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"Carnival of Souls" Reviews/Discussion - 2015 Horror Challenge

Old 09-23-15, 12:10 AM
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"Carnival of Souls" Reviews/Discussion - 2015 Horror Challenge





Carnival of Souls (1962)



Selected by The Masses



IMDB ENTRY

ON YOUTUBE

ALYXSTARR LINK

ALYXSTARR LINK WITH COMMENTARY

_______________________________________


These "October Horror Movie Challenge" threads are for the discussion of the films in the 31 FILM SUBSET list.

The plan is for everyone to watch this film on the October day in the thread title, and to start discussing it the morning of the following day.
You may start discussion early if you want, but the preferred plan is for this to be as much of a group exercise as possible, with all of us viewing it "together" and discussing after.

Of course, you are totally encouraged to participate in these threads even if you haven't watched the movie on the designated day.
Even if you haven't watched it in years, or are not participating in the Horror Challenge, please feel free to chime in.



Spoiler tags aren't always used in here, so if you have yet to see the film BEWARE OF POSSIBLE SPOILERS.
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2015 DISCUSSION | 2015 LISTS


Last edited by Chad; 10-01-15 at 08:03 PM.
Old 09-23-15, 11:58 AM
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Re: "Carnival of Souls" Reviews/Discussion - 2015 Horror Challenge

So, this the September 30th vote winner then?
Old 09-23-15, 05:33 PM
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Re: "Carnival of Souls" Reviews/Discussion - 2015 Horror Challenge

Yep. I reserved using dates for the "official" picks.

Very tight race between this and The Blob, BTW.
Old 09-30-15, 05:53 PM
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Re: "Carnival of Souls" Reviews/Discussion - 2015 Horror Challenge

Queueing this up to start soon. It's getting dark!
Old 09-30-15, 09:44 PM
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Re: "Carnival of Souls" Reviews/Discussion - 2015 Horror Challenge

Despite some slow pacing I love the creepy imagery and 'twist' in Carnival of Souls the organ score is perfect and helps maintain a sense of ethereal paranoia. The scene in the department store where suddenly no one acknowledged her is especially good but maybe broadcasts things too much. Great use of scenery.

Many other actors would have seemed really campy as the ghastly vision but that guy really nails the wide eyed smirk.

My three year old watched part of this with me, then kept asking me to rewind it to the store scene - I didn't expect he could follow it that well.

Last edited by Undeadcow; 09-30-15 at 09:55 PM.
Old 09-30-15, 11:14 PM
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Re: "Carnival of Souls" Reviews/Discussion - 2015 Horror Challenge

I think this was one freaky movie. I loved the minimal make-up used to really make the "people" look eerie. It's hard to believe that I have never seen this but it was well worth watching. I should watch something else just to keep from having nightmares tonight but I'm too tired. Hopefully everyone in my dreams looks normal and people don't start ignoring me.
Old 09-30-15, 11:18 PM
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Re: "Carnival of Souls" Reviews/Discussion - 2015 Horror Challenge

Just got done watching this, it is a second viewing but I don't really remember the first time. I enjoyed it quite a bit as I like surreal like movies and this does it well. I love the atmosphere it creates reminds me of a twilight zone episode in a good way. I can see it's influence on later films that employ similar twists which I also enjoyed.
Old 10-01-15, 12:22 AM
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Re: "Carnival of Souls" Reviews/Discussion - 2015 Horror Challenge

Nice way to start the challenge. Makes me realize I've watched very few "older" horror films. That's something I need to correct.
Old 10-01-15, 12:45 AM
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Re: "Carnival of Souls" Reviews/Discussion - 2015 Horror Challenge

Originally Posted by Cardsfan111
Nice way to start the challenge. Makes me realize I've watched very few "older" horror films. That's something I need to correct.
Definitely! I'm a huge fan of older horror films; if it's pre-70s, I'm pretty much always on board!

This was the second time I'd seen this film, and I found it just as engaging and unsettling as the first time. It amazes me that a film this complex and ambitious could be made as quickly and cheaply as it was. Sadly, it seems that most of the people associated with the film didn't have the opportunity to do much more. This was the director's only feature, and Candace Hilligoss was only in a handful of movies.

There are several essays about the film on Criterion's website that are worth reading. They explore the various influences on the film (Cocteau, Bergman) as well as the later films that are indebted to it (Night of the Living Dead). I'm wondering if Joss Whedon was influenced by it; the Gentlemen from the fan favorite episode "Hush" look a lot like the ghouls chasing Mary.
Old 10-01-15, 09:06 AM
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Re: "Carnival of Souls" Reviews/Discussion - 2015 Horror Challenge

Didn't love it, but I didn't hate it either. I've heard my mother's best friend rave about this movie for over 20 years, so I probably went in with my expectations far too high.

