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Carnival of Souls


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Product Details

  • Actors: Candace Hilligoss, Frances Feist, Sidney Berger, Art Ellison, Stan Levitt
  • Directors: Herk Harvey
  • Writers: Herk Harvey, John Clifford
  • Producers: Herk Harvey
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, DVD-Video, Special Edition, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Criterion
  • Release Date: Oct. 1 2002
  • Run Time: 78 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 1559409002
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #26,778 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

Product Description

Herk Harvey's macabre masterpiece gained a cult following through late night television and has been bootlegged for years. Made by industrial filmmakers on a modest budget, Carnival of Souls was intended to have the "look of a Bergman" and "feel of a Cocteau," and succeeds with its strikingly used locations and spooky organ score. Mary Henry (Candace Hilligoss) survives a drag race in a rural Kansas town, then takes a job as a church organist in Salt Lake City. En route, she becomes haunted by a bizarre apparition that compels her to an abandoned lakeside pavilion. Criterion is proud to present the ultimate special edition of this eerily effective B-movie classic that continues to inspire filmmakers today.

Amazon.ca

An ultra-cheap B-horror movie, filmed in Lawrence, Kansas, in 1962, with a really creepy Twilight Zone-style premise and some great shoestring atmosphere. Wandering into a small town after an auto accident, to begin her new job as a church organist, young Mary Henry (Candace Hilligoss) begins to pick up strange vibes: none of the normal people in town seem to be able to see her, and she keeps being accosted by freakish pasty-faced types who seem to be dead on their feet. The nightmarish finale benefits from its one-of-a-kind "found" setting, an empty amusement park rising like a ghostly castle from the prairie landscape. This is much less aggressive and violent film than George Romero's original Night of the Living Dead, but for sheer skin- crawling spookiness, it's in the same class. --David Chute --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Feb. 22 2007
Format: DVD
Some brilliant directors only make a few movies. Herk Harvey made over four hundred -- but sadly, he only brought his astounding talents into one non-educational movie.

That one brilliant movie is cult horror flick "Carnival of Souls," a nightmarish tale of a young woman who is lingering on in the world of the living -- and is pursued by the dead. Made for a piddling seventeen thousand dollars, this little gem is as eerie now as it was in the 1960s.

Three young women decide to drag race a car of young men -- and their car goes off a bridge into the river. Only Mary (Candace Hilligoss) staggers out of the water, seemingly undisturbed by the accident. The next day she travels to Utah for her new job as a church organist, but on the trip she keeps seeing a grinning, corpselike man watching her from the road.

Mary tries to distract herself with shopping, dodging her lecherous neighbor, and playing the organ. But she keeps seeing the corpse-man), having strange moments where nobody can see or ear her, and also finds herself drawn to a run-down former carnival pavilion. As the dead close in on her, Mary runs from them... but she can't escape from them forever.

A simple plot, but Herk Harvey handles it with brilliant skill. There's a goofy moment here or there -- at one point Mary turns around to shriek into the camera lens. But most of the time, Harvey keeps the atmosphere piling on, with relatively little dialogue (the most memorable lines are usually shrieked ones like "I don't want to be alone!").

In short, Harvey had the ability to inspire something a lot rarer than fear or shocks -- dread. Mary's confusion, fear and denial are almost palpable as she wanders through the town.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Clob Lane on Nov. 8 2003
Format: DVD
I am reviewing this item not for the feature (as I already reviewed this excellent film a while back), I am reviewing the Criterion Special Edition DVD, which is a two-disc set packed and
loaded with tones of special features. The first disc contains the original theatrical version which director Herk Harvey edited some sequences and scenes out. The first disc also contains a really neat look back on the film in a 1989 documentary "The Movie That Wouldn't Die". There is also a very neat extra of 45 minutes of rare outtakes seen for the first time, and accompanied by the eerie organ music of Gene Moore. Some rare songs not heard in the original movie are here for your scary enjoyment. There is also a theatrical trailer feature.
A very interesting look back on the locations for Carnival of Souls is included, and it talks about the history of the Saltair Resort, which has a very magnificent history and was used for the carnival location, this is an illustrated history.
On the second disc, there is a director's cut of the film, including some scenes not even shown on the VHS "director's cut" editions. One scene that is most notably absent from the original
is the scene where the priest talks to the church carpenter about how strange Mary Henry (Candace Hilligoss) is. This disc also contains a selected audio commentary by screenwriter John Clifford and the late Herk Harvey. Some excerpts of films made by the Centron Corporation. As well as an essay on the history of Centron. Some printed interviews with film illustrations are featured here as well.
This DVD-set is the best DVD-set I've ever seen. The image quality of the black and white transfer is unbelievably clear, and is the best image transfer I've ever seen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. Jacobson on July 4 2003
Format: DVD
YOUR REVIEWERS NEED TO DO THEIR HOMEWORK. I originally saw this film in SLC about 3 years after it was made. The river may have been in Lawrence, Kansas, but the other scenes are in SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH and at the SALTAIR RESORT on the Great Salt Lake. The scenes at the 'carnival pavillion' are of the SALTAIR ballroom and amusement park. My parents met at a dance there in 1934 when the lake was still high but a small train ride was needed to reach the shore for bathing. Originally you just walked down the stairs to the water. Later the pavillion, still on the original pilings (shown in the next to last scene) was just used as an amusement park. I rode their huge roller coaster in 1956. The lake continued to receed, the roller coaster was blown down twice by high winds and eventually the place was closed. At the time this film was made, my high school friends and I used to sneak in and explore the condemned site. The 'prarie' referred to by one reviewer is in fact the Salt Flats and old beach area. I saw this film when one of several efforts to raise money for restoring SALTAIR was in progress. Arsonists burned the place down eventually. It was a stunninly beautiful place with one of the most beautiful ballrooms of the Victorian Era. We felt it as a huge loss of a city landmark.
Other scenes are in downtown SLC: the church where the heroine plays is an Episcopal church where my best friend got married, the water fountain scene is on the grounds of the City and County Building, NOTE the VERY WIDE STREETS! Salt Lake is known for them. Many of the buildings shown still stand like ZCMI dept.
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