Carnival of Souls Reviews

  • Nov 02, 2020

    An absolute Twilight Zone full of mystery, intrigue, and some poorly executed awkward moments of nothingness. Otherwise, the disorienting effect it has on the viewer is just right for an evening of horror.

    An absolute Twilight Zone full of mystery, intrigue, and some poorly executed awkward moments of nothingness. Otherwise, the disorienting effect it has on the viewer is just right for an evening of horror.

  • Oct 29, 2020

    A teenage drag race goes dreadfully wrong with one car being forced off a bridge and into a river. From the car a woman, Mary manages to escape and clamber ashore. However, Mary's life after that isn't the same. She seems to see ghostly figures when she seemingly disassociates herself with everyday life that is going on around her. One example takes place on a bus when she sees seemingly dead people coming for her. The film very creepily plays with space and time and does so without warning. The film is just as disconcerting and disorientating for the audience as it is for Mary. The ghostly figures she sees seem to be led by a man (in reality, the film's director Herk Harvey) who seems intent on somehow coming for Mary to take her somewhere as yet unknown. Mary is a church organist by occupation but even this is affected now with her only playing the kind of funereal pieces that in the future The Cure would be playing in 1981. Yes, they're that bleak! One priest who hears her playing stops her and deems her playing as 'Profane! Sacrilege!' Add to this a very sleazy and creepy housemate who gets off on perving on her as she gets out of the bath and won't let up.  The action builds up to an ending that actually takes place in an abandoned fairground. This all adds up to a truly great cinematic experience. There are sequences of this film that are far removed from anything I've ever seen in a motion picture before or since. The haunting photography, the use of some sequences such as a dancing scene in the carnival being sped up, the way the film takes the audience with Mary as she enters her limbo world where the dead walk and stalk her. The idea of a limbo world between life and death was also brilliantly explored later on in the classic movie Don't Look Now. Carnival of Souls went on to influence George A Romero who said that it was a huge influence on Night of the Living Dead as did David Lynch on Blue Velvet. The influence of the film can also be seen within the better parts of the Goth movement. The sequence where the undead run after Mary on the beach feels like a fantastic Goth version of something from a Fellini film. Carnival of Souls is an anomaly in cinematic terms, a one-off which is like no other. It's also a masterpiece. I'm so glad it wasn't forgotten. It was restored and released cinematically in 1989 after it's original 1962 release and is now on the Criterion collection on Blu ray alongside the best of cinema. And rightly so!

    A teenage drag race goes dreadfully wrong with one car being forced off a bridge and into a river. From the car a woman, Mary manages to escape and clamber ashore. However, Mary's life after that isn't the same. She seems to see ghostly figures when she seemingly disassociates herself with everyday life that is going on around her. One example takes place on a bus when she sees seemingly dead people coming for her. The film very creepily plays with space and time and does so without warning. The film is just as disconcerting and disorientating for the audience as it is for Mary. The ghostly figures she sees seem to be led by a man (in reality, the film's director Herk Harvey) who seems intent on somehow coming for Mary to take her somewhere as yet unknown. Mary is a church organist by occupation but even this is affected now with her only playing the kind of funereal pieces that in the future The Cure would be playing in 1981. Yes, they're that bleak! One priest who hears her playing stops her and deems her playing as 'Profane! Sacrilege!' Add to this a very sleazy and creepy housemate who gets off on perving on her as she gets out of the bath and won't let up.  The action builds up to an ending that actually takes place in an abandoned fairground. This all adds up to a truly great cinematic experience. There are sequences of this film that are far removed from anything I've ever seen in a motion picture before or since. The haunting photography, the use of some sequences such as a dancing scene in the carnival being sped up, the way the film takes the audience with Mary as she enters her limbo world where the dead walk and stalk her. The idea of a limbo world between life and death was also brilliantly explored later on in the classic movie Don't Look Now. Carnival of Souls went on to influence George A Romero who said that it was a huge influence on Night of the Living Dead as did David Lynch on Blue Velvet. The influence of the film can also be seen within the better parts of the Goth movement. The sequence where the undead run after Mary on the beach feels like a fantastic Goth version of something from a Fellini film. Carnival of Souls is an anomaly in cinematic terms, a one-off which is like no other. It's also a masterpiece. I'm so glad it wasn't forgotten. It was restored and released cinematically in 1989 after it's original 1962 release and is now on the Criterion collection on Blu ray alongside the best of cinema. And rightly so!

