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->"''What happened to the others? How did she escape? She doesn't know. Indeed, she doesn't care. She's a brittle, cynical woman who works as a church organist but doesn't take religion seriously. That's despite the fact that the organ seems to be trying to tell her something. There is a sensational overhead shot in an organ factory, looking down past the steep and angled pipes to her diminutive figure far below, and another effective moment when she's in a car on a deserted highway and the radio only picks up organ music.''"
-->--Creator/RogerEbert's [[http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19891027/REVIEWS/910270302/1023 review]].

''Carnival of Souls'' was a low-budget "B" film ($33,000 in 1962) that did mediocre business on release, but has become enough of a CultClassic to merit a [=DVD=] release by Creator/TheCriterionCollection. In fact, some people consider it to be the best "B" movie ever made. George Romero stated that ''Carnival of Souls'' was the inspiration for ''Film/NightOfTheLivingDead1968''.

The plot is hard to summarize without spoilers, but its essence is a young woman who perceives, with gradually increasing frequency, images of a horrid, deformed stranger (as, for example, a temporary appearance in a mirror). The screw tightens until, at the climax, we find out who The Man is and why she has been receiving these visitations.

The movie is a case of an obscenely high-number of routine, standard tropes that more or less accidentally happen to work to a whole greater than the sum of the parts (or of the makers' designs and--arguably--capabilities).

Along with a handful of other films, it also has the distinction of being riffed ''twice'' by [[Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000 Mike Nelson]]: First on the colorized [=DVD=] released by Legend Films, the second time with help from Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett on Podcast/RiffTrax.

In 1998, a Creator/WesCraven-produced remake was released, which received mixed, mostly-negative reviews. While it, too, is available on [=DVD=], it's a pretty safe bet that it won't ever get a Criterion release.

!!The Original Contains Examples of:

* AloneInACrowd
* AmusementParkOfDoom
* BadDreams: [[spoiler:One of Mary's visions is revealed to have been a dream near the end.]]
* TheBadGuyWins
* BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor: [[spoiler:See ''Ineffectual Loner'' below.]]
* BigBad: The Man
* ButtMonkey: John
* CelibateHero
* ChaseScene
* ColdOpen
* CreatorCameo: The main ghoul, The Man, is Herk Harvey.
* DancesAndBalls: Part of the Carnival's backstory. [[spoiler:Played for Horror later on in the main story]].
* DeadAllAlong
* TheDeadCanDance: [[spoiler: Mary spies a ''danse macabre'' in the carnival tent.]]
* DeadpanSnarker: Mary when she has coffee with John. This part honestly plays more like a period sit-com than a horror movie.
* DefrostingIceQueen
* DownerEnding
* TheEnd
* EvilAlbino
* FinallyFoundTheBody: [[spoiler:How TheReveal is made.]]
* TheGrimReaper: [[spoiler:What The Man seems to be]].
* HauntedHeroine
* HazardousWater
* IneffectualLoner: Mary [[spoiler:until she no longer wants to be alone. This entire movie could arguably be summed up as "being Mary sucks"]].
* InTheEndYouAreOnYourOwn
* {{Jerkass}}: John, who is sleazy, creepy, temperamental, and all-around unempathetic.
* LooksLikeCesare: The Man, to some extent.
* MirrorMonster
* {{Motifs}}: Water is either present or referenced to in a lot of the scary stuff [[spoiler:which makes sense given the opening and the TwistEnding]]. It's inconsistent though as some of The Man's apperances have nothing to do with water.
** The soundtrack is mostly pipe organs, which is what Mary's job is - church organ player.
* MrExposition: Several examples.
* NoNameGiven: The Man
* OhCrap: An oddly-delayed version of this occurs [[spoiler:during the second visit to the psychologist.]]
* OminousPipeOrgan: If you love this sort of thing, ''Carnival of Souls'' will be your dream movie; if you hate it, steer clear.
* OurGhostsAreDifferent
* ParentalAbandonment: Inverted. Mary refuses to visit her folks after the accident.
* PerpetualSmiler: The Man
* PreacherMan
* ScrewThisImOuttaHere: John
* SeinfeldIsUnfunny: [[invoked]] [[spoiler: Modern audiences will ''immediately'' realize Mary is in a DyingDream or DeadAllAlong when she stumbles out of the car wreck - never mind that this was one of ''the very first'' movies to employ this trick.]]
* SilentAntagonist
* SlasherSmile: The Man is almost always like this, but the other Undead only break into a smile near the end.
* StalkerWithACrush: John, as well as a possible way to interpret The Man.
* SugarAndIcePersonality
* SurrealHorror
* TomatoInTheMirror
* TrailersAlwaysSpoil: The [[http://25.media.tumblr.com/778027c48b38e658e519b3a83a927143/tumblr_mkatgtLT7S1rl4lszo1_500.jpg original one-sheet for the movie]] gives away the ending [[spoiler: at the bottom, in the middle]].
* TwistEnding
* TheUndead

!!Tropes Present In the Remake That Were Not In The Original:

* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler:More-or-less the same ending as the original, but with a more uplifting and heroic twist. Alex is revealed to have died in the opening, but, in doing so, had managed to defeat the BigBad, thus ensuring her little sister's survival.]]
%%* BlackBugRoom
%%* DarkAndTroubledPast
%%* DisappearedDad
%%* DyingDream
* HeroicSacrifice: The reason Alex's car crashed in the beginning is that she was trying to pull off one of these, [[spoiler:in the end, it turned out she succeeded]].
%%* MamaBear: Alex toward Sandra.
%%* MissingMom
%%* MonsterClown
%%* PantyShot
%%* {{Revenge}}: Louis's motive.
* TakingYouWithMe: In the opening, Alex deliberately steers her car off the road so that the paedophile who is holding her hostage won't be able to kill her sister. She ends up surviving [[spoiler:until the end, where it turns out that everything after the crash was just a dying dream]].