I loved the main character and seeing her trying to move on, trying so figure out what's going on. I did not love the dreamy, otherworldly scenes, such as the dancing. The scenes where no one acknowledged her were effectively creepy, but the more fantastical scenes gave it a different feel that didn't work for me.

I found myself sort of fixated on the creepy guy. She's all, I don't need no man, and the next scene she's all I can't live without you. He's waving red flags all over the place and she's all like, yay, free coffee. Like, what?
Old 10-01-15, 09:38 AM
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Re: "Carnival of Souls" Reviews/Discussion - 2015 Horror Challenge

This was the first time I watched the film although I've known of it for many, many years and its influence on the genre.

It definitely was slow paced and seemed about 20 minutes too long. The score was pretty creepy. It is especially creepy when you take in account when this film was released.

The acting was good, the cast fit their roles well and looked the part. The facial expressions by the lead actress, Candace Hilligoss, were great and added to the creepy feel of the movie.

The end twist is a bit predictable for viewers who have seen a lot of this type of supernatural movie but I thought they pulled off the premise of her being in both worlds well by using somewhat subtle ways of letting the audience in on when her two worlds were crossing over at the beginning and then gradually making that very clear.

Also, I liked that the more she crossed over it seemed it was harder for her to keep herself in the world of the living. I really seemed to like the internal dialogue Mary had with herself at the end. I think it would have worked very well a little sooner in the movie. I can see a bit of what may have inspired Insidious in this movie and maybe a touch of Final Destination.

I would give this movie a thumbs up - 3 out of 5 stars - and recommend to other seasoned horror fans. The casual fan probably wouldn't watch the whole movie although I think it would be worth their time.
Old 10-01-15, 09:41 AM
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Re: "Carnival of Souls" Reviews/Discussion - 2015 Horror Challenge

Every year there's a film that makes me question why someone as easily-spooked and made insomniac as I often am even dares to take part in this challenge... I enjoy it thoroughly, and most things are either distant enough from reality or watched at a reasonable time/place to be 'safe'. But there's usually one (or dozens).

And this year it was #1.

This was exactly the sort of creepy-imagery, worrying-overtones kind-of films that bothers me - more so in a house that creaks and has animals jumping out/making noise as inopportune times - thanks to the well-cast 'scare-y faces' of the main two faces lingered on. The film itself was fairly short on plot, I felt, but the repeated silent, wide-eyed faces were very creepy. It seemed a little ambiguous towards the end, and then seemed to stop quite suddenly, but overall quite enjoyable... if that's the right word.

Now to psyche myself up for a month of worrisome watching...

Last edited by ntnon; 10-01-15 at 09:52 AM.
Old 10-01-15, 10:34 AM
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Re: "Carnival of Souls" Reviews/Discussion - 2015 Horror Challenge

I've always really enjoyed this movie. I remember seeing bits and pieces of this really LATE at night, when me and my brother would watch horror movies under the bed hidden from my mother. Had such a Twilight Zone vibe to it, and I love the music.
Old 10-01-15, 11:56 AM
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Re: "Carnival of Souls" Reviews/Discussion - 2015 Horror Challenge

A Challenge or three ago may have been the first time I watched this film, and I hope I loved it then too.

Great creepiness vibe, and such a beautiful and sympathetic lead actress. It's a shame that she did very little other work.

The Criterion two disc set is fantastic.
Old 10-01-15, 01:57 PM
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Re: "Carnival of Souls" Reviews/Discussion - 2015 Horror Challenge

I must agree, great way to start the challenge.

Side note... I generally have an anti-foot fetish, but the walking in the mud at the beginning of this is kinda hot.
Old 10-01-15, 05:30 PM
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Re: "Carnival of Souls" Reviews/Discussion - 2015 Horror Challenge

Good movie, but nothing earth shattering in my opinion. Was well done and had scenes that must have been downright scary in 1962 but now, not so much. The dance scene and the scene where no one acknowledged her were the best IMO... but it seemed too obvious for me. I've seen it once before, but even then I thought it was obvious.
Old 10-01-15, 06:11 PM
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Re: "Carnival of Souls" Reviews/Discussion - 2015 Horror Challenge

Originally Posted by Dick Laurent
I must agree, great way to start the challenge.

