CRITERION: Carnival of Souls... and Saltair Resort...

Gary Tooze

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Jul 3, 2000
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Hi all,

I had quite an exceptional viewing the other night. Carnival of Souls had continued to itch away at me, so I decided to watch the extras and read some reviews on the Net... I was quite disappointed by Roger Eberts review. I think he totally missed it, so I decided to pen my own. The research of Saltair was great fun...

Hope you enjoy ( or give me some feedback ! ):

http://207.136.67.23/film/Reviews/cos.htm#[email protected]
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Dwayne

Supporting Actor
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Jan 22, 2000
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765
Interesting comparison with The Outlook Hotel.
I rented the Criterion edition of this film and enjoyed it very much. Not so sure if I would want to purchase this film, but an enjoyable film none the less. The extras on the history of Saltair were very interesting.
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Bill McA

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Oct 18, 2000
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Gary, there is still hope for you yet!

Interesting perspective on the film in regards to the Saltair/Overlook comparison.
Yes, it does have one of the best looking b/w transfers I've seen, which is odd as this is a very low-budget, cheaply made film and it puts the transfers of more larger budget films to shame.
Glad you enjoyed it!
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Dome Vongvises

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May 13, 2001
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Wes showed me this movie a while back, and I must say that I'm impressed. I didn't realize that
Spoiler:movies this old had the "They're already dead" twist ending so many new movies have today.
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Mitty

Supporting Actor
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Jan 13, 1999
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886
That is a pretty crisp review by Ebert, one of the shortest I've ever seen him write. I think he didn't see the correlation between location and character for the simple reason that he didn't know the history of the site. Saltair has a sad, rich history, but you'd have to know about it to have it affect your view of the film. I don't think Ebert had a copy of the Carnival of Souls DVD in his hot little hands way back in 1989, which gives us all of that information in detail. Plus, I think the location is not nearly as much a factor in this story as compared with The Shining, despite what Criterion's essayist says. The Overlook hotel was a factor in every single scene in that film, and the Saltair resort was a forbidding horizon in this film, and an arrival point for the main character. I don't see how it plays quite the same role.
But, his review is quite positive, so I wouldn't say he "missed it." He got a lot of what I believe to be most of the cogent points of the film - the main character's disaffectedness, the importance of the stark imagery and even the music. Plus, how can you fault a review which includes the line, "a definitive study of a nerd in lust?"
I'm sure you saw that press conference where 27 years later, the actor who played that part (now a teacher), has to live with the affect of such a comment in a nationally syndicated review.

I agree that it's a terrific movie, and one that needs more than one viewing (and optimally a little background information) to fully appreciate.
 

Gary Tooze

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Interesting of you all to mention my comment on the comparison to the Overlook in The Shining, but I thought the comparison of Mary to the Saltair was the more important one...
She slowly becoming as isolated from society as the great resort was already isolated... THIS is what I was referring to that I felt Roger missed, obviously you as well Mitty!
... perhaps in Rog's next e-mail to me I will mention it to him
 

Mitty

Supporting Actor
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Jan 13, 1999
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886
I knew what you meant (I wrote, "...he didn't see the correlation between location and character..."). My comments about the Overlook were somewhat tangential, not the focus of what I was talking about.
Ebert doesn't seem to touch on her character's isolation beyond describing her as a "brittle, cynical woman" which sort of captures it.
Again, his review is quite brief compared to his usual ones. It's almost like a "heads up" for art house dwellers than a real review. It's certainly not an essay on the film.
 

Wes Ray

Supporting Actor
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May 11, 2001
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507
Yup, I'm trying to educate my good buddy Dome in the world of horror. I've already converted him by showing him Black Christmas and Suspiria, and I'm sure he'll tell you that those are two of his favorites now. hehe. Of course, I'm also always learning about new horror films every day, so it's a vicious cycle. haha.
About Carnival of Souls...I love the Criterion disc set. Very good treatment of a very good classic horror film.
Now if only Criterion would pick up The Hills Have Eyes.
 

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