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Thursday, October 13, 2016

CARNIVAL OF SOULS (Criterion Blu-ray) - Welcome to Mood Horror



Possibly one of the best releases on Blu-ray of the year. Carnival of Souls may have seen more releases than any friggin movie other than maybe Night of the Living Dead. I know it had hit the public domain for a time. It was on every box set. I think I have six different versions of this release, but I can assure you that watching this movie on Blu-ray is special. Have the Criterion DVD? Hell, that was great too, but I fell in love with this movie because of this superb release.

What's to love? A haunting movie with supernatural elements that isn't overly obvious. Now maybe you've seen movies that have been influenced by Souls and thus can almost anticipate the twist. It's influence is wide from a story perspective and in terms of its aesthetic. The music is haunting. The look of all the otherworldly characters is creepy and the whole thing is generally unsettling. Spooky good!

Watching the additional scenes provided on the release was my first foray into the expanded world of Carnival of Souls. I used to take this movie as a cheap, 60's ghostie. The supplemental package for this one really drove home the importance of the release and how the film came to be. Enjoy the making of docmentary and the look at Salt Lake City where it was filmed (I had no idea it wasn't filmed in California).

Carnival of Souls is available now from the Criterion Collection:
https://www.criterion.com/films/607-carnival-of-souls

From Criterion:

A young woman 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.

Disc 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

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