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Carnival of Souls (1962).

April 24, 2007

The Scoop:
I suppose you could call this the “Blair Witch Project” of its time — a low budget, independently-produced film that cranks up the spook factor. Except “Carnival of Souls” is much scarier. A young woman (Candice Hilligoss) mysteriously survives a watery car crash and begins having strange experiences. To say much more would be giving too much away.

Even with so many of the filmmaking “seams” showing (not to mention that some of the best shocks have been ripped off countless times over the years), the imagery will stay with you for a long time. Creeeeeeepy. We dare you to watch it alone!

Best Bit:
The dancing.

Side Note:
The “carnival” of the title is an abandoned amusement park located on a dried-up shore of the Great Salt Lake in Utah. Director Herk Harvey first noticed the building on a cross-country driving trip and was so taken by the desolation that he and friend John Clifford wrote a script around it, and eventually got permission to film there.

Companion Viewing:
“The Haunting” (1963) and “Lost Highway” (1997).

Links:
IMDb.
The Dead Rabbit Movie Vault.
An interview with cinematographer Maurice Prather.<

Take a Look:
The trailer:

And you can see the whole thing over at the Internet Moving Picture Archive.

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