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Carnival of Souls


2.8 out of 5 stars (35) IMDb 3.2/10

Twenty years ago, Alex Grant witnessed the brutal murder of her mother. Ever since, she has been haunted by hallucinations and nightmares of the horrible crime and the killer.

Bobbie Phillips, Shawnee Smith
1 hour, 26 minutes

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Thomas M. Sipos VINE VOICE on June 16, 2000
Format: DVD
This film is a remake of the 1962 horror classic of the same name. The 1962 original was atmospheric, darkly poetic, haunting; its story a subtle balance between two alternate interpretations.
This is none of those. This remake is a clunky mess, arbitrarily meandering through pointless scenes and aimless "monsters" lifted from JACOB'S LADDER.
Aside from the monsters, a line, too, is lifted from JACOB'S LADDER. The one about demons and angels. This makes *some* sense, as both the original CARNIVAL OF SOULS and JACOB'S LADDER are inspired by Bierce's "Occurance at Owl Creek Bridge."
The 1962 film had a beginning, a middle, and a twist ending. This 1998 remake has numerous beginnings, middles, and ends. Scenes switch back and forth as the lead character keeps "waking up" to indicate that all that went on before was a dream. If not for the rough road map provided by the original film, we'd have an even murkier idea of what's going on.
Basically, a woman drives into the river, and at times seems to have escaped, at times is just now escaping, at times appears never to have driven into the river at all...
Not clever, just confused and confusing.
The original film's cool lead actress portrayed a young woman afraid of life, who "hadn't really lived." It was subtle, yet the point was made. In this new version, the character helpfully tells the audience that she "hasn't lived," in case we don't "get it."
The pedophilia "update" to the original film's storyline doesn't add anything.
This 1998 film's lead actress, Bobbie Phillips, guest-starred as the "bug woman" in THE X-FILES.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
Well, this would-be remake strays so far from the original source material that it's almost a disadvantage to be familiar with the '62 film! This '98 film basically works on its own terms, but with a quite different overall effect. It ends up feeling more like a very jumbled murder mystery than a mysterious horror thriller, but they both should fare well with repeated viewings. If the '98 film had only employed a slightly more conventionally linear narrative structure, especially in the beginning, it would have captured the elusive feeling and style of the original. But as it is...
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Format: DVD
A young girl sees her mother violently killed at the hands of the live-in boyfriend (who also happens to be a carnival clown). Later as an adult she is haunted by her past when the carnival comes back to town.

I loved the original black and white Carnival of Souls movie and I'm usually a little skittish about remakes. I must admit that I was given some forewarning that Wes Craven changed the plot in this one, which probably helped my overall take on it. So from the start I wasn't expecting much.

In this version the girl and her sister own a bar. There is no church and no organ music, which takes away from the eeriness that we all loved. Hmm how to describe? In another review someone described the original b&w movie as being "darkly poetic and haunting," which can't be said any better. In this version, Wes Craven turns the carnival into a brighter, more chaotic and psychotic place. The ending is similar in the sense that everything is not what it seemed, but obviously with the different plot comes an entirely new scene.

Shawnee Smith is in this film, which is a definite bonus. Also Larry Miller plays a great sicko clown!

I'm giving the movie a 2.5. Compared to the original, the movie deserves a 1 or less. However, anyone who enjoys Wes Craven flicks and sees this movie before seeing the original will probably enjoy it enough to rate it a 3 or 4. So I'll be generous and rate in the middle.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
As most reviews have mentioned on here, this Carnival of Souls is a remake of the 1962 Carnival of Souls. And while I haven't seen the original yet, I probably should've spent money on that one rather than spending money on the 1998 version.

This film revolves around our main protagonist, Alex Grant. 20 years before, Alex witnessed the rape and murder of her mother at the hands of a sadistic carnival clown named Louis Seagram. 20 years later, Alex and her sister, Sandra are grown up and working as bartenders, while Louis has just been released from prison, just as the anniversary of their mother's death is approaching.

One night as she enters her car, she's confronted by Louis who snuck into her car and pulls a gun on her. In order to escape him, Alex drives her car off a dock and into a lake, which sets off a chain of haunting events.

From there on, Alex is haunted by a plague of evil and demonic-like visions while being tormented by Louis in a vile cat and mouse game of life or death.

Overall: Let me just start off by saying that if you want scares and kills, this movie is not for you. This is more of a psychological horror movie so the film focuses more on trying to get inside the character and viewer's mind rather than scaring. Unfortunately this movie turns out to be a complete bummer. I remember watching this many years ago but couldn't remember most of the film so I decided to buy it and watch it again. Not a good idea. The plot of it is great but the movie overall isn't all that great. The main reason being that it is extremely confusing and hard to keep up with. The movie constantly jumps all over the place from one setting to the next without there being any real explanation or reason why.
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