Carnival of Souls (1962)
Written By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Herk Harvey
Producer: Herk Harvey
Writer: John Clifford
Date Released: September 26, 1962
Candace Hilligoss as Mary Henry
Frances Feist as Mrs. Thomas
Sidney Berger as John Linden
Art Ellison as Minister
Stan Levitt as Dr. Samuels
Rating = 3.5/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
Carnival of Souls (1962) opens up when three women are enticed to race two men in their vehicles. But when they drive on a bridge, the women lose control and the car plunges to the water. Hours later, one of the women named Mary emerges from the water. After the accident, Mary travels to another town to take a position as a church organist. On her travels, she comes across an abandoned carnival that gives off strange vibes. When she finally gets settled in to her new position, she starts to experience strange events and see a strange man
There is no gore in this film. The film creates more suspense and thrill as the woman slowly loses her sanity after the accident. Carnival of Souls is best classified as a psychological thriller.
The Grave Review
Carnival of Souls (1962) presents an interesting concept about a woman who oddly survives a car crash and has been submerged for hours. But, after the accident, she starts having strange visions. The plot is well-done and well executed creating a sense of mystery and obscurity. The twist at the end of the film was also well implemented and leaves viewers guessing throughout the film.
The strongest aspect of the film is its use of eerie organ and carnival compositions. The music gives the tone of the film a creepiness that may not have otherwise been present. Towards the end of the film, when scenes of the carnival are shown while the music is playing, the film reaches its climactic point to create an eeriness which is both fun and uncomfortable.
In addition, although very simplistic, the make-up design was effective. The white faces of the antagonists in conjunction with the black and white cinematography created disturbing and scary characters. This film makes clear that you do not always need overdone gore or blood in order to send a message. In this way, Carnival of Souls excelled in this aspect.
The one critique of the film is that the progression of the story is very slow. This film may not be for everyone, but from a cinematic study, Carnival of Souls offers some artistic elements.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives Carnival of Souls three and a half graves out of five graves.
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