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Carnival Of Souls [1962] [DVD]

4.1 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Candace Hilligoss, Sidney Berger, Frances Feist, Herk Harvey
  • Directors: Herk Harvey
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Network
  • DVD Release Date: 23 Feb. 2009
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001LNW2K6
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 115,462 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Candice Hilligoss stars as a woman who survives a serious car accident and moves to Utah to become a church organist. She is pursued there by a strange phantom figure (Herk Harvey, who also directs and produces).

About the Director

Having survived a car accident that should have claimed her life, Mary begins a new job as a church organist. Plagued by evil visions of a ghoulish figure, she is drawn to an abandoned amusement park. --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This film was rediscovered in the 80's and featured on the BBC series "Videodrome". Without wanting to spoil the plot I'll just say that it's a genuinely creepy story that directly inspired George Romero's 1968 Night of the Living Dead. The plot focuses on Candace Hillgoss as a beautiful but cold church organist (Who is actually non-religious and just plays for money).In the opening scenes we see that she is the only girl to survive when a car filled with her and some friends careers off a bridge. She makes it to shore. From then on she is disturbed by stange nightmares and visions centering on a long abandoned funfair and it's pale inhabitants. That's all the plot I'm going to give away. If you love strange films then I cannot urge you enough to buy this one. As in the original Night of the Living Dead (and for that matter Psycho) the black and white photography only adds to the surrealism and detracts nothing from the plot or the genuine sense of unease that unfolds as the film plays.
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Format: DVD
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 predatory grotesques and bleached black and white cinematography. It also bears comparison with Polanski's 'Repulsion' as a study in isolation and a vulnerable innocent's fast slipping grip on reality; or what she thinks is reality. The climax in the abandoned fairground is deeply spooky, sad and satisfying in equal measure. And on top of all this it has a classic 'jump out of your seat' shock as the heroine drives through a rainy night and looks twice at her reflection in the car's windscreen...
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Format: VHS Tape
"Carnival of Souls," the only theatrical film every directed by Herk Harvey, is a cult classic with a most deserved reputation that puts it on a par with dead George Romero's "Night of the Living Dead" in terms of shoestring productions. Mary Henry (Candace Hilligoss) accepts a car ride from a group of other young girls, only to end up in a drag race that sees the car go over a bridge with only Mary surviving. Having taken a job as a church organist in Salt Lake City, Mary heads for her new home, passing a deserted pavilion on the outskirts of town. Mary is drawn to the ruined bathing center/carnival, but has bigger problems since she keeps seeing a leering, corpse-like man (played by Harvey) watching her. Again and again Mary has the eerie of experience of suddenly finding herself in a silent world where no one seems to notice her. Eventually she returns to the pavilions to understand her final fate.
"Carnvial of Souls" came about because Herk Harvey drove by Saltair, the deserted 1940s tourist resort outside Salt Lake City, and decided it would make a powerful location for a horror film. Harvey recruited John Clifford to come up with a screenplay that would involve Harvey's image of dead bodies rising from the lake to pursue their victim. The finished product certainly evokes a nightmarish quality that makes you ignore the technical problems with overdubbing, campy performances by the supporting cast, and such. Hilligloss, trained in the Method by Strassberg but denied any hint of her character's motivation by the director, only made one other film, "Curse of the Living Corpse" (1964), but this film is enough to secure her reputation in the field. Sidney Berger (the all too friendly guy down the hall at her boarding house) does a cameo as a cop in the 1998 "Wes Craven Presents Carnival of Souls" debacle, which does not compare on any level to this evocative horror classic.
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Format: DVD
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!
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Format: DVD
The film itself is a haunting nightmareish world, which is like a faint marriage of Twilight Zone with an amateur performing troupe. It pre-figures the uneasy yet solid monochrome of Night of the Living Dead, yet with a spaced-out strangeness of story-telling not unlike Dementia aka:Daughter of Horror. It isn't slickly made, but though low-rent, has an americana feel that permeates the dreamy-nightmare.

However, as usual, true to form, released in the UK by Elstree, the picture indeed the very substance of the film is vastly inferior & downright appalling to view. Muted & rough, looking like it has been handled by apes in boxing-gloves. Avoid, find a superior print where possible or ones opinion of this underground classic will suffer badly.
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By schumann_bg TOP 50 REVIEWER on 20 Jun. 2015
Format: DVD
Carnival Of Souls is an outstanding film, really, in the macabre genre. The plot is very simple: a young woman who seems to have drowned in a car accident emerges from the water and goes into town where she takes up a post as an organist, but she is plagued by visions of a zombie-like man whom she alone sees, and finds herself increasingly cut off from human contact, becoming, for spells, invisible and inaudible to others. Meanwhile she is prey to the very corporeal interest of her neighbour. The interest of the film lies in its almost expressionistic photography, the organ music which is heard throughout, and the casting of Candace Hilligoss, who is uncannily good in the lead role. Facially she's a bit like a blonde Lola, but she doesn't dance and doesn't have the French girl's ability to charm everyone and be like a magnet - she only draws undesirables. This seaside town also has a disused pier which she is compelled to go to; each time, the organ music increasing in its eerie intensity as she strays further from normal life, although it adds to the feeling of being off-kilter that the film has all along. None of the dialogues feel quite right. It bears a resemblance to Psycho made two years earlier, and Faster, Pussycat! Kill, Kill! (1965), while having a clear influence on the whole zombie genre that came after, and it does pass in a flash, a clear sign that it casts a potent, low-budget spell. The Elstree Hill print leaves quite a lot to be desired in terms of clarity - I've rarely seen a release this blurred.
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