Tuesday, July 26, 2011

#354. Carnival of Souls (1962)


Directed By: Herk Harvey

Starring: Candace Hilligoss, Frances Feist, Sidney Berger




Tag line: "She Was A Stranger Among The Living"

Trivia:  The damage to the bridge in the opening scene cost its director $17







For 33 years, Herk Harvey worked as a filmmaker for the Centron Corporation, a company out of Lawrence, Kansas, that produced a variety of industrial and educational films. During that time, he would direct exactly one feature-length motion picture, the atmospheric horror movie Carnival of Souls, that, to this day, is considered a true genre classic.

After being challenged to a drag race, a car carrying three young women accidentally drives off a bridge and sinks into the river below. As authorities are searching for the missing vehicle, one of the woman, Mary Henry (Candace Hilligoss), makes her way to shore, in shock but relatively unharmed. Shortly after this harrowing incident, Mary heads out of town, having already accepted a job as an organist for a small church in Utah. Yet she cannot shake the feeling that something is very wrong with her, and wonders why she's being visited by a strange man (played by director Harvey), whose pale features are more than a little unnerving. Upon her arrival in Utah, Mary checks into a boarding house run by Mrs. Thomas (Frances Feist), yet, for some unknown reason, finds herself drawn to the abandoned carnival grounds situated just outside of town. After a few more visits from the stranger with the white face, Mary is convinced she's losing her mind, yet even this cannot prepare her for the shocking truth that's lying in wait for her at the carnival.

Shot in black and white, Carnival of Souls undoubtedly benefited from the extensive film making experience Harvey obtained while working at Centron. In fact, one of the things that struck me was the film's unusually large number of wide shots, with Harvey positioning his camera a great distance from the on-screen action. There are plenty of examples early on, like the scene where Mary crawls out of the water, but it's also employed in more serene settings as well. By keeping Mary at such a great distance from his audience, Harvey establishes that his main character is very much alone, an isolation he'll explore in greater detail as the story progresses.

This visual style, combined with a handful of memorable scenes (like the one set in the department store, where Mary notices she can no longer hear any sound whatsoever, and that no one can see or hear her), bring an intensely disturbing air to Carnival of Souls, a feeling of dread that continues to grow right up to the film's creepy conclusion.








38 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's a HIT again Doctor very impressive horror dicussions.

Anonymous said...

Canada Kane here; Hello fellas, exciting and ear-pleasing horror pod-cast.

Anonymous said...

Backers Dr Shock on Carnival of Souls. Now I have to buy it. I can't wait to see it.

Hellhunter was sure a nuisance this episode I hated hearing him chime his 2 bits in all the time. He is so out of his element this time around.

You&Billchete are amazing then you found new incredible hosts in Joemummy and Midnitecorey even the Butcher is intelligent. I did miss KCs take.

Excellent show,
Bryce

Anonymous said...

SUPER 8 (3 hehe ep) LOVED it peops.

Anonymous said...

Fun episodoe---Blood Lizzie came into her own this episode that's nice---Sorry but 30K 50 years ago on a movie is a lot---Doesn't even sound like you wanted to recommend it you were saying tons of bad things---Seeya on the next one---Bubba

Dave Becker said...

Thanks to everyone for the comments!

@Anonymous: So glad you enjoyed the show (I like that we're a hit), and thanks for listening.

@Canada Kane: Glad you liked it! Thanks for stopping by.

@Bryce: Yeah, I did get some people backing me up on this pick! That's not something I', used to. Thanks for the compliment, and glad you're enjoying listening to the new hosts as much as I am! Thanks for stopping by.

@Anonymous: I like the reference! Glad you liked the show, and thanks for listening.

@Bubba: I absolutely agree with you regarding Bloody Lizzy. She did a great job! And you're right, 30k back in 1962 was a lot of money, but still well under what many 60's films were being made for. And if I sounded lukewarm on CARNIVAL OF SOULS, it was probably because I wanted to let everyone know the pacing of the film is a bit slow (something that really struck me as I watched it this time around), but it is definitely a classic.

Thanks again to everyone for stopping by, and for listening to Horror Jungle.

Anonymous said...

Smashing good show. 2 or 3 DVD's caught my fancy. Hue Gentles

Anonymous said...

Outstanding episode that number three was. This might sound whacky but I like knowing the crappy horror movies to avoid. It saves me much dough and there are always many Discs that sound interesting.

Brian Weavers

Dave Becker said...

Thanks for stopping by!

@Hue: We appreciate the kind words, and are glad you enjoyed it. Please be sure to stop back after watching the DVDs and let us know what you thought of them.

@Brian: Actually, there are a lot of people who feel the same way you do, and like knowing what movies to avoid just as much as they like hearing recommendations. As you said, it can help save a lot of money. Also, we're glad you're enjoying the show!

Thanks again for the comments, and for listening to Horror Jungle.

Anonymous said...

Streaming the Signal after lunch Dr.

A+ episode.

Dave Becker said...

Thanks for stopping by, and for the comment.

Please be sure to let me know what you think of THE SIGNAL, and thanks also for listening!

Anonymous said...

not to give you big heads but the horror podcast at horror jungle is totally incredible.

you are by far the best horror podcast out there, there's not even one comparable.

i have all 3 episodes burned to cd so i can listen after i buy the movies.

marcel z

Dave Becker said...

@Marcel: Thank you so much for the kind words. They truly do mean a lot to all of us, and we're very happy you're enjoying the show.

