carnival of souls

The Sixth Sense

There’s something a little funny about them that you can’t quite put your finger on — because you physically can’t put a finger on them. They’re always cold to the touch. They can’t seem to keep their appointments and keep forgetting where they have to be most of the time, because they wind up back at home anyway. They wear the same outfit almost every day, which is weird, but hey, who’s judging? And, oh my god, they’ve been dead the whole time. For many a horror character, and for some in dramas in between, the reveal that they’ve actually been dead the entire movie is a frightening prospect. There were plans! Lives to be lived! But nope, it’s eternity chained to whatever sweater you were wearing when it went down and constantly chatting with Haley Joel Osment instead. It’s a boundless trope with excellent examples, and of course, spoilers. As a bonus, we’ll look at how the trailers played with the twist.

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Criterion Files

Flesh for Frankenstein and Blood for Dracula. Island of Lost Souls. The Most Dangerous Game. The Night of the Hunter. The Blob. For a company perhaps best known for releasing pristine editions of international arthouse classics, The Criterion Collection certainly has a healthy amount of cult films in its repertoire. Cult cinema is often a difficult beast to recognize, for such films avoid the roads best travelled in their journey towards recognition and renown. Unlike seminal films in the collection including The 400 Blows, 8 ½, or Rashomon, cult films aren’t typically met with immediate cultural or institutional recognition upon release, aren’t made by internationally-recognized talent, and don’t always have an immediately traceable history of influence. That is, however, what makes cult films so interesting and so valuable: they emerge without expectation or pretense and signal the most populist and anti-elite means by which a film can gain recognition, pointing to the fact that there are always valuable films potentially overlooked between the pages of history. Herk Harvey’s low-budget drive through horror masterpiece Carnival of Souls (1962), like many cult films, emerged into the top tier of film culture in some of the unlikeliest of ways. Harvey was an industrial and educational filmmaker; the $33,000 Carnival was his only feature work. The film had ten minutes lobbed off of it for its drivethru run to fit more screenings, and was largely a non-event when it first graced American screens. Carnival’s success is owed mostly to genre film festivals, late-night television […]

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published: 12.19.2014
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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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