Carnival of Souls
The 328th review!
One of my favorite things about watching a movie is finding out the behind the scenes information on the making of it. Like, for instance, in tonight's movie, somehow the makers of it didn't put a copyright notice on their film so it immediately went to the public domain. Oops! Anyways, tonight I checked out...
Carnival of Souls (1962)
A woman and two of her friends are driving along when a car full of dudes pulls up next to them and asks them if they want to drag. The driver isn't one to turn down a challenge so away they go. Their race takes them to a rickety bridge and the car full of women goes off the side. After three hours of fruitless searching in the muddy water, one of them, Mary Henry (who I keep reading as Mark Henry) emerges from the water and can't remember how she survived.
From there she leaves town to be an organist at a church in Utah but keeps seeing a ghoulish stranger following her around and she gets a strong attachment to an abandoned amusement park. She has a hard time fitting in and combined with that man, she starts to lose it until everything comes to a head at the end.
Much like most of the good movies from that time period, the movie nails the mood. Everything about it is creepy. Mary has a tough time assimilating and every interaction she has is awkward and borders on uncomfortable. The score is very haunting and keeps you on edge at all times. The stranger never speaks a word, but his white face and sunken eyes make for a creepy visual. And to up the creep factor, her neighbor fits that bill as he tries guilting and gaslighting her into going on dates with him.
The movie doesn't give you answers for a long time. You just watch this woman fall apart as she tries to get back to normal after that crash killed two of her friends but weird things keep happening. That, combined with being stalked ever since she walked out of the river.
I liked it, it's really weird and Mary is interesting enough you want to get the answers. It's not just weirdness for weirdness' sake the creepy stuff is building to something and you know it bode well for Mary. Everything about this movie is off-putting. At no point are you comfortable while watching because you know just outside what you're seeing, something is lurking. It's very well done.
As for the ending, I liked it a lot. I don't quite have a handle on it because it shows you that the stuff actually happened, but it has strong "Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" vibes to it and makes for a cool final shot. As another notch in this movie's favor, George Romero said this movie was his inspiration for Night of the Living Dead.
7.5 Dr. Chainsaws!
Carnival of Souls
1 HR 18 MIN
Cast & Crew: Mary Henry, Candace Hilligoss, Mrs. Thomas, Frances Feist, John Linden, Sidney Berger
Producers: Herk Harvey
Directors: Herk Harvey
Writers: Screenplay - John Clifford
A church organist battles demons and delusions after a deadly car accident.