Review: ‘Carnival of Souls’

Occasionally a feature film emerges from the midwest, although this is the first ever out of Lawrence, Kans, where a group of commercial film pros veered off into a try at producing theatrical entertainment.

Occasionally a feature film emerges from the midwest, although this is the first ever out of Lawrence, Kans, where a group of commercial film pros veered off into a try at producing theatrical entertainment.

Carnival of Souls is a creditable can of film considering it was put together for less than $100,000.

The ghost story, on a format more familiar in literature, has Candace Hilligoss, a dressy blonde, and a couple of gal pals, nudged off of a bridge and a watery death in the swirling river. She surprisingly emerges from the river and goes on to an eerie existence as a new organist at a Salt Lake City church.

An old pavilion in a sad state of disintegration peculiarly fascinates her, but pasty faces and fantasies swirl about her, and intermittently head ghost (director Hark Harvey) appears from mirrors and pools to chill her and the audience. In the end the battered car is dragged from the river.

It isn’t enough story to prevail, but there is a fair share of suspense and some moments of good comedy. Veteran trouper Frances Feist is standout as the landlady who rents a room to the lithesome haunt, and Hilligoss with a sort of misty quality about her does creditably as the lovely soul without a heart. Sidney Berger, University of Kansas speech instructor, does well with the role of the roomer across the hall who would like to make out with the fascinating phantom.

Most of the technical crew have some affiliation with Centron Studios, commercial film producers at Lawrence, and interiors were shot there.

Carnival of Souls

Production

Harcourt. Director Hark Harvey; Producer Hark Harvey; Screenplay John Clifford; Camera Maurice Prather; Editor Dan Palmquist, Bill DeJarnette; Music Gene Moore

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1962. Running time: 80 MIN.

With

Candace Hilligoss Frances Feist Sidney Berger Stanley Leavitt Art Ellison Herk Harvey
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