Tom Humberstone


horror month - day 22

Carnival of Souls (1962)

"I don't belong in the world."

Quick summary: After a Back to the Future style traffic light race, there's a fatal car accident and lone survivor Mary moves to Utah to try and start a new life. But Mary is haunted by a mysterious, ghostly figure.

This is the only film by director Herk Harvey (he also stars in the film as "The Man") who shot it on a tiny budget with just five other crew members. It only became a cult classic many years after it's release. There's a lot of PTSD, survivor's guilt and existential themes threaded throughout that create a real sense of isolation and loneliness. It's in the quiet melancholy where the film really builds terror, but in the rare moments of effects driven horror it really creates some memorable images.

That pervasive organ score is incredibly unsettling.

I loved the credits at the start and the typography for the title itself.

You can see the film's influence on Romero's Night of the Living Dead and on David Lynch - "The Man" reminded me a lot of the antagonist in Lost Highway.

The ending wasn't a surprise but was satisfying and again, you can it's influence on a lot of films since. Trying to avoid spoilers here...

Tonight: Finally going to sit down and watch Repulsion (1965).