Carnival of Souls (1962) — Zombies go to the circus

“In the dark, your fantasies get so far out of hand.”

Nancy’s rating: Whoaoaoa!

Nancy’s review: Carnival Of Souls was a film I held in my hand at the local hip underground music store. With a crumpled five dollars in my pocket, it was a draw between that and L’il Abner. L’il Abner is a musical in which I sang in, and holds deep and important memories for me (Not really, but it was nice). L’il Abner had posterity. L’il Abner had nostalgia. But my shopping companion took one look at Carnival Of Souls and said “It’s you. You have to get it.” So I brought it to the counter, nodded with indie approval to the Hip Hipster, and brought it home to watch, hoping it would change me and rock my cinema world…forever.

It wasn’t bad. Like, I haven’t had an awesome intro in awhile, so there’s that. But, no, the plot is fantastic, a bunch of drag-racing dames* go over a bridge, but one comes out, so traumatized that she finds a new home in a new town as an organ player*, only to be revisited by visions* of zombies* haunting an old carnival*.

You get the picture.

It’s a very cool plot, and it has the feel of a lot of old Roger Corman movies. However, Roger Corman developed characters very very well, especially in Bucket of Blood. In this movie, Mary Henry is your stereotypical, two-dimensional traumatized drag-racing dame. Just because there isn’t a lot of them doesn’t mean it’s not a stereotype.

This is also a draw between a MST3K film and a genuine cool horror movie to watch by yourself. It has several tacky elements and a token alcoholic, but it also is genuinely eerie in some ways. But those some ways are MST3K ways. I don’t know. I’m absolutely torn. There are some severely eerie scenes on carnival grounds with haunting ghost zombies reaching out to grab our poor Mary Henry is severely disturbing.

*These are the words that I said with inflection, emphasizing coolness, when I read the back of the books.

Didja notice?

  • The mirror thing! It happens in Every! Damn! Horror! Movie!
  • Her finger actions don’t match the music on the organ when she plays it.

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