A vengeful witch and her fiendish servant return from the grave and begin a bloody campaign to possess the body of the witch's beautiful look-alike descendant, with only the girl's brother and a handsome doctor standing in her way.
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Simpsons (1989) producer/writer Dana Gould, a longtime horror fan, addresses the film and his love for it in the supplements on the 2016 Criterion Collection DVD release. See more »
The service station garage, supposedly in Utah, has a poster on its wall advertising a sports show on TV station WIBW in Topeka, Kansas. (Whilst it's generally true that broadcast stations west of the Mississippi River have call letters beginning with "K" instead of "W," WIBW is an actual station which still carries the same call letters today.) See more »
The films opening credits fade in and out, scattered across the footage of the flowing river. See more »
There are at least three different versions to be found on video/Digital Video Disk. First is the 84 minute director's cut which includes an extended conversation in the organ factory, a scene between Mary and a gas station attendant shortly after her first seeing the man,an extension of the scene where Mary first goes to the church, an extended dream/otherworld scene, and a scene between the landlady and the doctor shortly before Mary leaves to go back home. This is the version that Herk Harvey premiered in Lawrence Kansas in 1962. The 81 minute version contains all of these scenes, except the extended scene in the organ factory, and a few short shots. This is the version that Herts-Lion released in 1962. Then there is the 75 minute version which contains none of the extended scenes or other additional scenes. See more »
After viewing this legendary flick for the first time, I have to say that the quality they achieved on a shoestring is still impressive today. Every penny spent on this little film makes its way before the viewer, which is something that can't be said of most major budget films then or now. Corman used "getting the money up on the screen" as his yardstick for his own success as low budget producer and director. But while I like the Corman cheapies, like Bucket of Blood and Little Shop of Horrors, and acknowledge that they possess a relatively high level of workman-like resourcefulness, it's hard to deny that Carnival makes many of Corman's films look slapped-out and unimaginative in comparison. Corman usually steered clear of anything poetic, dabbling with it most pointedly in the dream sequences in his first Poe adaptations. In contrast, this films makers are quoted to the effect that they were inspired by Bergman and Cocteau. Now, with such heroic ambition, Carnival could have turned out a laughable mess. But the films dark waking dream atmosphere is well realized. They had some really great locations the pavilion, the wooden bridge, the organ factory and the church with the "casting out demons" stained glass. The actress playing the heroine is lucky (or skillful) casting, too; she doesn't look or act quite like the average person, which is perfect for the story. If I picked one thing to complain about, it would be the interlude with the guy from across the hall in the rooming house, about the writing of that section and especially about the actor who played him. But I won't. There's just too much good to be said about this small masterpiece of independent film making.
Ten stars. See it.
88 of 100 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this