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John’s Horror Corner: The Devil’s Carnival (2012)

November 18, 2012

Note the {Episode 1} on the poster…

MY CALL:  Enthusiasts of musicals, adventurous film lovers and fans of Repo! should rejoice and be pleased to watch The Devil’s Carnival.  I give this a “B+” for intrigue.  IF YOU LIKE THIS WATCHRepo! The Genetic Opera (2008).

John (Sean Patrick Flanery; The Boondock Saints, Saw 3D: The Final Chapter), Merriwood (Scream Queen Briana Evigan; Mother’s Day, Sorority Row) and Tamara (Jessica Lowndes; Autopsy, Altitude) find themselves in a carnival in Hell dressed in the wardrobe of a long past era (‘50s-ish).  After introductory choruses by the carnies, the music treats the sins of each sinner in turn as the Devil reads them as fable morality tales.

Jessica Lowndes in a sock hop dress, tied up to a knife wheel with an undead greaser.

This short (56 minute) musical was directed by Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw II-IV, Repo! The Genetic Opera, Mother’s Day).  The carnies were all well done and their make-up had an intentional theater appeal.  The Devil looks stunningly similar to the djinn (i.e., genie) in Wishmaster (1997).  Other characters, especially the cracked face “painted doll” lady who we see quite often, were well wardrobed and creepily presented.  The music was decent, occasionally surprisingly good, and dominated the film’s running time as each of the three wayward souls’ sinful stories were told in song.

The Painted Doll.  Eerie and sexy.

Between the dark nature of the movie and carnies versus the bright colors and lighting in the sets and wardrobe I found an interesting duality towing my reactions.  This is musical horror in theme, but presented in an upbeat Broadway manner—except for John’s tale, the third and final of the Devil’s fables, which is more forlorn.  I am especially fond of the Devil’s role and his musical number at the end, which explains the decisions he has made regarding the three souls cast into his carnival.

This strikes me as being a great deal similar to Repo! The Genetic Opera, although Repo! was only occasionally upbeat in song (in an uppity, non-macabre feel good way, that is) and not so much in set and wardrobe palate.  In either case, the “feel” is there and fans of Repo! should be quite pleased.  We even find some of the same actors (e.g., Paul Sorvino).

I am told that this is the first of a series of films.  I’m curious to see how the next installment will connect to the present characters and theme.

Very different.  Very interesting.  If you’re very adventurous, then give this a shot.

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