Monday, May 31, 2010

Oh, The Horror! #52: Carnival of Souls

I love this movie. I really really do. And I really appreciate it the more I see it and the more I think about it. I remember thinking this movie was just bizarre when I saw it the first time but the more I thought about it, the more I loved it. Carnival of Souls, directed by Herk Harvey in 1963, is a horror cult classic. It is a very low budget film, being filmed with the budget of $33,000 and without much use of special effects, it's really the atmosphere and the use of mood that really helps this film pop.

The film follows a young woman named Mary Henry (Candace Hilligross). She mysteriously survived a car accident in which her friends all died when their car sunk in a river after a drag race. We get an indication that Mary has changed since the accident as she decides to leave town and become an organist for a church at Salk Lake City. It is through her travels that we start to see her dilemma: she starts seeing a creepy looking man staring at her. As the movie goes on, Mary finds herself going crazy when whatever turn she makes, this spooky looking man just keeps popping out and walking towards her. It also gets even stranger when Mary starts walking around and tries to interact with people but instead is ignored, people around her being unable to see or hear her.

There isn't too much to say about the plot. It is a relatively simple story but Harvey, who also plays the spooky spectre dude, does a great job in building tension and using simplicity to actually get you uneasy. There's some wonderful scenes throughout the movie of the Man just looking at Mary, just standing simply next to her with a small smile on his face that is so effectively creepy that you just can't help but enjoy this film. The music also helps too. Now there are some errors in this film, that mostly being sound errors. There are times when Mary's fingers on the key boards of the piano doesn't match the music playing nor when she's running does the sound of the clicking heels match, but those small little ticks adds some weird charm to this already weird film. Man, do I love these creepy old black and white horror movies. I watch films like this and just get inspired.


Diana_Fan said...

It is truly one of the creepiest films I've ever seen. And i've been watching horror films for the past 30+ years.

I think Carnival of Souls is absolutely brilliant filmmaking, and it's what we're missing so often today.

Great grab.

Cyberschizoid said...

I agree. This movie is awesome. So atmospheric. Looks like it was an influence on Romero's Night of the Living Dead.