7.2/10
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315 user 196 critic

Carnival of Souls (1962)

After a traumatic accident, a woman becomes drawn to a mysterious abandoned carnival.

Director:

Herk Harvey

Writer:

John Clifford (written)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Candace Hilligoss ... Mary Henry
Frances Feist Frances Feist ... Mrs. Thomas - Landlady
Sidney Berger Sidney Berger ... John Linden
Art Ellison ... Minister
Stan Levitt Stan Levitt ... Dr. Samuels
Tom McGinnis Tom McGinnis ... Organ Factory Boss
Forbes Caldwell Forbes Caldwell ... Carpenter in Organ Factory
Dan Palmquist Dan Palmquist ... Gas Station Attendant
Bill de Jarnette Bill de Jarnette ... Mechanic (as Bill De Jarnette)
Steve Boozer Steve Boozer ... Chip - Man at Juke Box
Pamela Ballard Pamela Ballard ... Dress Saleslady
Larry Sneegas Larry Sneegas ... Drag Racer
Cari Conboy Cari Conboy ... Lake Zombie
Karen Pyles Karen Pyles ... Dress Store Customer
T.C. Adams T.C. Adams ... Dancing Zombie
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Storyline

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 of 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. Written by Rick Gregory <rag.apa@email.apa.org>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

She Was A Stranger Among The Living. See more »

Genres:

Horror | Mystery

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 November 1962 (Finland) See more »

Also Known As:

Corridors of Evil See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$30,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Harcourt Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (green tinted)| Black and White

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sidney Berger, who plays John Linden, has a role in this film's remake - Carnival of Souls (1998) - as a policeman. He was also a drama teacher at the University of Kansas and later, the University of Houston. See more »

Goofs

Mary Henry's hair is dry and blows in the breeze right after she has supposedly climbed out of the water. See more »

Quotes

Mary Henry: [yelling into the void] WHY CAN'T ANYBODY HEAR ME?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The films opening credits fade in and out, scattered across the footage of the flowing river. See more »

Alternate Versions

In 2004, Legend Films presented a digitally remastered high definition version of the film that was colorized. This DVD release also features audio commentary by comic Michael J. Nelson. The audio commentary is available on both versions of the film. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Come to Stay (2015) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
We open with a car crash...
21 May 2008 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

Mary and her two friends leave the road and fly off a bridge during a friendly dragster race. She is the only survivor and after her recovery she takes up a job as the church organist in a new town, but she is constantly blighted by a ghostly like visitor and periods of time when nobody seems to know she exists.

A hinted spoiler follows.

Carnival Of Souls has thankfully found a whole new audience in the new millennium, the advent of cheap triple pack DVDs and a lush Criterion release have brought it firmly to the attention of Horror/Ghost fans who were not aware that the film even existed. That said, there is no doubting that many big name directors were fully aware of it, tho, for Carnival Of Souls has influenced such luminary genre masters from Romero to Carpenter, and from Hooper to Shyamalan, be it the low budget DIY ethic, or its now genre staple twist ending, it's a film (along with it's director Herk Harvey) that is referenced as much as it is copied.

The tag often used for the film is that it's an elongated Twilight Zone episode, and sure enough I think that is a perfect fit. Its whole structure feels like a part of that wonderful and amazing Rod Serling show, and for sure this story owes a doff of the cap to An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge (an Ambrose Bierce short that was reworked and used on Serling's show), but to merely suggest a retread of a previously used idea would be very unfair. Carnival Of Souls is full of eerie sequences that are dream like in quality yet goose pimply in effect. Scored at frequent intervals by a jangling organ shrill, the ghostly phantoms that plague poor Mary actually bring a shiver to the spine; while a surrealistic dance of the carnival is a stunning eerie highlight. It's a wonderfully brought together story that has one pondering uneasily from the get go, managing to jolt your senses adroitly with a very special ending.

With a small budget of only $30,000 and a cast of friends, Herk Harvey crafted one of the best independent horror sub-genre films ever made. Don't believe me? Then go ask Romero, Raimi or Hooper. 8/10


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