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Carnival of Souls (Criterion Collection) (1962)

Cast: Candace Hilligoss, Candace Hilligoss, Frances Feist, more...
Director: Herk Harvey, Herk Harvey
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Criterion
Genre: Horror, Zombies, Criterion Collection
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A drag race turns to tragedy when one car, with three young women inside, topples over a bridge and into the muddy river below. The authorities drag the river, but the search is fruitless and the girls are presumed dead until a single survivor stumbles out of the water with no recollection of how she escaped. Mary Henry (Candace Hilligoss) decides to forget her strange experience and carry on with her plan to move to Utah to accept a job as a church organist. She rejects the notion that because her profession leads her to work in the church, she is obligated to worship as part of the congregation, and this cold approach to her work unnerves many around her. While driving to the new city, she experiences weird visions of a ghoulish man who stares at her through the windshield, and passes an abandonded carnival on a desolate stretch of highway outside of town to which she feels strangely drawn. Mary tries to live her life in private, ignoring invitations to worship by the minister of her church and the leering propositions of a neighbor in her rooming house. Soon the ghostly apparition from the highway is appearing more often, and she experiences eerie spells in which she becomes invisible to people on the street. A doctor tries to help, but he too is rejected, and eventually Mary realizes that the deserted carnival holds the secret to her destiny. ~ Fred Beldin, All Movie Guide

This disc contains the original theatrical version of CARNIVAL OF SOULS.

Special Features:
  • The Movie That Wouldn't Die! The Story of Carnival of Souls: a documentary on the 1989 reunion of the cast and crew
  • More than 45 minutes of rare outtakes accompanied by Gene Moore's organ score
  • Theatrical trailer
  • An illustrated history of the Saltair resort in Salt Lake City
  • The Carnival Tour: a video update on the film's locations

GreenCine Member Ratings

Carnival of Souls: Extended Director's Cut (Criterion Collection) (1962)
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7.27 (190 votes)
Carnival of Souls: Original Theatrical Version (Criterion Collection) (1962)
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7.31 (222 votes)

GreenCine Member Reviews

It Will Haunt You Forever... by mdraine February 19, 2003 - 9:11 PM PST
11 out of 11 members found this review helpful
Carnival of Souls is a haunting, exquisitely photographed story of a young church organist caught between the worlds of the living in the dead. While producer/director Herk Harvey aspired to the *look of a Bergman and the feel of the Cocteau,* the film could pass for a feature-length Twilight Zone episode. Turning a low budget to his advantage, Herk Harvey elicited poetic images from local Lawrence, Kansas settings: the decrepit Saltair Pavilion; the cathedral-like organ factory; a Hitchcockian, vortex-like stairwell. At the distributor's behest, the film was sheared of five minutes by B-movie journeyman Herbert Strock. The edits intensify the dreamlike air by confining the point of view to that of of the female protagonist; thus, this shorter version arguably offers a more coherent narrative. With one foot in the arthouse and one in the drive-in, Carnival of Souls represents a triumph of inspiration over limited means. --Michael Draine

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