- By TOM WEAVER
Carnival of Souls
star Candace Hilligoss has no problem naming names and
recalling incriminating circumstances. In the first installment
of this revealing interview, she described the genesis
of the Carnival of Souls sequel which she instigated.
Here, she candidly recounts her betrayal by former colleagues.
What about Herk Harvey's partner, John Clifford, the guy
who wrote the original movie? What's his attitude?
CANDACE HILLIGOSS: John had no loyalty to me.
Once he saw the dollar signs, he didn't care who brought
it to him. He didn't care that I was connected, he didn't
care about all I had done.
you have any sort of contract with Soby?
CANDACE: I did have a signed agreement with Peter,
which was very loose. It showed that we had met and that
I was to be a participant.
When you found out that Carnival of Souls was
being made for Trimark, what did you do then?
CANDACE: I contacted Peter and told him that the
widow of Herk Harvey said that an option had been signed
because they assumed I was part of it; I asked, "Could
I please see the option?" He never answered me.
What contact have you had with him since then?
CANDACE: Cut to a year, year and a half later,
to about mid-July . All of a sudden Peter calls
me out of the blue, because now he wants me to play a
one-day cameo in Carnival. I said, 'Peter! I thought
we were partners. What is going on?' Well, there was a
lot of harrumphing and stalling, and he said, 'I thought
that was only if we were going to do your sequel. We're
doing a remake." I said, 'Oh, no, Peter, I brought
the project to you and helped you. And introduced you
to Herk Harvey. You never even knew about Carnival.'
In fact, I don't even think he was born when we were making
Carnival!' I told him I was really disappointed
in him, because for a year and a half I helped him. He
fumbled around and then he said, 'Well, I'd really love
you to come down and do a cameo.' I said I wasn't interested.
he had the publicity company that's handling the new Carnival
call me up: 'We'd like you to come down and pose with
the cast,' etc., etc. I said, 'Why would I want to do
that?' The guy said, 'Well, we think it would be a lot
of fun.' 'Fun? Fun to help someone who stabbed me in the
back and stole a project from me? You have the nerve to
call me and ask me to go down and push your picture?'
The guy said, 'I don't understand. Peter says you're very
nice!' I said, 'Of course I'm nice -- I spent 18 months
helping him. I'm sorry that he turned out to be such a
shark, but I guess they learn fast in Hollywood.'
Did you ever see a script, or get an idea what this
new film will be like?
CANDACE: I don't know. They never sent me a script,
Peter Soby never discussed it with me, never wanted me
to know anything about it. All he wanted was to get my
face on film so he could use the good will that I had
generated with Carnival. Let this be a lesson to
anyone in the film world who has an idea, who wants to
go around and peddle it. Here I thought I was protected
by friendship -- but friendship means nothing. Frankly,
I felt totally betrayed by Herk Harvey and John Clifford.
I thought that they were on my side, and I was stunned
that when they saw an opportunity, they didn't care any
What's the lesson in all this? What do you hope happens
with the new movie?
CANDACE: I hope that Peter Soby is exposed for
what he is. I wish I could say to him ...
Say it to him now!
CANDACE: Okay, I'll tell you what I would say: To
be an artist, one must search for the truth. If he, as a
filmmaker, is consumed with how to cheat and connive, there
is no room to be an artist, because he is no longer in a
position to search for the truth. You cannot possibly do
anything worthwhile if you don't have that soul in you.
Since he doesn't, there's no way it could be any good.
WITH CANDACE HILLIGOSS
MORE ON THE "CARNIVAL OF SOULS"
Tom Weaver is the author of Science Fiction and
Fantasy Film Flashbacks, Attack of the Monster Movie
Makers and many others available from McFarland