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Friday April 12th 2024

Carnival Of Souls | 1962

Carnival Of Souls filming location: Saltair Pavilion, Utah
Carnival Of Souls location: the rebuilt pavilion, in 2002: Saltair Pavilion, Utah | Photograph: wikimedia / Michael C Berch

This weird, offbeat little indie horror movie – a one-off feature from university drama lecturer Herk Harvey – was made, apart from the lead role, with a non-professional cast.

It was shot around Harvey’s hometown of Lawrence, Kansas, about 30 miles west of Kansas City on Highway 70.

The opening car smash filmed at Eudora Kaw River Bridge, which carries 222nd Street across the Kansas River in Eudora, about six miles east of Lawrence.

The bizarre carnival itself used a rundown funfair, the Saltair Pavilion, I-80, Magna, west of Salt Lake City, Utah. This was originally built in 1893 as a respectable (this is Mormon country) Western alternative to the temptations of Atlantic City.

It was rebuilt following a disastrous fire in 1925 but without much success, finally closing in 1958. Another fire in 1970 finally finished off the resort.

The wooden pavilion seen in the film has since been replaced by a more modern-style complex in 1981 (which supposedly contains a scale-model of the original). Now called The Great Saltair, it’s had a resurgence as a music venue in recent years.