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Released the same year as the Crawford/Davis classic What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and Hammer’s psychodrama Paranoiac, Carnival of Souls was the original ‘I see dead people’ film.

After mysteriously surviving a car accident, organist Mary Henry (Candace Hilligoss) moves to Salt Lake City, Utah where she starts a new job playing the organ at a local church. But strange things begin to happen as she starts to loose her grip on reality and finds herself being followed by a ghostly spectre to a derelict amusement park where the dead can dance.

Made on a minuscule budget, Carnival of Souls has a weird flair, despite the amateurish actors, insufferable dialogue (out of synch in most parts), and ponderous plot. The director, Herk Harvey (actually a producer of educational films), makes effective use of the locations – in particular the abandoned Saltair Pavilion, where the vast ballroom is hung with age-old streamers – while composer Gene Moore’s organ music gives the film a suitably creepy air.

This Network DVD release is not a patch on Criterion’s Extended Director’s Cut version, but it does come with a little booklet written by Kim Newman, who also supplies an audio commentary.

One to watch at your next Halloween party, with suitably apt background music turned up very high.

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Released 23 February