  • Oct 25, 2020

    Carnival of Souls is a 1962 American independent horror film produced and directed by Herk Harvey 🍿 This cult classic is so bad, it's laughable 😂

    Carnival of Souls is a 1962 American independent horror film produced and directed by Herk Harvey 🍿 This cult classic is so bad, it's laughable 😂

  • Oct 19, 2020

    With Carnival of Souls, let's get the positive out of the way. The crisp black and white cinematography sets an appropriate tone. Beyond that, there's not much else that the movie offers. The pervasive droning of organ music wears thin within the first ten minutes or so. The script is full of stilted dialogue, improbable or unnecessary scenes, and a totally incomprehensible story. The acting, from beginning to end, is wooden. The production values are less than amateurish, including brutal interior lighting where shadows bounce all over the place. Mercifully, it's only 80 minutes long, despite the fact that it feels much longer. How this B-movie got any positive reviews is baffling.

    With Carnival of Souls, let's get the positive out of the way. The crisp black and white cinematography sets an appropriate tone. Beyond that, there's not much else that the movie offers. The pervasive droning of organ music wears thin within the first ten minutes or so. The script is full of stilted dialogue, improbable or unnecessary scenes, and a totally incomprehensible story. The acting, from beginning to end, is wooden. The production values are less than amateurish, including brutal interior lighting where shadows bounce all over the place. Mercifully, it's only 80 minutes long, despite the fact that it feels much longer. How this B-movie got any positive reviews is baffling.

  • Oct 14, 2020

    An interesting plot idea wrapped in awkward acting, distracting makeup, inconsistent story telling, and shots that go on for too long. Finding out it inspired modern horror movies is not surprising, as like I said it had that little nugget of gold in the very center, the idea of it. It's too bad it's too buried in boring to excavate.

    An interesting plot idea wrapped in awkward acting, distracting makeup, inconsistent story telling, and shots that go on for too long. Finding out it inspired modern horror movies is not surprising, as like I said it had that little nugget of gold in the very center, the idea of it. It's too bad it's too buried in boring to excavate.

  • Oct 13, 2020

    Carnival Of Souls isn't a bad movie, but it's nothing special either. It's interesting but predictable. The organ music is a little over the top and annoying. The movie is worth watching, but you shouldn't expect much from it.

    Carnival Of Souls isn't a bad movie, but it's nothing special either. It's interesting but predictable. The organ music is a little over the top and annoying. The movie is worth watching, but you shouldn't expect much from it.

  • Sep 02, 2020

    This is a haunting very well done movie. I have seen it twice, and will again.

    This is a haunting very well done movie. I have seen it twice, and will again.

  • Aug 03, 2020

    No wonder you see certain horror movies you see today that creep you out so much. Carnival Of Souls did it, and it did it making it a classicly and historically. Carnival Of Souls is a very well executed movie about not knowing what's going on. Why. All that. There is the creepy soundtrack and great shots. And the performance by Candace Hilligoss is a classic one, one that is spot on. A classic creepy film that has a wonderfully creepy executed story.

    No wonder you see certain horror movies you see today that creep you out so much. Carnival Of Souls did it, and it did it making it a classicly and historically. Carnival Of Souls is a very well executed movie about not knowing what's going on. Why. All that. There is the creepy soundtrack and great shots. And the performance by Candace Hilligoss is a classic one, one that is spot on. A classic creepy film that has a wonderfully creepy executed story.

  • Jul 30, 2020

    Industrial filmmakers built a movie around eerie organ music in the early 60s. The black and white cinematography is sharply etched and lovely to look at, particularly the street scenes. A young woman survives a car crash (or did she?) into a river alone among her friends. She is a mercenary organist without mercy, playing at churches strictly for the pay. She becomes haunted by spectral souls from a long-since abandoned carnival house in Utah. Her empty soul becomes filled with ghouls. She loses the ability to hear and to be heard, a stranger in a city without pity, a commentary on the alienation of urban life. Johnny C. sez it's understandable this movie became a big influence on horror films even as it disappoints because it hasn't aged well.

    Industrial filmmakers built a movie around eerie organ music in the early 60s. The black and white cinematography is sharply etched and lovely to look at, particularly the street scenes. A young woman survives a car crash (or did she?) into a river alone among her friends. She is a mercenary organist without mercy, playing at churches strictly for the pay. She becomes haunted by spectral souls from a long-since abandoned carnival house in Utah. Her empty soul becomes filled with ghouls. She loses the ability to hear and to be heard, a stranger in a city without pity, a commentary on the alienation of urban life. Johnny C. sez it's understandable this movie became a big influence on horror films even as it disappoints because it hasn't aged well.

  • Jul 19, 2020

    It still works well all these years later.

    It still works well all these years later.