Carnival of Souls (1962)
Reviewed on 2010 October 26
This is a cult movie that I got to see years after hearing about it, and it’s one of those things that is just eerie and disturbing on a level that blood ’n’ guts seldom reach (though I have high hopes for Super 8 next summer). It’s one of those things that may not really get to you while you watch it, but if it does it for you, wait till you try to go to sleep the night you watch it.
After an accident, Mary (Candace Hilligoss) decides to leave her town and start over, but her life just isn’t rebooting as it should. She gets a room at boarding house in Utah and lands a job as a church organist, but she has a hard time connecting with the people, plus she keeps driving past an abandoned pavilion, an old amusement park and dance hall at the end of a pier, that holds an unhealthy fascination for her. The worst part is someone or something is chasing her, but nobody else can believe her.
I don’t know what impresses me more, the fact that director Herk Harvey cranked this creepy thing out in three weeks or the fact that he did it for $30,000. That’s a nice wad of cash for 1962, but it’s still a tiny amount of money to make a feature length film, unless you want to Swede the thing. I guess if necessity is the mother of invention, being broke can be its daddy. That Saltair Pavilion was a perfect setting for this. As a nice Halloween present, TCM now has it as part of their On Demand movie line up, so you can check it out yourself.
Three chocolate morsels.