The Devil's Carnival
On April 5, the new film "The Devil's Carnival" made its world premiere at the beautiful Laemmle's Royal Theatre on Santa Monica Blvd in Los Angeles. As ardent fans of Darren Lynn Bousman and Terrance Zdunich's "REPO! The Genetic Opera," Vyxsin and I were quite excited to witness the unveiling of their latest experimental musical.
Stars of the film including Paul Sorvino (Goodfellas), Briana Evigan (Step Up 2), Marc Senter (The Lost), Sean Patrick Flanery (The Boondock Saints), Jessica Lowndes ("90210"), Ogre (from Skinny Puppy) were in attendance for the red carpet and screening, alongside several hundred fans, most of whom were elaborately dressed as characters from both the Carnival and REPO!
The film begins ominously as three tormented individuals — Mrs. Merrywood [Briana Evigan], Tamara [Jessica Lowndes], and John [Sean Patrick Flanery] — are swiftly transported from their normal lives to a carnival set in the bowels of Hell. During their lives, Mrs. Merrywood was known for her "sticky-fingered" thievery, Tamara was a teen whose naivete kept her perpetually heartbroken, and John was an obsessive-compulsive father. The three souls must now face their flaws firsthand in the carnival, as arranged by the imposingly-horned Lucifer, impressively portrayed by Zdunich himself.
The Devil's Carnival is character driven and a colorful cast of carnies inhabits the tents including The Ticket Keeper played by Dayton Callie (Sons of Anarchy) and The Tamer played by Slipknot percussionist M. Shawn "Clown" Crahan. A now blonde Emilie Autumn portrays The Painted Doll, who lurks throughout a good portion of the film and breaks into song with her own "Prick! Goes the Scorpion's Tale." Five Finger Death Punch lead singer Ivan "Ghost" Moody plays the malicious Hobo Clown and performs the song "A Penny for a Tale."
The film is visually decadent and mesmerizing for the viewer from the opening minutes. Though the plot is simple, the movie creates a strong mythology and a fairy-tale experience that is sadly lacking in much of today's cinema. It is quite remarkable that the film was created with only a $500,000 budget; the special effects are creatively accomplished with minimal CGI and actually add to the experience of the film instead of distracting from it.
Fans of REPO! The Genetic Opera will enjoy several "wink-wink" moments, designed to pay homage to Bousman and Zdunich's previous collaboration. Much like REPO!, the soundtrack of the film will have you humming in your car as you drive away from the theater. The Devil's Carnival has the potential to become another cult film experience much like REPO! and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
In the spirit of the live-film experience, the cast and crew of the Devil's Carnival have just embarked on a cross-country tour, screening the Devil's Carnival at theaters in select cities. Creators Bousman and Zdunich are scheduled to appear at every stop on the tour and will be joined by stars of the film along the way. The creators and stars will be participating in meet & greets, Q&A forums, sing-a-longs, carnival-inspired games, burlesque, and costume-contests.
The Devil's Carnival tour dates:
4/17 - Nashville, TN @ The Nashville Limelight - J LaRose
4/18 - Atlanta, GA @ The Plaza Theater - J LaRose
4/19 - Orlando, FL @ The Premiere Cinema 14 (at Fashion Square Mall) - J LaRose
4/20 - Tampa, FL @ The Tampa Pitcher Show - Ivan Moody of Five Finger Death Punch
4/21 - Charlotte, NC @ The Neighborhood Theater - Ivan Moody of Five Finger Death Punch
4/22 - Richmond, VA @ The Byrd - - Ivan Moody of Five Finger Death Punch & J LaRose
4/24 - Pittsburgh, PA @ The Hollywood Theater - Briana Evigan
4/25 - Baltimore, MD @ The Charles Theatre - Briana Evigan
4/26 - New York, NY @ Times Scare NYC - Briana Evigan
4/27 - Philadelphia, PA @ The Painted Bride
4/28 - South Hadley, MA @ The Tower Theater
4/29 - Boston, MA @ The Foxboro Theater
5/1 - Toronto, ON, Canada @ Toronto Underground Theater
5/2 - Toledo, OH @ Collingwood Arts Center
5/3 - Chicago, IL @ The Music Box Theater - Emilie Autumn
5/4 - Des Moines, IA @ The Fluer Cinema Cafe - Emilie Autumn & M. Shawn "Clown" Crahan of Slipknot
5/5 - Kansas City, KS @ Leawood Cinema Theater - Emilie Autumn
5/6 - Denver, CO @ The Oriental Theater
5/7 - Salt Lake City, UT @ The Tower Theater
5/9 - Seattle, WA @ The Admiral Theater
5/10 - Portland, OR @ The Clinton St. Theater
5/11 - Sacramento, CA @ The Colonial Theater
The soundtrack for the movie was released April 3rd on Amazon and iTunes, with signed-and-numbered limited edition CDs being sold on the tour stops. Bousman and Zdunich have once again raised the bar for the rock-musical and have created an experience that you certainly won't find in any other film released this year. Both the aesthetic and sound of the film are hauntingly unforgettable. The carnival will bring back childhood memories — both good and bad — in a nightmarishly nostalgic manner. As you will discover when you see the film, "you can't help but fall" for it.