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Carnival of Souls
Coridors of Evil

USA 1962
produced by
Herk Harvey for Harcourt Productions
directed by Herk Harvey
starring Candayce Hilligoss, Frances Feist, Sidney Berger, Art Ellison, Stan Levitt, Tom McGinnis, Forbes Caldwell, Dan Palmquist, Bill de Jarnette, Steve Boozer, Pamela Ballard, Larry Sneegas, Cari Conboy, Karen Pyles, T.C. Adams, Sharon Scoville, Mary Ann Harris, Peter Schnitzler, Bill Sollner, Herk Harvey
written by John Clifford, music by Gene Moore

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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During a fun drag race on the open street, a car falls off a bridge into a river ... & the authorities do their best to retrieve the car, but since the river is quite muddy, with no success, & there semks no hope for thjose in the car ... until one of them, Mary Henry (Candace Hilligoss), mysteriously emerges from the water, even if she has been down there for 3 hours, & what's more, she seems to be unscathed, more than a bit shaken perhaps, but unscathed.

Soon after the accident, Mary decides to move to Utah to start a new job as church organist, but even on her drive to Utah, a creepy old man, a ghoul perhaps, haunts her & on one occasion forces her to drive her car off the road.

In the village Mary has moved to, it's not getting any better, the ghoul seems to haunt her, be it at the house she has rented a room in or in the church. As a result, the shy Mary gets even less sociable, & at first spurns all the avances of her next door neighbour Johnny (Sidney Berger). Her state even worsens when she realizes she sometimes seems to fade out of reality - meaning noone does any longer notice her, while she cannot hear anything.She visits a psychiatrist (Stan Levitt), but he can't help her either, as he wants to convince her it's only her imagination.

Soon Mary thinks the answers to everything lie in a nearby rundown, abandoned pavillon, & thinks when she visits the place, this might turn everything back to normal again. The place itself seems harmless enough, & for a while she is calmed down, but that night, when practicing her organplaying in church, her mind wanders of seeing a plethora of dancing zombies & the like, & eventually she starts playing what the minister (Art Ellison) of the church labels as profane music ... & because she plays this kind of music, he throws her out.

That same evening, Johnny has finally managed to land a date with Mary, & even though she seems to be gloomy all evening & is less than entertaining company, he can somehow get her to invite him to her room ... but right before they can get started dong you-know-what, Mary sees the ghoul again & has a nervous breakdown, & Johnny, who was expecting something else, leaves her on her own ...

The next day, Mary leaves her appartment without a word with all her things, desperately wanting to get away, but soon enough, at the busstation, she seems to fade out of reality again, & her psychiatrist has turned into the ghoul and ... that last bit obviously was a dream, but to get it al behind her, Mary decides to head for the pavillon again, where she finds the zombies dancing, & they invite her to join ... & when she refuses they hunt her down and ...

At the pavillon, a group of men looking for her find her traces all of a sudden leading to nowhere as if she has disappeared into thin air ...

Back at the bridge where Mary had her accident, the authorities have finally managed to get the car out of the river ... & Mary's dead body is in it.

 

Carnival of Souls couldn't be more different from the sensationalistic shocks & hokum monsters you'd come to expect from an early 60's independently produced cheap horror film: This is a deliberately slow moving elegiac little spooker that relies on its creepy concepts which are translated onto screen with a genuine feeling for the proper atmosphere that easily overcome the not all that good actors or lack of a real budget, which shows that with real talent one doesn't need much to make a good film.

Not surprisingly, the film was not a big success upon its release, but over the years has become a fan favourite. Recommended.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD