Friday, August 16, 2013

Carnival of Souls (1962)

Director: Herk Harvey

Starring: Candace Hilligoss, Frances Feist, Sidney Berger, Art Ellison, Stan Levitt, Tom McGinnis, Forbes Caldwell, Dan Palmquist, Bill de Jarnette, Steve Boozer

More info: IMDb

Tagline:  She Was A Stranger Among The Living.

Plot: A street race results in one of the cars careening off a bridge and into the muddy river below. Of the three people in that car, only Mary Henry emerges alive from the river. Mary seems desensitized to life after that incident. She escapes that town and the memory of the accident by accepting a job in another town in Utah as a church organist, despite she not being religiously minded. She vows never to return. However, on her drive to Utah, she begins to see visions of a man - almost as an apparition - who she believes is out to get her. Other strange occurrences are that she at times seems possessed, and at other times seems to be physically invisible to the world. All these occurrences make her at times repulsed by her lecherous rooming house neighbor, John Linden, while other times feeling the need for his companionship. Despite the help of a therapist, Mary believes that specifically the visions of the man have something to do with an abandoned carnival site located at the outskirts of town, the carnival site to which she is nonetheless drawn.

My rating: 5.5/10

Will I watch it again? No.


OK, so I've watched this movie previously two to three times but it's been at least fifteen years since the last.  I've also just watched it for the last time.  Instead of getting better with each viewing it gets worse.  If Mary is a spirit then why is she able to eat and drink?  Why does she sometimes interact with what looks like the living and sometimes not?  What's with the imprints in the sand at the end?  Was she physically there or not?


I'm afraid if I watch it again I'll hate it.  On one level it's a good looking picture and it's got some really neat imagery (the use of the palace at the end is great).  But then it also brings the boring and a lot of that has to do with the 100% organ score.  There are times when it works and others when it doesn't.  I don't see the brilliance in the picture and without someone sitting with me, giving me the hidden meanings and explaining every little thing, I don't think I'm going to.  This flick is held in such high regard, too.  I guess for me, this one's just not meant to be.  Now I'm your man if you need someone to explain the deeper meaning and psychological intricacies of a picture like OVERDOSE OF DEGRADATION (1970).

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