Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A review of "Carnival of Souls"

Confessions of a Film Junkie: A review of “Carnival of Souls”

By: Brian Cotnoir

     I don’t say this often on this blog.  Usually, I’m very opinionated on a film, but for probably only the second or third time since I started this blog I am absolutely flabbergasted over how I feel about this film?  It’s not bad, but I didn’t find that all that good, it had some interesting twists to the plot, but I had a few questions, and...I’m not 100% sure about what is going on.  So please, bear with me as I try to give this film a just review.  So let’s dive into “Carnival of Souls”             
This 1962 Independent Horror Film “Carnival of Souls” is beloved by many, and I recently had the opportunity to watch it for the first time.  So the film starts off with three young women being challenged to a drag race, by two other men.  The race takes a deadly turn as the two cars race off a rickety old bridge and the car with the girls in it drives off the bridge and into the river.  All looks hopeless except for one girl, name Mary who managed to be the sole survivor of the accident.  Some time passes by after the accident and Mary decides to leave her hometown and start a new life and career as a Church Organist in Utah.  While in Utah, she comes across a mysterious abandoned building that she was told was a bath house, than a dance hall before finally ending as a carnival.  Shortly after visiting the old building she begins to see a mysterious and ghastly old man wherever she goes.  Not only that, but she has moments where no one can apparently see or hear her, which confuses her.  Is Mary starting to lose her sanity or is there something more malevolent and sinister after her?                   
Screw this!  Next year I'm going to the circus intstead
    So, I can understand why people like this film.  It has memorable visuals, and a great plot, but is it really as good as a lot of people say?  Let me talk about some of the things I didn’t like about the film?  The main character, Mary, can be an interesting character at points, but she can also be a very weak character at points.  One thing that you get from her performance is that she is very anti-social, you very rarely see her interacting with other people on her own free will, and she prefers mostly to keep to herself.  The mystery around Mary is great, but there is no pay off, which I guess means it makes her character more interesting, but I still don’t feel like her character was developed enough.          
Oh Your God is he a TOOL!
Then there is Mr. Lyndon (the only other major character in the plot with a big speaking role).  He is such a tool.  He’s uneducated, he’s a drinker, and he is just full of himself.  From the first time we meet him on screen it’s very clear that all he cares about is getting into Mary’s pants.  He tries way too hard to get her to like him, and he fails miserably each time.  Not to mention the way he talks throughout the film comes off as “I like you, so that means you should f*ck me”.  This is the type of man mothers are always warning their daughters to avoid.  He is a detestable character, and I wish that his character would have been killed off in the film at some point.     
FUN FACT: The guy in the chair is
the director of the film
    I know this was a low-budget film for it’s time ($33,000), but at times it is INCREDIBLY dull. Not to mention, the setting just seems kind of off.  The film is called “Carnival of Souls”, but yet the Pavilion doesn’t really come off as a rundown carnival.  The spirit’s at the carnival all where formal evening wear, which make sense, since the pavilion at one point was a dance hall, but not for a carnival.  Granted they still do look pretty gnarly. The ending is pretty interesting as well. It answers many of the questions that you will probably ask yourself while watching the film. So is this a good or a bad film?  I honestly think it’s for you to decide.  Whether you like this film or not, I agree with you 100%.  I honestly don’t have an opinion on it at this time.

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