Side note... I generally have an anti-foot fetish, but the walking in the mud at the beginning of this is kinda hot.
I'm generally not into feet at all, and I might be confusing movies already, but I think there was a nice close-up off her feet later as well, next to a piano iirc.
Old 10-01-15, 07:04 PM
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Re: "Carnival of Souls" Reviews/Discussion - 2015 Horror Challenge

This is probably my 5th or 6th viewing of this movie and I enjoyed it very much this time around. I will say that the movie makes much more sense now, and that the directors cut flows better than the theatrical. This movie has a great creepy atmosphere and I believe that is a big part of what makes it work so well, It is sorta like a nightmare.
Old 10-01-15, 07:20 PM
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Re: "Carnival of Souls" Reviews/Discussion - 2015 Horror Challenge

I adore this film. Remember it got a theatrical re-release in 1989 and I've been a fan ever since. Adore the Criterion edition. It's creepy and compelling.
Old 10-01-15, 10:34 PM
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Re: "Carnival of Souls" Reviews/Discussion - 2015 Horror Challenge

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the main Ghoul actually the director of the film as well?
Old 10-02-15, 10:16 AM
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Re: "Carnival of Souls" Reviews/Discussion - 2015 Horror Challenge

Originally Posted by DaveyJoe
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the main Ghoul actually the director of the film as well?
He is listed as uncredited on imdb. I hope he did all of his directing duties in that horrific makeup.
Old 10-03-15, 02:06 PM
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Re: "Carnival of Souls" Reviews/Discussion - 2015 Horror Challenge

Originally Posted by Trevor
I'm generally not into feet at all, and I might be confusing movies already, but I think there was a nice close-up off her feet later as well, next to a piano iirc.
Originally Posted by indiephantom
I adore this film. Remember it got a theatrical re-release in 1989 and I've been a fan ever since. Adore the Criterion edition. It's creepy and compelling.
Trevor's right--at one point she's playing the organ and she's kicked off her shoes to better feel the organ pedals. I have a couple of friends who are organists, and this is something that they do as well. Score one for Herk Harvey's eye for verisimilitude.

I caught this on its theatrical re-release in 1989 as well. It really works well on a big screen with an audience...or at least it did when I saw it.

This viewing, I didn't enjoy it quite as much as I have in the past. I don't feel that it has quite enough depth to reward multiple viewings. Certain deficiencies in the film (such as the post-synching of dialogue) also become a lot more obvious the more times that you see it. I still think that it's an essential part of every horror fan's knowledge base, but the film's real power lies in the impact of a first-time viewing.

And now, from the sublime to the instructional, another film from the film-making team of Herk Harvey and John Clifford:

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/v26fTGBEi9E" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Last edited by rbrown498; 10-03-15 at 02:15 PM.
Old 10-03-15, 02:38 PM
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Re: "Carnival of Souls" Reviews/Discussion - 2015 Horror Challenge

Originally Posted by rbrown498
This viewing, I didn't enjoy it quite as much as I have in the past. I don't feel that it has quite enough depth to reward multiple viewings. Certain deficiencies in the film (such as the post-synching of dialogue) also become a lot more obvious the more times that you see it. I still think that it's an essential part of every horror fan's knowledge base, but the film's real power lies in the impact of a first-time viewing.
That's one benefit of my fairly weak memory. Every time I watch anything, it's pretty much a first time viewing.
Old 10-05-15, 11:29 AM
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Re: "Carnival of Souls" Reviews/Discussion - 2015 Horror Challenge

Originally Posted by Undeadcow
Despite some slow pacing I love the creepy imagery and 'twist' in Carnival of Souls the organ score is perfect and helps maintain a sense of ethereal paranoia. The scene in the department store where suddenly no one acknowledged her is especially good but maybe broadcasts things too much. Great use of scenery.

Many other actors would have seemed really campy as the ghastly vision but that guy really nails the wide eyed smirk.
Originally Posted by orlmac
I think this was one freaky movie. I loved the minimal make-up used to really make the "people" look eerie. It's hard to believe that I have never seen this but it was well worth watching. I should watch something else just to keep from having nightmares tonight but I'm too tired. Hopefully everyone in my dreams looks normal and people don't start ignoring me.
Originally Posted by arw6040
Just got done watching this, it is a second viewing but I don't really remember the first time. I enjoyed it quite a bit as I like surreal like movies and this does it well. I love the atmosphere it creates reminds me of a twilight zone episode in a good way. I can see it's influence on later films that employ similar twists which I also enjoyed.
Great thoughts. The more I think about it the more I love this film.

I wish I could get my wife and daughter to watch classics like this. They both hate gore and really scary films, but should be able to appreciate a film like this. That is, if either one of them had an attention span longer than 15 minutes, and my daughter would watch something in black and white.
Old 10-06-15, 11:45 AM
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Re: "Carnival of Souls" Reviews/Discussion - 2015 Horror Challenge

If anyone got tricked into watching this from that poster, I bet they were pretty disappointed by the lack of action.

I've never been in love with this movie but it's something that I don't mind watching repeatedly. It's a good movie.

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