Review of Carnival of Souls

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Year: 1962 - Runtime: 84 - Director: Herk Harvey - Writer(s): John Clifford
Country: USA - Language: English - Parental Guide: PG - Color: Color

Review of Carnival of SoulsRating: ★★★★½☆☆☆☆☆


Carnival of Souls is a film that has a well known reputation as cult classic and for good reason. Mary Henry’s life goes terribly wrong when she accepts race that leads her to crash off a bridge and plunge into the muddy waters below. Everyone thinks the three girls in the died, but Mary Henry emerges out of the river unscaved. She now sets out to start a new life as an organ player (which everyone agrees is better than an organ donor). But she finds her self haunted by men in white-face and the idea that she doesn’t quite belong.

Reason to Watch

This is a cult classic, it is kinda spooky, kinda weird and the man sharing her bed and breakfast is kinda creepy. Makes for some good viewing.


Clocking in a micro budget, director Herk Harvey intended the the film to only ever be seen as B-Movie. It flopped at the cinema and really found a home and an audience on late night TV.

Most Memorable Quote(s)

“I don’t know those big words, I’m just an ordinary guy who works in a warehouse.”
“You had a fright, hysteria won’t solve anything.”
“I am a person of strong will, the time to go out there is now and if have to, I will go out alone.”
“I not only drink really, I really drink.”

What You Need to Get Through This Movie

Plaster on a face mask so you like one of the ghouls, turn out all the lights and get shit faced on Whisky because you don’t just want to really like this film, you want to like this film really drunk. If you are going to make night of it, you might consider getting in Night of the Living Dead too and making it a double feature.


David Lynch named this film as being an influence for his “Lost Highway”.
Star Candace Hilligoss was a Lee Strasberg-trained actress, however Carnival of Souls was one of only 2 films she appeared.
Director Herk Harvey plays the man in white face who freaks out Mary throughout the film.

Educational Content

1. Women can’t drive straight.
2. Men in white face is scary, men in black face is racist.
3. Souls enjoy a nice slow dance.
4. Church organ players don’t have to believe in God and can earn a pretty good wage.

Justification for Rating

So the ending is not going surprise anyone, but other than that there is a lot to like. For a small budget B-Movie it is actually quite scary, but then director Herk Harvey did spend his career making social guidance films like “What About Alcoholism?”, “Make Your Home Safe” and the truly shocking “Pork: The Meal with a Squeal”. This film gets 4.5 for giving me the willies when I watch it alone and laughs when I watch it with friends. A cult classic that should make up the corner stone of any horror DVD (download) collection.

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