For Reel

Carnival of Souls (1962)
November 6, 2016, 9:58 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Herk Harvey
5 Stars
carnival-of-soulsIn Carnival of Souls, a woman (Candace Hilligoss) survives a car crash and spends the immediate aftermath seeming to flicker in and out of the world—one minute, she interacts with those around her just as she ordinarily would, and in the next, she cannot be seen nor heard. Just as her own physical existence seems mutable, so too do the rules of the world around her. Haunted by a ghostly specter (Herk Harvey), she often finds those around her being physically substituted by the pale man who ceaselessly pursuits her. Carnival of Souls‘ dealings with the transience of reality and unreality are only aided by its low-budget aesthetic—if the raw, verite-like images set in a boarding house or a garage feel lived-in in a way that movie sets cannot, Harvey utilizes the haunting shell of dance hall palace as an image that seemingly marks a portal between dimensions, a vessel of decay that comes alive with the ghostly apparitions that torment Hilligoss. Gene Moore’s organ score is as memorable as the horror genre has heard, and along with Hervey’s startling images wherein “the man” appears in everyday life, it maintains the unsettling, genuinely frighting atmosphere.