->"''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.''"
-->--RogerEbert's [[http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19891027/REVIEWS/910270302/1023 review]].

[[quoteright:315:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Carnival_of_Souls_3297.jpg]]

''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 ''NightOfTheLivingDead''.

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 [[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.]]
* [[spoiler: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]].
* [[spoiler: DeadAllAlong]]
* [[spoiler: TheDeadCanDance: 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
* [[spoiler:DownerEnding]]
* TheEnd
* EvilAlbino
* ExecutiveMeddling: The distributor cut 5 minutes from the original print to fit advertising - then [[CorruptCorporateExecutive ran off with the profits from the film]].
* [[spoiler:FinallyFoundTheBody: How TheReveal is made.]]
* [[spoiler:TheGrimReaper: 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
* 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: TheBigBad
* 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.
* OneHitWonder: Herk Harvey's industrial short production company made only one narrative film, this one, and never did one again.
* OurGhostsAreDifferent
* ParentalAbandonment: Inverted. Mary refuses to visit her folks after the accident.
* PerpetualSmiler: The Man
* PreacherMan
* [[spoiler:ScrewThisImOuttaHere:]] John
* SeinfeldIsUnfunny: [[invoked]] [[spoiler: Modern audiences will ''[[GenreSavvy immediately]]'' realize Mary is in a DyingDream or DeadAllAlong when she stumbles out of the car wreck.]]
* 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
* [[spoiler: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]].
* [[spoiler:TwistEnding]]
* TheUndead
* VindicatedByCable: Joe Bob Briggs and other B-movie aficionados. The documentary ''Schlock!'' notes that had ''Carnival of Souls'' been a foreign film, it would have been hailed as a TrueArtIsAngsty masterpiece.

!!Tropes Present In the Remake That Were Not In The Original:
* [[spoiler:BittersweetEnding: 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.]]
* [[spoiler:BlackBugRoom]]
* DarkAndTroubledPast
* DisappearedDad
* [[spoiler: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]].
----