Paul Di Filippo (pgdf) wrote in theinferior4,
Paul Di Filippo

Fast, cheap, and onto the screen

Last night Deborah and I watched CARNIVAL OF SOULS (1962). She was viewing it for the very first time, and I was seeing it for the first time since catching it on TV as a teen. I won't rhapsodize about this film except to say it still held up wonderfully, and is worth your time.

But what intrigued me more was how little it cost to make.

A documentary included on the DVD about the making of CoS revealed that the total budget for the film was $13,000 in 1961.

Looking at the Online Inflation Calculator (, we learn:

"What cost $13,000 in 1961 would cost $85,485.47 in 2006."

Still pretty cheap.

What other high-quality films out there cost so little to make?

Wikipedia has a very primitive list:

But they don't include a famously inexpensive film: John Carpenter's DARK STAR (1974):

In the profile of Carpenter cited below, we learn that he spent $60,000 to get his film ready for theatrical release.

What would that cost today, Oh Mighty Inflation Calculator?

"What cost $60,000 in 1974 would cost $263,010.19 in 2006."

Not as cheap as the legend, but still good.

Of course, as the next article tells us, when you're done filming, you've only spent about half the necessary money.

And then there's the fact that high-powered home computers and editing software and digital filming have upset the whole equation, as detailed here:

So: who has other candidates for great little films made for next-to-nothing?
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