Carnival Of Souls (1962)

carnival of souls 1962

If I live to be a thousand I will never figure out why this has such a cult following. Candace Hilligoss has to carry the whole thing and she’s not all that bad. Everyone else is horrendous and for what’s supposed to be a horror movie it’s a total failure.

Mary Henry (Candace Hilligoss) is in a car with two friends that goes over a bridge into a lake. They were challenged to a drag race and this is how it ended up. A search is on for the car when all of a sudden…there’s Mary.

She’s the church organist in town and is leaving for another job. Driving along she keeps seeing what looks like a dead man popping up everywhere. At one point she even runs off the road. That happens when she passes an abandoned lakeside carnival.

In town she stays at a rooming house. The only other tenant is John Linden (Sidney Berger). He knocks on her door. Thinking it’s the landlady with something to eat she opens the door. She just came out of the bathtub. Johnny likes what he sees and puts the moves on. She freezes him out.

At the church the minister really likes the way she plays. He takes her for a drive in the country and she asks to see the abandoned carnival. He takes her there but won’t let her go past the barricade to see the inside. He doesn’t want to break the law.

On a shopping trip she tries a dress on and the dressing room door seems to be locked. She finally gets out. No one can see or hear her. She can see people but not hear them. She runs outside and the sound comes back. She sees the man again and runs into a doctor. She tells him her story and thinks she’s suffering from hysteria.

Back home she finally agrees to have Johnny meet her outside the church after she gets some practice in. Once again she’s taken over and starts playing some strange music. The minister is shocked and fires her.

Johnny takes her to a roadhouse for some booze and dancing. She’s not into it and he’s getting annoyed. She finally agrees to go back to the rooming house. In her room Johnny is encouraged. She looks in the mirror and sees the phantom’s face on Johnny. She screams. He thinks she’s nuts and bolts out the door.

The next day she packs up and leaves. She stops in a gas station because her transmission is acting up. She stays in the car when the mechanic raises the lift. Once again she’s taken over. She runs outside and heads to a bus station. No one can see or hear her.

The movie has about fifteen minutes to go. Something has to happen doesn’t it?….Doesn’t it?….Is that it? What a total bore. The payoff is given away in the first five minutes. This is a huge disappointment. Loud organ music is used to try for a creep factor but it doesn’t work.

Candace Hilligoss only did a few movies and TV episodes. I wonder what would happen if she was given decent material.

Candace Hilligoss as Mary Henry

Candace Hilligoss as Mary Henry

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About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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3 Responses to Carnival Of Souls (1962)

  1. Joachim Boaz says:

    I guess my experience watching it was similar to watching Detour (1945) — both are so bad that for some reason people elevate them as some distillation of the genre… Detour for me was far more agonizing to slog through than this one though..

  2. vintage45 says:

    People that liked Detour always site the performance of Ann Savage as the main reason for liking it. I’d seen her in various comedic roles before Detour and it was interesting seeing her as the woman from Hell. That role made her career and there were even Detour conventions for a while. She would show up and the crowd would go nuts.

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