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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forgotten Classic
I saw this years ago when BBC 2 ran a late night art house movie strand on Sundays and it has stayed with me ever since. The plot concerns a young woman who has survived a car accident taking up her new job in a small Midwestern town. It is genuinely chilling, creates an otherworldy, unsettling mood with the use of silence, the spiky organ score, a supporting cast of...
Published on 27 Dec. 2006 by Shawyer

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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great movie but DVD quality could have been better
I have the U.S Criterion DVD and know how good this film can look. Sadly this Network UK DVD doesn't match the Criterion edition in quality but is a fairly good print. The sound is occasionally a bit poor though. I can only reccomend the Criterion DVD which has both the theatrical and extended cuts and lots more!
Published on 7 Mar. 2009 by Robert


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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterclass in low-budget horror., 28 Mar. 2009
By 
A. Smith (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
One of the best independent horror movies ever made. Tipping its cap to the German expressionist movement (Calligari, Nosferatu, Golem) and pre-dating Romero's zombie's by ten years, Carnival of Souls is a masterclass in low-budget film making. Candace Hilligoss' performance is astonishing, she virtually carries the film using nothing more than a series of expressions and strange movements. Wonderful. Highly recommended for fans of this much lampooned genre.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Top notch B-movie and genuinely spooky, 12 Mar. 2007
In terms of budget this is definitely a B-movie. The budget was so low that the only professional actor in it is the leading lady. All the others were friends or neighbours of the director - but don't be put off by that because this is a genuinely creepy piece of cinema. Others with many times the budget have achieved far less than Carnival of Souls.

There is a sense of unreality that permeates the whole film, with Mary seemingly unable to connect with anything or anyone around her after the accident she's involved in at the beginning of the film. She experiences strange urges and compulsions that she can't explain and doesn't understand. An uneasy atmosphere, disconnectedness, not knowing quite what's going on - this is an unsettling film that depends heavily on what we don't see and on what doesn't happen to generate the real tension that runs through much of it. Or perhaps that's the fear of what we might see, but don't until.....

If you like suspense / ghost films as opposed to splatterfest horror, this film comes highly recommended. Enjoy - whether you have the lights on... or off!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great Film, Poor Quality DVD, Get Criterion Collection instead., 10 July 2008
This review is from: Carnival Of Souls [1962] [DVD] (DVD)
This is a wonderfully atmospheric film, an evocative b-movie, best seen late at night on an old television set.
Unfortunately the quality of most DVD prints are also as if they've been taped of a television re-run in the seventies. The sound quality is also mostly appaling, to say the least.
If you really want to experience this films and have some extra information too, get the CRITERION COLLECTION edition available from www.amazon.com instead. It costs a little extra, but its worth the money.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic, 11 Aug. 2006
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This review is from: Carnival Of Souls [1962] [DVD] (DVD)
This is 'horror' with class. The viewer is able to sympathise with the heroine, who is a church organist (an unusual occupation in itself). The heroine's organ music provides an interesting backdrop to the whole film. In an age where special effects were not as advanced as they are now, the twilight world of the dead is very convincingly portrayed.
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Carnival Of Souls, 24 Feb. 2007
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This review is from: Carnival Of Souls [1962] [DVD] (DVD)
Carnival Of Souls is the story of a young lady who, having been presumed dead, emerges from a river after her car plunged into it off a bridge. Having apparently suffered no ill effects, she moves out of town and takes a job as a church organist. From this point her life begins to change; she starts seeing a strange man following her, and has episodes where nobody can apparently see or hear her. Constantly pursued by the stranger she sees she eventually has to come to terms with what it actually is that is catching up with her.

Filmed in the early 1960s, one could be forgiven for thinking that Carnival Of Souls was a film of a decade earlier, with its crummy and grainy picture quality and supernatural make-up techniques not so far off the days of Nosferatu. The screeching incidental organ music, whilst doing correctly its job of sounding infernal, is obnoxious enough in places to detract from the enjoyment of the film though thankfully it doesn't persist all the way through.

The film does have an engaging quality about it however, and a story that keeps you watching. Interestingly it's a scenario that must have been fairly novel and shocking in its day (although there are elements of it that remind of such tales as Lovecraft's "The Outsider"), yet it may seem somewhat tired to those living in the era of the Sixth Sense and other such twist-suffixed supernatural horror tales.

I'd have loved to have seen it upon its original release, however being born too late for that, I can't delete from my brain the films I've seen since that make this one appear fairly average.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Old fashioned storytelling, 9 Jun. 2005
By 
Francisco (Newcastle upon Tyne, UK) - See all my reviews
As the credits roll we see a group of women race a group men. When they get to a bridge the women's car goes over and all are presumed drowned. Mary struggles ashore.
We soon learn that Mary is an organist and is moving out of town to play the organ in a church far away. As she drives across the country her attention is caught by a disused pavillion. She sees a face as well.
Strange things start happening around her as she tries to make a living.
On the good side the film does evoke a sense of forebodding. However, the characterisation is a bit weak and, even under her extreme situation, I found her interactions with her neighbour a little unbelievable.
In short, it's a reasonable horror that conveys its atmosphere without having to resort to gore. However, the script is weak where it comes to the subplots.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb low-budget early 60s horror film now in colour with superb picture and sound!, 18 April 2010
By 
DAVE HORN "Dave Horn" (Ellington Village, Northumberland, GB) - See all my reviews
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Firstly I note that reviews from other editions of this film have carried over to this one so ignore comments on poor picture quality and sound.

