Dedicated to classics and hits.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Carnival of Souls (1962) d. Herk Harvey

This is actually the director, Herk Harvey playing "Man" in Carnival of Souls (1962)

Carnival of Souls (1962)
 d. Herk Harvey
Criterion Collection #63

Manny Farber is an American critic and professor whose seminal essay applying Auteur theory to B-Movies was published the same year as Carnival of Souls was released: 1962

  Manny Farber was an American film critic and painter.  In 1962, as luck would have it, he wrote an important essay on B-Movies called "Termite Art vs. White Elephant Art."  And basically he was a guy who applied the idea of Auteur theory to B-Movie directors.  Carnival of Souls is a fine example of Auteur theory in action in the context of B-Movie.

 Carnival of Souls was made by "industrial filmmakers on a limited budget."  But it survived in true underground fashion for decades after release thanks to bootleg VHS tapes.  Finally, Criterion Collection issued this version with a new digital transfer of an original film version.

Candace Hillgoss as main character Mary Henry from Carnival of Souls (1962)

  The idea of creating a lasting masterpiece on a limited budget with limited artistic expectations is a concept that is very near and dear to my heart.  It is something that my friends bands share in common: Crocodiles, Dum Dum Girls & Dirty Beaches all started as what Manny Farber called "termite art" individual creators, working in isolation from the mainstream of their field, creating something that Audiences responded to.

  This process of the revival and elevation of B-Movies to "classics" is something I find fascinating, and I think it's those movies within the Criterion Collection- Samuel Fuller's two films I've already seen are another good example- and I think it's critical to have a firm understand of which aesthetic choices made due to a limited budget can be used to generate positive artistic elements: atmosphere, style, depth.

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