Carnival of Souls is a film in the vein of Night of the Hunter: artistically ambitious, from a first-time director, but largely overlooked in its initial release until its rediscovery years later. Granted, it’s not the masterpiece of Night of the Hunter, but it’s a chilling, effective, impressive tale of ghouls, guilt and restless spirits. The story follows a woman (Candace Hilligoss) on the run from her past who is haunted by visions of a pale-faced man, beautifully shot (and played) by director Herk Harvey. As she seemingly begins to fade in and out of existence, the nature of her reality itself is questioned. Carnival of Souls is vintage psychological horror on a miniscule budget, and has since been cited as an influence in the fever dream visions of directors such as David Lynch. To me, it’s always felt something like a movie-length episode of The Twilight Zone, and I mean that in the most complimentary way I can. Rod Serling would no doubt have been a fan. —Jim Vorel
Demon’s action unfolds around the wedding of Piotr (Itay Tiran in an incredible leading performance) and Zaneta (Agnieszka Zulewska), young, beautiful and madly in love despite a short relationship capped by an even shorter engagement. The brevity of their union concerns her dad (Andrzej Grabowski), but he does his best to warm up to Piotr despite his reservations. He gifts the couple with family property, an old farmhouse, too, though here “gift” is perhaps a term used loosely. Piotr flies to Poland from England to wed Zaneta, settle down, and gussy up the house and the land it rests upon, and so their troubles begin: with a skeleton Piotr uncovers while mucking around with an excavator. Horror snobs may feel inclined to evict Demon from the genre for its absence of scares. Marcin Wrona doesn’t hide in cabinets and jump out at us while screaming “boo” and flailing his arms. He includes no unearned jump beats, nothing to startle us the way that horror cinema has taught us to anticipate throughout its annals. What he pulls off instead is a good deal trickier, thanks in large part to expectation and custom. Demon gets under the skin, distorting perception while corrupting bliss at the same time, and even with a plate that full the film finds room for pitch black humor and a slice of nationalism: Toward the narrative’s climax, one wedding guest, totally blotto, rants aloud about the good old days, when everyone was Polish and no one freaked out when strangers talked to ghosts. —Andy Crump
Holiday shopping is not exactly stress-free. From the mad dashes on Black Friday to the last-minute running around town, it can really take a toll. This holiday season, take a deep breath, pour yourself a mug of hot apple cider, and get to work on your gift list with Amazon — you'll be done before you know it. From highly-anticipated tech and gadgets to luxe candles to trendy beauty products, the mega e-retailer has quite an expansive offering. Even better: With Amazon Prime, you can get everything on your list (and household essentials) with free two-day shipping, too. Pretty nice, right? Get ready to make this holiday season the simplest, easiest, most fuss-free one ever. And for other great gift ideas, check out Allure's other picks for presents.
Amazon Prime membership in Germany, the United Kingdom, India, and the United States also provides Amazon Video, the instant streaming of selected movies and TV shows at no additional cost. In November 2011, it was announced that Prime members have access to the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, which allows users to borrow certain popular Kindle e-books for free reading on Kindle hardware, up to one book a month, with no due date.