So, what does it take to scare a horror guy?
Speaking for myself, there are not many things that scare me. It’s not that I’m particularly brave, just that I’m jaded from such a constant exposure to horror for so long.
I do have one real phobia, but we’re not going to discuss that here.
Instead, let’s talk about this guy…
Simply referred to as “The Man” in the 1962 cult classic “Carnival Of Souls”, this lead ghoul was the director, Herk Harvey. Of course, I did not know that in 1962. All I knew was that he and his band of ghouls all had the same pasty white flesh, black ringed eyes… and they were completely silent.
Think about that combination for a minute. We know this film was an inspiration for George Romero, but might it also have planted a seed in the young mind of John Carpenter, a seed that ultimately grew into the Shape, a.k.a. Michael Myers? I don’t know that either, but the first time I saw “Carnival Of Souls”, those ghouls, especially The Man, unnerved the shit out of me way back then.
The only other time I can remember the hairs on the back of my neck rising and gooseflesh creeping up my arms was the first time I read a sentence about the sweet, high laugh of a child… and then the sucking sounds in Stephen King’s “’Salem’s Lot”, back in 1976.
Today was a treat for me. I’m building a library of horror films to prepare for cutting the cord when my cable contract ends next January, and today I added both the theatrical release of “Carnival Of Souls” and the colorized director’s cut with about 5 minutes of additional footage, mainly dialog scenes. While it was an interesting novelty to see the color in the film (hey, the girl’s car that went off the bridge was yellow! Who knew?), I think it packs much more of a punch in the original black and white. The atmosphere of the deserted carnival and the ghastly appearance of the ghouls work so much better that way.
It’s easy to see why this low budget film has become a cult classic… it has more of an effect on a viewer than current films with megabucks budgets do. If you’re reading this and you’ve never seen the movie, do yourself a favor.
Stop reading and start watching it.
It’s on Shudder, and as it’s in the public domain, it’s also on You Tube, so cost is not a factor.
Oh, and after it’s done, and you head into bed later on?