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.

TOM WEAVER: 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.

Q: Did 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.

Q: 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.

Q: What contact have you had with him since then?

CANDACE: Cut to a year, year and a half later, to about mid-July [1997]. 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.

Then 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.'

Q: 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 more.

Q: 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 ...

Q: 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.


Tom Weaver is the author of Science Fiction and Fantasy Film Flashbacks, Attack of the Monster Movie Makers and many others available from McFarland & Co.

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