The Devil’s Carnival (2012)
Director: Darren Lynn Bousman
Writer: Terrance Zdunich
Starrring: Sean Patrick Flanery, Briana Evigan, Jessica Lowndes
If you’re familiar with “Repo! The Genetic Opera” then “The Devil’s Carnival” is a bit like it’s obscure, younger cousin. Comparing the two musicals side-by-side, I think I like Devil’s Carnival better. The singing is better, it’s just the right length (run time is just under an hour) and it doesn’t try as hard as Repo! did to be a feature film. Repo! lost steam somewhere around the middle for me but Devil’s Carnival kept its zany momentum and was fun to watch all the way through.
Devil’s Carnival is a MUSICAL. The story follows a thief, a suicidal father, and abused girl through purgatory; a radioactive-colored carnival populated by crazy clowns, living dolls (as played by the incomparable Emilie Autumn), and burlesque dancers. As Lucifer reads Aesop’s Fables, the doomed trio act out the mistakes that led them to Hell in the first place. It’s an entertaining romp with gorgeous special effect makeup and creative sets, which is all you’re going to get when you watch this film, too. If you like musicals with a morbid twist, Devil’s Carnival is for you. If you’re expecting a feature film that can stand on its own without performance art, look elsewhere.
My favorite song/scene was the climax when the suicidal father acts out the five stages of grief and finally goes to heaven. It’s an emotional scene and one of the few moments in the film when the devil, Terrance Zdunich sings.
Second favorite scene is the tale of the scorpion and the frog, when the abused girl is “stung” for foolishly trusting a man she shouldn’t.
I’ll give “Devil’s Carnival” a B+.