Written by: John Clifford, Harold Lawlor, and James Barnett
Directed by: Michael Anderson, Herk Harvey, and E.W. Swackhamer
Starring: Cliff Robertson, Jean Simmons, Candace Hilligoss, and Robert Wagner
- Selected filmographies
- List of haunted places
Released by: BFS Entertainment
My Advice: Rent it for a look at older horror
Carnival of Souls relates the tale of a young woman whose friends die in a horrific, watery car crash in the beginning of the movie. Intent upon starting her life anew, she travels to Utah, only to fall under the spell of a mysterious abandoned carnival. Hunted and haunted, she must confront the deadly inhabitants of the lake and answer the lacking in her own soul.
In Death at Love House, a young writer falls under the spell of a former Hollywood screen siren, years after her death. While staying at her estate to research her biography, he finds that her spirit is still very active and desperate to add another scene to the film of her life.
The acting is mediocre, but acceptable. Robert Wagner is predictably good in Death at Love House, portraying confusion, ambition, and fear by turns. Carnival of Souls is probably the weakest of the three movies in this respect, but they are all still enjoyable in their own ways, and fun and harmless enough for a spooky evening's entertainment.
The special features list on this budget release is quite solid. There are biographies of several of the major stars, selected filmographies, and a list of haunted places, each having a couple pages of description. One of these places, the Myrtles in Louisiana, is not only famous, but fascinating.
Perhaps appropriate for a nostalgic, spooky experience, the audio and video quality are not quite up to current standards, but allowance must be given for the quality of the original film stocks and the expense of full digital restoration. Viewers would not have the chance to buy these three classic movies in a single, inexpensive package if we had to wait for a studio to have the free funds for full restoration. Besides, to make up for the lack of quality, the features list, as stated, is good.
Overall, these classic ghost films are not of the first quality with regard to plot, effects, or depth of creepiness, but fans of the genre will still want to give them a view, and this set is worth the renting for this reason. They are different from modern horror films that resort to make-up effects and gore to make up for lack of plot, but yet they are not quite the chilling experience that some other ghost films are, such as the many works of Hitchcock.