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Carnival of Souls

Special Edition, The Criterion Collection


4.2 out of 5 stars 330 customer reviews

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(May 16, 2000)
The Criterion Collection
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Mary Henry (Candace Hilligoss) survives a drag race in a rural Kansas town, then takes a job as a church organist in Salt Lake City. En route, she becomes haunted by a bizarre apparition that compels her to an abandoned lakeside pavillion. Herk Harvey's macabre masterpiece gained a cult following on late night television and has been bootlegged for years. Made by industrial filmmakers on a modest budget, "Carnival of Souls" was intended to have the "look of a Bergman" and "feel of a Cocteau," and succeeds with its strikingly-used locations and spooky organ score.


An ultra-cheap B-horror movie, filmed in Lawrence, Kansas, in 1962, with a really creepy Twilight Zone-style premise and some great shoestring atmosphere. Wandering into a small town after an auto accident, to begin her new job as a church organist, young Mary Henry (Candace Hilligoss) begins to pick up strange vibes: none of the normal people in town seem to be able to see her, and she keeps being accosted by freakish pasty-faced types who seem to be dead on their feet. The nightmarish finale benefits from its one-of-a-kind "found" setting, an empty amusement park rising like a ghostly castle from the prairie landscape. This is much less aggressive and violent film than George Romero's original Night of the Living Dead, but for sheer skin- crawling spookiness, it's in the same class. --David Chute --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Special features

  • Contains both the original theatrical version (78 min.) and the extended director's cut (83 min.) on two separate discs
  • Disc One: Luminous new digital transfer of the original theatrical version of the film; The Movie That Wouldn't Die! The Story of Carnival of Souls, a documentary on the 1989 reunion of the cast and crew; More than 45 minutes of rare outtakes accompanied by Gene Moore's organ score; Theatrical trailer; An illustrated history of the Saltair resort in Salt Lake City; The Carnival Tour, a video update on the film's locations
  • Disc Two: The extended director's cut of the film; One hour of excerpts from films made by the Centron Corporation, an industrial film company based in Lawrence, Kansas that employed Harvey and Clifford for over 30 years; An essay on the history of Centron from Mental Hygiene, Ken Smith's new book on industrial and educational filmmaking; Tom Weaver's printed interviews with Harvey, Clifford and star Candace Hilligoss, illustrated with vintage photos and memorabilia

Product details

  • Actors: Candace Hilligoss, Frances Feist, Sidney Berger, Art Ellison, Stan Levitt
  • Directors: Herk Harvey
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, NTSC, Special Edition
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: May 16, 2000
  • Run Time: 161 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 330 customer reviews
  • ASIN: 1559409002
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #104,258 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
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  • Learn more about "Carnival of Souls (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

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