videocam Carnival Of Souls (1962)

reviewed by Nick Burton

Published in Issue No. 17 ~ October, 1998

This is a great B-movie from 1962 with a well-deserved cult following. Church organist Candace Hilligoss is the only survivor of a car accident (she was drag racing with her girl friends), who moves to Salt Lake City for her job. She soon begins seeing pale ghouls following her that no one else can see. She also begins to have strange blackouts and has an odd attraction to an eerie abandoned pavilion near the Great Salt Lake.

You can see the “surprise” ending on this film coming for the whole film, but the atmosphere here is genuinely felt, and the film was beautifully directed by Herk Harvey, whom, incidently, recently passed away.

There is a remake of this waiting in the wings from current horror uber-producer Wes Craven, so see this brilliant little B-movie first, if for no other reason than to see how to make an effective film on a wing and a prayer. Harvey claimed he wanted this film to be a cross between Jean Cocteau and Ingmar Bergman, but in a weird way it recalls Alain Resnais’ Last Year At Marienbad. If you think I’m kidding, watch the films back to back sometime.

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Nick Burton lives in Newport Beach, California. His fiction has appeared in many small press and web publications, inlcuding: Chronicles Of Fiction, Pauper, and of course Pif.