Jul 7, 2008

Carnival of Souls


Carnival of Souls(1962) is one of the most important horror films (or film in general) that America has ever produced. Industrial filmmaker Herk Harvey was the man that made the gothic and eerie American cult classic Carnival of Souls. Harvey would also play the main ghoul that haunt’s the films female protagonist Mary Henry. Harvey intended Carnival of Souls to have the “look of an Ingmar Bergman film” and the “feel of a Jean Cocteau film.” The film certainly had the feeling of a Cocteau as if the poet had directed his own horror film for American audiences.


Like many fans of the horror genre, George A. Romero‘s Night of the Living Dead left a big impression on me at a young age. It wouldn’t be till many years later that I would see Carnival of Souls, a film that would inspire NOTLD. I can say without hesitation that I consider Carnival of Souls a superior film to NOTLD, despite my nearly lifelong admiration for Romero’s film. Carnival of Souls is a short ride following a woman in a trance that is only recognized at the film’s conclusion.

Many films and filmmakers have borrowed a lot from Carnival of Souls. The most obvious being M. Night Shyamalan‘s "masterpiece" film The Sixth Sense, in which he borrowed a very large element from Carnival of Souls. Of course, Shyamalan’s been sued for plagiarism on more than one occasion. But then again, Carnival of Souls would be the film to steal from. Despite it’s cinematic quality, the film has yet to truly get that recognition that it deserves. Too good to be just a “B” horror film and too cult like to impress art fags, Carnival of Souls is a film that is in it’s own league.


Not since the days of German expressionism has a film been so atmospheric yet horrific. Carnival of Souls is a film that showed serious promise a revival in artistry in the horror film. It makes me wonder how an educational and industrial filmmaker like Herk Harvey could make a film like Carnival of Souls without any prior feature-length experience. It is a shame that Harvey would never make another horror film (or feature length film). Despite the low-budget quality of Carnival of Souls, it gets across as a serious film for serious horror fans.


Carnival of Souls follows a lonely woman who only finds company that she doesn’t really appreciate. A ghastly ghoul and his ball of dead dancers find Mary Henry. She never knows what this rotting dead man is trying to tell her till the end. Carnival of Souls is one of those films that you just have to experience as to articulate it’s power into words would be useless. I felt as if I was touched by something that no other film has ever done after viewing Carnival of Souls.


-Ty E

7 comments:

Pain said...

Fantastic movie, great review

PATCHS HORROR MOVIE CINEMA said...

A POWERFUL UNDERRATED FILM A TRUE GEM IN MY BOOK....

jervaise brooke hamster said...

i actually agree that "carnival of souls" is a better film than "night of the living dead" and another interesting comparison i always make between these two movies is the fact that whenever i watch "carnival of souls" i always have more or less the same sexual fantasys about candace hilligoss as i do about judith o`dea whenever i watch "night of the living dead", i bugger her and sodomize her and then i spunk down her lushious throat, it always increases my enjoyment of the film itself, which as you so rightly said is one of the most ludicrously under-rated horror films of all time. By the way, m. night shyamalan is a pile of shit and so are all of his films.

2D23Dconversions said...

My 3D conversion of Carnival of Souls is completed and the film will be available to download pretty soon. Looking at the quality of the pics above, I wish I could have used the Criterion version. Maybe another time eh?

Thanks for following.

http://2d23dconversions-carnivalofsouls3d.blogspot.com/

Great website incidentally...

steve prefontaine said...

Ty E, if you`ve had a lifelong admiration for Romero's NOTLD why have you never reveiwed it on this site ?, and what about Savini's brilliant remake, i actually thought that it was even better than Romero's original. By the way, why haven`t you reveiwed Romero's Day of the Dead (1985) on this site ?, i believe it to be his supreme masterwork, after all you reveiwed Steve Miner's ludicrously under-rated 2008 remake so why not Romero's version ?.

steve prefontaine said...

I just watched the colourised version of "Carnival of Souls" and it was quite superb, i dont think i`ll ever waste my time watching the black and white version again. Actually when i think about it the same goes for the original versions of "NOTLD" and "House on Haunted Hill", they`re both much better in colour as well.

anarky said...

one of best films i have ever seen...the Criterion edition has film history and extra interviews and information..i think being an industrial filmmaker aided in making this film..and i see parallels with Eraserhead..i watch this film at least 3 times a year and see something new...it takes me back to days when i was young and loved to go to amusement parks with my friends...