisingly fun and creepy atmospheric chiller that has become quite successful in the nearly 50 years since its release.

The cinematogrpahy is surprisingly quite good, with the visuals being reminiscent of European arthouse fare as well as a bit of film noir. The acting is a bit stiff and wooden, and some of the makeup looks a bit cheesy in hindsight, but comared to a lot of stuff that came out after it did, these could have been far more terrible.

The key to this film's success is in its atmosphere, which is quite excellent, and really strengthened thanks in large part to the film's organ score which is really hypnotic, creepy, and mesmerizing. The film has a heavy Twilight Zone vibe to it, and the increasing moodiness and bizarreness of events make for a fun little horror yarn.

All in all, this is a strong effort given the circumstances, and I really liked it. I get the impression that I should love this, but even though as of now I merely just really, really enjoyed it, I think I could see myself eventually falling in love with it. If you want an entertaining and eerie film that helped set a certain standard for future similar films, then you need to give this one a watch.

cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

A film that creeps up on you and delivers. With breathtaking cinematography and direction, It's not just any regular old B-movie.

Graham Jones
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer

Carnival of Souls Quotes

– Submitted by Steve P (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Steve P (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Creep F (4 years ago)
– Submitted by Creep F (4 years ago)

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