What is it about this film, that makes me want to watch it again and again? It can't be the special effects; they are laughable. It can't be the sound; the dubbing is the worst I've ever seen. It can't be stellar performances by all involved; some of the acting and dialogue are horribly corny.
I think what makes this movie special, what has earned it a cult following, is that it traps the viewer within its own world, a claustrophobic, washed-out black and white world, a world on the edge of twilight heading inexorably toward an eternal darkness, a world where the heroine is slowly led to her doom, in spite of her desperate attempts to escape. Lots of horror movies try to create this feeling of "no exit" but most try to do it with silly fright gimmicks and fail miserably. This one uses a slowly constricting, strangely palid atmosphere centered on one character's increasingly odd experiences, eerie organ music, excellent cinematography, and an expressionistic landscape (a spider web shuddering on tree branches; a dark, abandoned carnival pavilion seen off on the horizon, a car pulled from a muddy river) to create a surrealistic sense of horror. Candace Hilligoss, who only made this and one other horror film, turns in a stunning performance reminiscent of Kim Novak in Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo: distant, vulnerable, refined, yet repressed. It's exactly what was needed here, and it makes her one of the most memorable horror actresses ever, in my book.