Horror On The Lens: Carnival of Souls (dir by Herk Harvey)


Well, we are halfway through October and, traditionally, that’s when all of us in the Shattered Lens Bunker gather in front of the television in Arleigh’s penthouse suite, eat popcorn, drink diet coke, and gossip about whoever has the day off.

Of course, after we do that, I duck back into my office and I watch the classic 1962 film, Carnival of Souls!

Reportedly, David Lynch is a huge fan of Carnival of Souls and, when you watch the film, it’s easy to see why.  The film follows a somewhat odd woman (played, in her one and only starring role, by Candace Hilligoss) who, after a car accident, is haunted by visions of ghostly figures.  This dream-like film was independently produced and distributed.  At the time, it didn’t get much attention but it has since been recognized as a classic and very influential horror film.

This was director Herk Harvey’s only feature film.  Before and after making this film, he specialized in making educational and industrial shorts, the type of films that encouraged students not to cheat on tests and employees not to take their jobs for granted.  Harvey also appears in this film, playing “The Man” who haunts Hilligoss as she travels across the country.

Enjoy Carnival of Souls!

Horror on the Lens: Carnival of Souls (dir by Herk Harvey)


Much like watching Plan 9 From Outer SpaceNight of the Living DeadTreevenge, or Santa Claus Conquers The Martians, watching the 1962 independent film Carnival of Souls is a bit of a holiday tradition here at the Shattered Lens.

And you know how much I love tradition!

Directed in a dream-like fashion by Herk Harvey (who also directed several of the educational short films that I’ve occasionally shared on this site, including CheatingThe Show-OffandThe Gossip), Carnival of Souls tells the story of Mary (Candace Hilligoss) who, after a car accident, finds herself haunted by visions of ghostly figures.  Independently produced and distributed, Carnival of Souls did not get much attention when it was originally released but it is now generally acknowledged as a horror classic.  Reportedly, David Lynch loves this movie and, when you watch it, you’ll be able to see why!

It’s October.  It’s 16 more days ’til Halloween.  It’s time to watch Carnival of Souls!

Horror on the Lens: Carnival of Souls (dir by Herk Harvey)


Carnivalofsoulsposters

Much like watching Plan 9 From Outer Space, Night of the Living Dead, Treevenge, or Santa Claus Conquers The Martians, watching the 1962 independent film Carnival of Souls is a bit of a holiday tradition here at the Shattered Lens.

And you know how much I love tradition!

Directed in a dream-like fashion by Herk Harvey (who also directed several of the educational short films that I’ve occasionally shared on this site, including Cheating, The Show-Off, andThe Gossip), Carnival of Souls tells the story of Mary (Candace Hilligoss) who, after a car accident, finds herself haunted by visions of ghostly figures.  Independently produced and distributed, Carnival of Souls did not get much attention when it was originally released but it is now generally acknowledged as a horror classic.  Reportedly, David Lynch loves this movie and, when you watch it, you’ll be able to see why!

It’s October.  It’s 9 more days ’til Halloween.  It’s time to watch Carnival of Souls!

Horror on the Lens: Carnival of Souls (dir by Herk Harvey)


Carnivalofsoulsposters

Much like watching Plan 9 From Outer Space, Night of the Living Dead, Treevenge, or Santa Claus Conquers The Martians, watching the 1962 independent film Carnival of Souls is a bit of a holiday tradition here at the Shattered Lens.

And you know how much I love tradition!

Directed in a dream-like fashion by Herk Harvey (who also directed several of the educational short films that I’ve occasionally shared on this site, including Cheating, The Show-Off, and The Gossip), Carnival of Souls tells the story of Mary (Candace Hilligoss) who, after a car accident, finds herself haunted by visions of ghostly figures.  Independently produced and distributed, Carnival of Souls did not get much attention when it was originally released but it is now generally acknowledged as a horror classic.  Reportedly, David Lynch loves this movie and, when you watch it, you’ll be able to see why!

It’s October.  It’s 11 more days ’til Halloween.  It’s time to watch Carnival of Souls.

A Blast From The Past: Cheating (dir by Herk Harvey)


In the past, I have occasionally shared old educational films here on the Shattered Lens.  As everyone should know by now, I love history and these short films all serve as interesting time capsule of the era in which they were made.  Seeing as how August is traditionally the time when students go back to school, I figured now would be as good a time as any to share some wisdom from the past.

The film below is from 1952.  It’s called Cheating.  It’s about what happens when John Taylor forces his friend Mary to help him cheat.  When he gets caught, it not only harms Mary’s reputation but John soon finds his own position on the student council threatened!  Oh, the horror!

Now, I have to admit that I enjoyed this short film because, as I’ve mentioned before on this site, I occasionally cheated on a few tests while I was in high school.  But, beyond that, this film is interesting because it’s shot like a living nightmare, complete with crooked camera angles, expressionistic lighting, an atmosphere of existential dread, and an extremely judgmental narrator.  Director Herk Harvey goes all out in his direction for this one.  (Harvey is probably best known for later directing Carnival of Souls, his only feature film.)

Plus, there’s always the fun of listening to all those country accents.  It may be tempting to make fun of the “actors,” all of whom seem to have picked out of a local high school drama class.  But, there’s an authenticity to them that will make most viewers reconsider the importance of cinematic authenticity.

Anyway, the ultimate message here seems to be that you should only cheat if you know you can get away with it and that is a message that I happily endorse.  It’s something that all students should keep in mind as they return to school this month.

Enjoy Cheating!

 

Horror on the Lens: Carnival of Souls (dir by Herk Harvey)


Carnivalofsoulsposters

Herk Harvey’s 1962 film Carnival of Souls is a film that we’ve shared on the Shattered Lens before but I have no problem sharing it again.  After Mary Henry (Candace Hilligoss) is involved in an auto accident, she is haunted by frightening visions and finds herself followed by mysterious figures.  Directed in a dream-like fashion and featuring an impressive performance from Candace Hilligoss, Carnival of Souls is a classic example of independent American cinema and it’s a bit of a Halloween tradition around these parts.

Enjoy!

A Blast From The Past: The Show-Off (dir by Herk Harvey)


As I’ve stated in the past, I have a weakness for creepy old educational films.  1954’s The Show-Off is one of the creepiest.

The Show-Off begins with a creepy schoolgirl, who appears to have wandered right out of the pages of a Stephen King novel, staring straight at the camera and asking us for our help.  It seems that a young sociopath named Jim has been giving the junior class a bad name.  We watch as Jim disrupts a class preparing for a history class.  In horror, we witness him disrupting rehearsals for the school play.  By the end of the film, Jim is intentionally tripping his fellow students and, worst of all, hanging an unauthorized banner that reads, “Yay!  Juniors!”

As the creepy girl asks us, “what would you do about the Show-off?  What would you do?”

Judging from stark grayness of the school and the bizarrely blank faces of most of the students, I imagine Jim was probably sent to Room 23 and forced to watch a Dharma Initiative video.  (Ah, Lost.  How I miss you…)

Like a lot of educational films from the 1950s, this one was directed by Herk Harvey.  Harvey would later go on to direct the classic horror film, Carnival of Lost Souls.  The Show-Off shares its odd, dream-like atmosphere with Carnival of Lost Souls.  I’m not sure if that’s intentional on Harvey’s part or if it’s just the fact that 50s were apparently a very creepy time.

Without further ado, here is Herk Harvey’s The Show-Off.