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Carnival of Souls (1962) Poster

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Its original theatrical release in 1962 was a box office failure. Subsequent airings on late-night television helped it gain it a strong cult following. It's now regarded as a landmark in psychological horror.
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Herk Harvey's crew only consisted of five other people besides himself.
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Candace Hilligoss' agent refused to represent her any further after seeing this film.
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The damage to the bridge in the opening scene of the film cost Herk Harvey $38. The town of Lecompton, Kansas only required the railing of the bridge be replaced to grant permission to film there.
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According to director Herk Harvey, one reel of footage for the film was ruined during processing. He said it was a long series of shots that was supposed to take place just before Mary sees the "souls" dancing in the ballroom. In the shots the ghouls were supposed to slowly appear from behind the rotting dock pylons on the salt flats and slowly walk across the prairie to the ballroom, where they would begin to dance. Sadly, the footage was overexposed during processing and couldn't be included in the film.
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The shots of the "ghouls" rising from the Salt Lake were actually filmed in an apartment complex swimming pool near director Harvey's house in Lawrence, Kansas.
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Director Herk Harvey and writer John Clifford both waived their earnings in order to get the film made under the initially minuscule $30,000 budget.
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Portions of the movie are tinted in a manner similar to silent films. Whenever Mary is in one of her altered mental states, the picture has a faint cyan tint, while all the "real" scenes are in pure black-and-white. Later in the film, the tinted segments also have distorted sound and picture.
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According to star Candace Hilligoss, the river water she was submerged in for the film's finale was frigid. She said she had to be placed in the water for several hours to get the final shots. One of the actresses lying next to Hilligoss is trembling from the cold water.
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This was the only feature film that director/producer Herk Harvey ever worked on.
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In the late 1980s Candace Hilligoss wrote a treatment for a sequel to the film. She took it to Peter Soby Jr., who decided instead to produce a remake, Carnival of Souls (1998). Hilligoss had no part in the production.
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At the "Carnival of Souls" 1989 reunion, director Herk Harvey wore the ghoul makeup that he wore in the film for interviews.
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The bridge used in the opening of the film is called the Lecompton Bridge, named after the nearby town of Lecompton, KS. The Kaw River runs under it. The iron bridge was replaced with a concrete one in 1970.
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The film's budget was raised over the course of one weekend from local businesses in Lawrence, KS.
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Filmed in three weeks.
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Director/writer Herk Harvey thought up the idea of the film after driving past the Saltair Amusement Park while traveling through Salt Lake City.
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The film resurfaced in 1989 when it was fully restored and given a more proper release in New York.
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The Saltair amusement park that appears in the film burned down in 1967. It was rebuilt, on a smaller scale, in the 1980s. Soon after, the Great Salt Lake rose and flooded it. In 1993, the building was remodeled and reopened. It is mainly a small venue for musical acts.
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This film was shot on location in Salt Lake City, UT, and Lawrence, KS, with interior shots at the Centron Studios in Lawrence. Centron was an industrial film company, producing industrial and educational films and "social guidance" short subjects from the 1950s into the 1960s. Most of this film's technical staff, including director Herk Harvey and screenwriter John Clifford, were Centron employees.
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The original cut of the film ran 84 minutes but was cut down to 75 minutes by drive-in owners in order to accommodate more showings.
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The Salt Lake City Chamber of Commerce charged director Herk Harvey $50 for his one-week shoot at the ruined Saltair Pavilion.
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The dancers seen at the end were from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.
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The film was originally released on double-bill with The Devil's Messenger (1961), a TV pilot for a Swedish horror show.
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The supporting cast consisted of local actors from the Lawrence, KS, area, where much of the film was shot.
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When Mary goes shopping, it is at the famous Z.C.M.I. store in Salt Lake City. When she walks out of the store you can see the State Capital behind her. When she comes to and she meets the psychiatrist, she is wandering the City Hall grounds.
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Film debut of Candace Hilligoss.
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Though the film was re-released in 1989, the result as the same for the original filmmakers--they got no money for it and no new film projects resulted from it.
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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.
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The scenes in the department store were shot after the filmmakers asked the manager if it was okay to shoot there. Herk Harvey paid the saleslady in the store $25 not to notice the filming taking place there.
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The story was inspired by the Twilight Zone episode The Twilight Zone: The Hitch-Hiker (1960).
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In an article in the 15 September 1997 edition of Variety, director George A. Romero noted this film was the inspiration for Night of the Living Dead (1968).
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This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #63.
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The failure to include a copyright notice on the film's prints automatically placed the picture into the public domain in the United States.
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The backdrop is the Saltair Amusement Park outside Salt Lake City, UT.
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The only professional actor in the film was Candace Hilligoss. She was paid $2,000. She turned down a part in Violent Midnight (1963) to take the lead in this picture. She turned down an offer to appear in the remake Carnival of Souls (1998).
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When director Harvey finished the film, he went back to his original work of making industrial and training films, travelling to South America. Upon returning he asked the film's distributor Herts-Lion for his royalty check. The check bounced and the distribution company folded in 1964.
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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.
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To save time and money, Herk Harvey filmed at locations without obtaining permits.
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The car Mary drives is a 1960 Chevrolet Biscayne. The car that goes off the bridge is a 1949 Chevrolet Fleetline Special. The other car in the drag race is a 1935 Chevrolet Master DeLuxe.
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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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