I first came by Herk Harvey's "Carnival of Souls" as a freebie with a DVD magazine in 2002, which stated that it was "for the first time presented in Super psychorama stereophonic". This basically meant green inserts in the black and white film when the spooky guy (Harvey himself) appeared (which was actually quite effective), as there was no sign of true stereophonic sound.

If I even try to tell you about the basic storyline it will spoil the film so I won't. Suffice to say it's an above average but nevertheless typical low-budget early 60s spooky, originally black and white B-movie horror, with ghostly organ music adding to the atmosphere, and it's now something of a cult film. Candace Hilligoss gives a good performance as the main character, lonely woman Mary Henry. Creepy locations and effects abound amongst the apparent normality of this lonely woman's life. The film was supposedly a big influence on future horror specialist George Romero.

Anyway, I liked it so much I later bought the rather luxurious US Criterion 2-disc edition with normal length (1.18) and Director's Cut (1.23) as the single disc English issue was at that time selling for the ridiculous full-price of 20GBP.

The film has now been digitally colourised and I must say that it's highly effective, with only a few shots looking like the colours on those old hand-tinted post cards. You can always turn your TV on to black and white if you don't like it. Even better news is that this version has the best picture ever, with the sparklies and damage still evident in even the Criterion issue all gone. The sound is better than it's ever been too with no hiss or crackle. It's a shame, however, that it's still mono and hasn't been remixed for the modern age. Once again the green bits and DD 2 channel inserts have gone.

The down-side is that there are no extras (not even subtitles), no booklet and unfortunately it's only the theatrical version. If you want the extras and Director's Cut then you'll have to buy the Criterion Edition, which as stated includes the Theatrical and Director's cuts, an informative booklet and a plethora of extras, though the green inserts when the spooky guy appears and the DD 2 channel sound are not there. I've only found those on the freebie issue.

Even if you already own the film it's worth buying this issue for the better quality sound and picture and the colourisation alone.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a beautiful heroine, scary music and a funfair... beautiful, 25 July 2004
There are, of course, the obvious problems and criticisms any idiot could make about this film with it being a budget movie, so expect a cheesy supporting cast and a few errors and problems, just as I did. Anyone who plans to watch this film will know and probably hold some respect or liking of the horror B-Movie anyway. With that said i can get on with the praise, for this film has to be one of the most atmospheric, haunting and surprising films around.
I adore the storyline, involving a lonely beautiful heroine (Candace Hilligoss, who is breathtaking and very convincing in her role), a ghostly ubiquitous figure with staring eyes and a morose abandoned carnival- all with a surprisingly clever relevance and linkage to the plot.
The scene where the beautiful girl passes by the carnival at sunset, the camera panning across and the music delightfully omenous is melancholy and almost romantic in tone.
I love the melancholia the film conveys, the romantic lonliness and the fantasy, and beyond the shallow but still chilling and effective 'horror' of the storyline the film seems to present itself almost as an allegory for the lonely indivdual and their place in society whether it means to or not. It contains no gore or blood or bad taste, but succeeds in creating mystery and fear through atmosphere and ambience. Candace Hilligoss is a great actress and it is a shame she has never transcended to greater things for she is beautiful, tremendously good at creating fear, confusion and other such neurotic characteristics and could have done great things. Finally, this small, cheap, now cult film has to be the best film at using music to haunt and grip the viewer- the organ music is terrifyingly good at reflecting the dark atmoshpere and tone of the film along with the camera work. Maybe laughable to some contemporary viwers but this is a haunting, interesting and beautiful film I have a soft spot for. The faces rising from the water in the end sequence and the 'dance of life' almost Edvard Munch in style with the music spreading out around it, the camera spiralling, this minor B-Movie gem is seminal and to be watched alone if you're feeling thoughtful. In my opinion this is not trash to watch for cheap thrills but something else.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars i love carnival of souls, 14 Mar. 2013
By 
Cj Flowerday "colin j flowerday" (holt norfolk uk) - See all my reviews
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i love CARNIVAL OF SOULS its a classic b horror movie and theres not another movie to beat it. Thanks to HAROLD HERK HARVEY who created it and played the MAN the main ghost in the.film
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A 5 star original but..., 26 April 2012
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please note..the Black & white versions that Amazon sell are the standard 75 mjin versions-NOT the extended 90 mins as advertised!
Also, as others have mentioned, the sound quality is absolutely dismal I'm afraid-1 star!.The picture quality is bad in places too-even rolls in a couple of places! I guess they've just copied it straight from tape without any improvements! It's a shame as I think the B&W lends itself beautifully to create an eerie atmosphere. The scene in the funfair, with the souls, for example, is both brilliant and eerie-you can see that this was an obvious influence on many horror directors. I've ordered the remastered colour version as that is supposed to be better for sound/picture quality.The film is certainly deserving of it's place in Horror history. I'm also going to check out the US Criterion version-which has an extended cut-as well as extras- and is, apparently, a better version visually and aurally.
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Carnival Of Souls [1962] [DVD]
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