Carnival of Souls (1962)

“It’s funny . . . the world is so different in the daylight. In the dark, your fantasies get so out of hand. But in the daylight everything falls back into place again.” The low-budget but highly influential atmospheric horror classic Carnival of Souls was made for just over $30,000 and filmed in three weeks in Lawrence, Kansas, and at the Saltair Amusement Park outside Salt Lake City. The soul survivor of a “joy ride” turned tragic, a rather bland young woman named Mary Henry (Candace Hilligoss) starts to experience disturbing visions after she takes a job as a church organist. Carnival of Souls, which features an eerie organ score and was produced and directed by Herk Harvey (who also appears as a ghoulish figure in the film), has served as the inspiration for a slew of horror movies – from Night of the Living Dead and Eraserhead to The Sixth Sense. Skip the awful 1998 remake that bears little resemblance to the original. Hilligoss also appeared in The Curse of the Living Corpse (1964).

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