Carnival Of Souls (1962)

Rating: **
Review Date: 1/6/12
Cast: Candace Hilligoss

A group of boys challenges a group of girls to a drag race and the girls' car ends up going off a bridge and into a river. A lone survivor named Mary (Candace Hilligoss) climbs out of the water, but seems unaffected by the experience. She's an accomplished organist and decides to take a job at a church in a nearby town. On the way there, she passes a spooky abandoned amusement park and starts seeing a strange and creepy man wherever she goes. She also experiences a couple of episodes where she becomes invisible to everyone around her. Everyone thinks she's crazy and deluded, so she decides to check out the old amusement park in an attempt to learn the truth and exorcise her demons. There, she's attacked by a group of zombies that introduce her to the afterlife. Not surprisingly, she's been dead the whole time.

The film is competently made, but utterly pointless. It plays out like an extended episode of "The Twilight Zone", but there's no great revelation that Mary is existing between life and death, and there is no explanation of the strange man or the abandoned amusement park. Candace Hilligoss is pretty and does a good job of expressing confusion and wide-eyed terror. The zombies aren't particularly scary, and they're certainly not as creepy as Mary's lascivious neighbor who keeps trying to get her into bed. Did people really act like this in the 60's?