I considered this lost media… but here we are. I made a video a while ago on the cult classic, public domain, spooky horror flick Carnivals of Souls. I had fun making it but ended up finding it a conceptually large review, and didn’t enjoy it enough to edit the planned multiple videos for it…. but I did outline and script what I wanted to do. The documents got stuck on my old broken laptop and I thought the zero people who watched the video would not care if I wrote a sequel so I didn’t worry about reviving it.

Here is my video review on Carnivals of Souls (Please don’t watch it, I’m embarrassed).

So if you’re all caught up how about we go deeper and explore this horror galore, some more.

Who is Candace Hilligoss?

Like her door buster director, this was Candace Hilligoss’ debut feature film and again part of a rather unfortunately short film career. Hard to say if that has anything to do with her starring in this film. Apparently she settled downed and became a mother shortly after but this film “ALLEGEDLY” cost her a young agent whose reaction to Carnival of Souls was well…. blunt to say the least.

“You’re weird. You’ll hurt my career”

– agent never to be heard from again.

Apparently being Ms. Hilligoss was not always easy as probably best illustrated by the opening line to her memoir “The Odyssey and The Idiocy, Marriage to an Actor, A Memoir”.

“There’s no mother-fucking way I’m going to pay alimony to a healthy woman. Tell her to get a job!”

– Richard Forest yelling at Candace and her Attorney from across the table.

Another example of Hilligoss’ struggles comes with her spurred ambitions to create a sequel to Carnival of Souls, but I have more on that later.

Ultimately, Candace is the heart of Carnival of Souls. The film almost entirely rests on her shoulders being the center of attention all throughout the film. An impressive effort all around putting up with Herk’s guerrilla film-making antics and giving depth to a character that in all senses of the word is haunted.

If anyone is interested in knowing more about her story, besides for her Memoir she’s got a website and a YouTube channel that has archived some of the reunions and interviews about the cast and crew of Carnival of Souls. Congrats to Ms. Hilligoss for getting some recognition for her bold career choices.

“The Greatest Tragedy is not in death, but to lose one’s life while living, never to reclaim or establish our identity within ourselves. To arrive at the end of life’s odyssey and realize that we cannot redeem it any more than we have a chance to live it all over again”

Amen, Candance Hilligoss

Carnival of Souls (1998)

So Carnival of Souls was remade with help of Wes Craven and it was loved by everyone all over again, just ask the IMDb review headlines:

  • Carnival of Crap
  • BEYOND SIMPLY BAD
  • Terrible
  • Movies Don’t get much worse than this
  • Souless Producers, Carnival Actors and Balloon to keep together
  • Second Worse Film Ever
  • Rent this or Burn two dollars? A. Burn two dollars
  • A cure for insomnia!
  • The Fast Forward button won’t work fast enough
  • gadzooks! One of the worst movies ever
  • booger
  • it sucked
  • The Worst film I have ever seen
  • This movie was about as coherent as reading the pages of a Choose Your Own Adventure in numerical order…
  • Boring, Overlong, and repetitive
  • Why was this movie ever made?
  • WHAT THE SH*T IS THIS?

See nothing but blind admiration. It’s a shame because this isn’t what Hilligoss was trying to get made and had no attachment to. We can never be too certain but she seemed under the impression that Herk would have endorsed Hilligoss’ effort for the revival but was coerced to option it to Peter Soby while in poor condition right before passing away.

How to Wrap it Up

That’s pretty much the story behind Carnival. It’s pretty much an extended twilight zone episode that is charmingly spooky. I wanted to point out that the Criterion Collection remastered the film and it looks gorgeous. So I certainly recommend it to anyone who enjoys this movie. While it’s not the greatest flick I’ve seen the passion behind the cast and crew to just make a movie is something admirable and the fact that I’m talking about it today is testament on how our craft can certainly exceed any expectations.

One thought on “Return to the Carnival of Souls [31 Spooks of October]

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