The Devil’s Carnival is the first – hopefully – in a series of movies from director Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw, Repo: The Genetic Opera) and producer/writer Terrance Zdunich (Repo: The Genetic Opera, The Molting [graphic novel]) based on the classic stories affectionately known as Aesop’s Fables.
The movie takes place in the mythological underworld of Hell, but with a carnival, circus-like twist. Done in the spirit of Tales from the Crypt, the movie features three dark moral stories, surrounding three fresh new-comers (Briana Evigan,Sean Patrick Flanery, and Jessica Lowndes) to the dark and macabre underworld, where they’ll surely be punished for their sins in the creative methods of the underworld circus. All of this is wrapped up into a rock opera in the spirit of Repo. Don’t get me wrong, however; it’s anything but a carbon copy of its forerunner. This studio system-defying piece is 100% original, and wonderfully executed.
The movie also stars the co-creator, Terrance Zdunich, who fresh off his role as The Grave Digger in Repo, advances his role to the king of the dark carnival himself, The Devil. Zdunich, who wrote not only the script, but all of the music for the movie, masterfully portrays the dark lord with such grim demeanor, to hear see him reading to a small child from Aesop’s Fables is downright creepy – yet wonderfully so. Zdunich again offers his wonderful voice, acting, and talents to a movie that is nothing short of a brief masterpiece, which was filmed in only seven days, according to Zdunich and Bousman.
The movie also stars a fantastic supporting cast ranging from Shawn Crahan (Slipknot’s Clown) and Bill Moseley (The Devil’s Rejects, House of a Thousand Corpses, Repo: The Genetic Opera) to the beautiful, wonderfully talented – and did I mention beautiful – Emilie Autumn as The Painted Doll. These and others add to the cinematic feel of a movie that was done independently on very little budget, but visually, looks and feels as though a major studio had been behind it 100%.
In summation: My fiancee and I paid about $50 a piece for VIP tickets, left our wonderful progressive haven to drive four hours one way through America’s farm country, outrunning extreme weather including four confirmed tornadoes, and into the middle American small town known as Des Moines, Iowa, just to see this movie. It was well worth it. The present cast was extremely gracious, talkative, professional yet personable, and in the case of Emilie Autumn, wonderfully touchy and physical with her fans. Both Q&A’s were informative and funny at the same time, despite the low lighting of the small theater where they were held, and where the movie showed. Also, having been treated to a sideshow before the show, we were well warmed up.
If The Devil’s Carnival comes to your town, or any of its sequels, go and see it. It is worth all manners of sacrifices to see this independent masterpiece of dark cinema. Now go, and whatever you do, never trust a scorpion.