Herk Harvey

Carnival of Souls

Carnival of Souls

A young woman (Candace Hilligoss) in a small Kansas town survives a drag race accident, then agrees to take a job as a church organist in Salt Lake City. En route, she is haunted by a bizarre apparition that compels her toward an abandoned lakeside pavilion. Made by industrial filmmakers on a small budget, the eerily effective B-movie classic Carnival of Souls was intended to have “the look of a Bergman and the feel of a Cocteau”—and, with its strikingly used locations and spooky organ score, it succeeds. Herk Harvey’s macabre masterpiece gained a cult following on late-night television and continues to inspire filmmakers today.

Film Info

  • Herk Harvey
  • United States
  • 1962
  • 78 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.37:1
  • English
  • Spine #63

Special Features

  • New, restored 4K digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Selected-scene audio commentary featuring director Herk Harvey and screenwriter John Clifford
  • New interview with comedian and writer Dana Gould
  • New video essay by film critic David Cairns
  • The Movie That Wouldn’t Die!, a documentary on the 1989 reunion of the film’s cast and crew
  • The Carnival Tour, a 2000 update on the film’s locations
  • Excerpts from movies made by the Centron Corporation, an industrial film company based in Lawrence, Kansas, that once employed Harvey and Clifford
  • Deleted scenes
  • Outtakes, accompanied by Gene Moore’s organ score
  • History of the Saltair Resort in Salt Lake City, where key scenes in the film were shot
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by writer and programmer Kier-La Janisse

    New cover by Edward Kinsella

Purchase Options

Special Features

  • New, restored 4K digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Selected-scene audio commentary featuring director Herk Harvey and screenwriter John Clifford
  • New interview with comedian and writer Dana Gould
  • New video essay by film critic David Cairns
  • The Movie That Wouldn’t Die!, a documentary on the 1989 reunion of the film’s cast and crew
  • The Carnival Tour, a 2000 update on the film’s locations
  • Excerpts from movies made by the Centron Corporation, an industrial film company based in Lawrence, Kansas, that once employed Harvey and Clifford
  • Deleted scenes
  • Outtakes, accompanied by Gene Moore’s organ score
  • History of the Saltair Resort in Salt Lake City, where key scenes in the film were shot
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by writer and programmer Kier-La Janisse

    New cover by Edward Kinsella
Carnival of Souls
Cast
Candace Hilligoss
Mary Henry
Frances Feist
Mrs. Thomas
Sidney Berger
John Linden
Art Ellison
Minister
Stan Levitt
Dr. Samuels
Herk Harvey
The man
Credits
Director
Herk Harvey
Produced by
Herk Harvey
Written by
John Clifford
Music
Gene Moore
Production manager
Larry Sneegas
Assistant director
Raza Badiyi
Titles
Dan Fitzgerald
Editing
Dan Palmquist
Editing
Bill de Jarnette
Sound
Ed Down
Sound
Don Jessup
Director of photography
Maurice Prather

From The Current

Carnival of Souls: “Thinkin’ Like That, Don’t It Give You Nightmares?”
Carnival of Souls: “Thinkin’ Like That, Don’t It Give You Nightmares?”

Herk Harvey’s influential, low-budget horror classic Carnival of Souls is an eerie exploration of the mutability of place and the purgatorial state of dreaming.

By Kier-La Janisse

Introduction to Carnival of Souls
Introduction to Carnival of Souls
Herk Harvey described to me a strange outdoor ballroom he had seen rotting on the shores of the Great Salt Lake. . . and said he’d like to make a film about creatures rising from the lake and doing a dance of death in this pavilion. That was the…

By John Clifford

Carnival of Souls
Carnival of Souls
Horror movies take place in their own territory. The trick is to get us there. It doesn’t matter whether they start with fantastic premises and gothic settings, or with ordinary neighborhoods and daily experience, because the places and assumptions…

By Bruce Kawin

Missed Connections: A Conversation with Christian Petzold
Missed Connections: A Conversation with Christian Petzold

In quietly simmering dramas that depict solitary characters on the margins of society, German director Christian Petzold brings the ghosts of history into conversation with modern life.

By Hillary Weston

John Grant’s Top 10
A Late-Night Classic in London

Repertory Picks

A Late-Night Classic in London

Herk Harvey’s one and only film, the haunting low-budget classic Carnival of Souls, plays next Wednesday evening at London’s Regent Street Cinema.

Horror Road Trip, Balthazar at Fifty, the Influential Carnival of Souls

Did You See This?

Horror Road Trip, Balthazar at Fifty, the Influential Carnival of Souls
Just in time for Halloween, the travel blog Atlas Obscura has put together a map of creepy movie locations across America, including the Pennsylvania theater featured in The Blob and the Washington café that serves as the Double R Diner in Twin Peak…