And please be sure to stop back and let us know what you think of the movies after you see them. We'd love to know what you think!

Thanks for stopping by, and for listening to Horror Jungle.

Anonymous said...

Positutely awesome. WTG Shock+Podcasters. Impressive Work.

Dave Becker said...

Thanks so much for the compliment! We're very happy you're enjoying the podcast, and I thank you for taking the time to post your thoughts.

Thanks also for listening to Horror Jungle.

Anonymous said...

Put a MUZZLE on the Headhunter person. Even the noobie chickster Lizzy outshines him. When he makes those groans and grunts I have to fast forward beyond it. Outside of him you have a Tremendously Talented Team (TTT as I call it) of horror critics..Bulah McKinzey

Dave Becker said...

@Bulah: Thanks for stopping by, and for posting a comment.

We appreciate the feedback ("TTT"...I like it!), and we're glad you're enjoying the show.

Thanks for listening, and have a great day!

Anonymous said...

dr shock i commented on hellhunters blog but he has not approved or responded, here is the context, i want this known i am a little peaved.

"i-c comments rolling in your kidnapped, myself was wondering y would u select a movie not on dvd? isnt that the point of your pix? and how did u see it? surpised at this-this was one of the things i value with hj always rating movies available to us. (disheartened corinna)"

corinna

Dave Becker said...

Corrina: Thanks for stopping by!

I think the reason your comment may not have posted on Hellhunter's blog yet is because of the time difference (I believe it's just after 1 a.m. in Australia), but I'll be sure to pass it along to him, in any case.

I thank you for listening to Horror Jungle, and have a great day!

Anonymous said...

Lunch break (Ring, ring, you hear the lunch bell ringing-lol) Wanted to drop by and say how much I enjoyed the latest episode. Horror Jungle is a real horror treat for a horror lover like myself.
Napoleon Kowallis

Anonymous said...

excellent episode much fun it seems the battle of billchete vs joemummy has begun, exciting stuff. takes me back to billchete vs doctor, remember that, the dead silence debockle, was my favorite episode of planet macabre, remember it vividly. pj

Anonymous said...

Episode 3 is delightful and engrossing.

Host love. :)

Bill; Enthusiastic, energetic
Dr; Brainy, astute
Hunter; Witty, silly
Lizzie; Sweetie, cuddly
Boss; Kind, calming
Mummy; Intelligent, deep thoughtedness
Corey; Clever, funny
Kc; Missed him on 3

Deon/OH

Dave Becker said...

Thanks to everyone for stopping by, and for the comment.

@Napoleon: We really appreciate the compliment, and are glad you're enjoying the show. Enjoy your lunch break! :)

@pj: Thanks for the kind words. LOL...we'll have to see how the "Billchete vs. JoeMummy" battle shapes up over the next few episodes! And yes, I certainly do remember the DEAD SILENCE debate on Planet Macabre (not sure I'll ever forget it!). Glad you're enjoying the show, and thanks for listening.

@Deon: Thanks so much for the kind words regarding the Horror Jungle hosts. I'll be sure to pass your comment along to all of them, and thanks also for listening!

Anonymous said...

You guys have a quality about yourselves to make the horrorpod fun.

A diehard horror fan, Horner

Dave Becker said...

@Horner: Always nice to meet another diehard horror fan! Thanks for stopping by.

Thanks also for the kind words. It really does mean a lot to all of us to hear how much the fans enjoy the show. Thanks also for listening to Horror Jungle.

Anonymous said...

Great episode yet again, you guys never fail me. I never mind hearing about poor horror movies, and the one was actually close "4.7" at getting a recommendation.

5 and up average for me is a buy. Even with the 2 flops, I have 5 to buy this week. There were only 2 that didn't sound interesting to me.

Jeff M.

Dave Becker said...

@Jeff: Thanks for stopping by!

Glad you enjoyed the show. Your method of over 5 being a buy seems like a good one (especially since its an average of 8 hosts), and I'm glad to hear there are 5 movies you'll be checking out!

Please be sure to stop back and let us know what you thought of them, and thanks so much for listening.

Anonymous said...

Tantalizing horror podcast, super discussions, Nicole, PR

Anonymous said...

some good horror shit

*you guys are rad*

the podcast is awesome

deerbourne

Dave Becker said...

Thanks for the comments!

@Nicole: So glad you're enjoying the show, and thanks so much for stopping by, and for listening to Horror Jungle.

@deerbourne: Thank you so much! Glad you enjoyed ep. #3, and thanks also for listening.

Anonymous said...

Stellar episode #3 was, love this horror jungle podcast, incredible show.

Dave Becker said...

Hello, and thanks for the comment! So glad you're enjoying the show, and thanks for listening!

Anonymous said...

Hello Doctor,
That ditz Liz brings nothing to horror, does she know it's a horror podcast?

All others A+.

Sherman

Dave Becker said...

Sherman: Thanks for stopping by! Glad you're enjoying the show, and thanks also for listening.

Anonymous said...

Great show, Doc, Fun!!!!!!!!

Dave Becker said...

Thanks! We're glad you're enjoying the show. Thanks for listening, and for stopping by the blog.

Anonymous said...

Horror Jungle 3 is amazing- discussions were great with tons of good picks can't wait to get'um and see'um.
Perie

Dave Becker said...

@Perie: Thanks for stopping by! We're glad you're enjoying the show, and please be sure to stop back and let us know what you think of the movies when you watch them!

Thanks also for listening to Horror Jungle.