Review

The Devil’s Carnival is a short experimental horror film created by director Darren Lynn Bousman and writer/actor Terrance Zdunich. The team had previously produced the musical cult film Repo! The Genetic Opera.

The Devil’s Carnival has Aesop’s Fables at the core of its story, with the main characters each representing a fable: “Grief and His Due”, “The Dog and Its Reflection”, and “The Scorpion and the Frog”. The film stars, among others, Sean Patrick Flannery, Jessica Lowndes, Paul Sorvino, Ivan Moody, Emilie Autumn and Zdunich as the devil.

The film was released on DVD and Blu-Ray on October 23, 2012. The movie was released in two editions, a “Ringmaster” collector’s edition and a “Sinners” version. The “Ringmaster” edition is a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack limited to 6,660 copies whereas the “Sinner” edition is a DVD packaged with an extended soundtrack sold exclusively at Hot Topic. The Ringmaster’s edition features audio commentary tracks from the cast and crew and several features on the making of the film. The film has  also been released generally in video stores and is currently available on Netflix.

The Devil’s Carnival is a bit of non-traditional film-making given that the running time is under 60 minutes and the film is set to be an ongoing project with episodes two and three already written and casting already undertaken for Episode two, with production tentatively to begin at the end of the year. Bousman and Zdunich have stated that because the project was self-funded, episode two will be produced if they recoup the costs for episode one.

As a result of the independent and unique production of the movie, the initial “release” of the film consisted of Zdunich and Bousman traveling door-to-door, so to speak, personally screening the film to crowds across the country. Earlier this year, we caught an original screening of the film in Toledo, Ohio that was a Rocky Horror-esk dress up party complete with a carnival performer, a costume competition, a Q&A and behind-the-scenes tidbits for Repo! fans.

Film director Darren Bousman has predicted that audiences will either love or hate the movie. Actually, our collective opinion falls firmly in the “Like Very Much” column. We found that Devil was missing a little character development, but it was easy to follow along with the lessons presented by the fables and the performances were stunning. The music was whimsical yet dark and expertly performed by acclaimed vocalists such as Ivan Moody of rock band Five Finger Death Punch and alternative artist and cult figure Emilie Autumn. And, the duet between Jessica Lowndes and the devil (Zdunich), added during the movie credits, is hauntingly beautiful.

We recommend a trip to The Devil’s Carnival for a rousing experimental romp in what is planned to be a trilogy of movies dancing through parables and darkness.

 



About the Author

Linda Gabriele
Linda Gabriele
Editor, legal advocate, photographer, playwright, actor, director, freelance writer, adjunct professor, blah, blah, blah . . .