Carnival of Souls | Chicago Reader

Carnival of Souls

The main disappointment of this 1962 black-and-white cult horror film—made for $30,000 by two industrial filmmakers, director Herk Harvey and screenwriter John Clifford, on location in Kansas and Utah—is that, despite the low budget, uneven acting, clunky editing, corny music, tatty ghoul makeup, and familiar story (one of many variants of Ambrose Bierce's “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”), it still isn't very good even as camp. There's a certain interest in the period flavor and the very un-Hollywoodish actors (Candace Hilligoss, Sidney Berger, Frances Feist, Stanley Leavitt, and Art Ellison), and decent cinematography by Maurice Prather, but apart from a slight creepiness in the overall story and ambience (a church organist emerges from a car wreck to find herself intermittently pursued by demons and treated by others as invisible), there isn't very much here to sustain interest.

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