When I saw a copy of Carnival of Souls together with Night of the Living Dead for a measly buck, I figured I would go ahead and take advantage. After all, I could always use a backup copy of Night of the Living Dead, and this Carnival of Souls looked good for laughs. So I bought the set, having a bit of change on me, and that night I readied myself for some fun.
When I put Carnival of Souls into the player, I was at first a bit unimpressed. I mean, nothing really happened that related to any sort of plot. Then, about 25 minutes into the film I started feeling very uneasy, a feeling I was unfamiliar with in film with the exception of Stanley Kubrick's 'The Shining'. the story is simple, to put it short a woman survives a car accident, and delves into a dissolute surrealistic nightmare.
The surreal atmosphere, the sudden realizations of fear, and the general feel of the film gave a VERY foreboding atmosphere, which haunted me the entire following week. The film is just so foreboding, I could not help but remain uneasy, even the second time around.
The film also was also fairly technically impressive, at least more so then I thought. This film had come six years before George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead, but the use of camera is very similar, and it is very evident that Romero has been influenced by this film's direction. It is a shame that Herk Harvey did not expand on his talent, this is his only feature, yet there is nothing amateur about it. It is very advanced considering what it is, and I was overtly impressed with it.
I suppose Carnival of Souls could, and maybe should warrant an 8/10, I gave it 7/10, but it is truly an original film, and one that I feel holds up very well in the present day. I think it is a must see for fans of surrealism, horror, or just experiences.