The Enduring Influence of ‘Carnival of Souls’

In 1962, Herk Harvey unleashed a masterpiece that’s informed horror cinema ever since.
Carnival Of Souls
By  · Published on September 26th, 2017

Carnival of Souls was released 55 years ago, but its ability to get under one’s skin remains effective and chilling to this day. As far as horror fare goes, few scary movies boast the eerie power of Herk Harvey’s elegiac chiller. And with the Halloween season coming up, there is no better time to revisit it.

Released a few years prior to George A. Romero’s own independent landmark Night of the Living Dead, Harvey’s film was made on a shoestring budget of $30,000 and filmed primarily in an abandoned amusement park with a group of friends and colleagues. The end result, however, is one of the most influential horror films of all time.

Vimeo user Philip Brubaker’s essay looks at the impact Carnival of Souls has had on genre cinema throughout the years. From its iconic shots to the themes and tropes it established, the fingerprints of Harvey’s 1962 classic are visible in numerous acclaimed movies we all know and love. The director only made one feature-length film, but with it, he changed horror forever.

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Kieran is a Contributor to the website you're currently reading. He also loves the movie Varsity Blues.