Carnival of Souls


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.



Total Count: 35


Audience Score

User Ratings: 9,414
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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 insouciance.

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Herk Harvey
as The Man
Frances Feist
as Landlady
Sidney Berger
as John Linden
Art Ellison
as Minister
Tom McGinnis
as Organ Factory Boss
Dan Palmquist
as Gas Station Attendant
Steve Boozer
as Chip, Man at Juke Box
Pamela Ballard
as Dress Sales Lady
Larry Sneegas
as Drag Racer
Cari Conboy
as Lake Zombie
Karen Pyles
as Dress Store Customer
Forbes Caldwell
as Carpenter in Organ Factory
T.C. Adams
as Dancing Zombie
Sharon Scoville
as Mary's Girlfriend
Mary Ann Harris
as Mary's Girlfriend
Peter Schnitzler
as A Walking Corpse
Bill Sollner
as Lake Zombie
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News & Interviews for Carnival of Souls

Critic Reviews for Carnival of Souls

All Critics (35) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (30) | Rotten (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.

    Sep 21, 2007 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

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

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

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

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

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • A bold film that plays like a perfect nightmare for everyone who's used to standard structures in genre cinema. Still scary after decades. [Full review in Spanish].

    Jun 3, 2019 | Rating: 3.5/4 | 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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