Lord, Lord, that greed it'll kill ya!
Director Darren Lynn Bousman once again teams up with writer Terrance Zdunich and create another interesting and enjoyable musical. What I love about when these two team up is how dark and fun they make their movies. It's like Tim Burton meets Stephen King. Cookie and crazy and fun, yet creepy, sadistic, and at times, malevolent. It's a fun new aspect that not many directors are willing to attempt due to it not being able to rely on general audiences to fund it. Darren said in the Q&A I was at, that they shot "The Devil's Carnival" and did all the technical work for it all in the matter of a week. All the time any of the stars and such had to spare. And for how well done the film ended up being, I was majorly impressed. Seven days to film a movie that turned out this great? More power two you guys! I only wish I had such amazing abilities, myself. You could tell the cast's entire dynamic in other points of this film, as well. What I mean by this is, as Darren also pointed out, everyone in this film was willing to do it for fans and for the sake of art, rather than the sake of a pay check (something I majorly respect), and this mutual love for the universe that this movie has opened up shows in their acting and performances. Everyones nuts and feed off of each other for this. I feel that Darren and Terrance worked together fantastically on this, and I really cannot wait for the future installments of the series, and possibly even more musicals out of the two.
So the movie begins with three characters: John (Sean Patrick Flanery), Tamara (Jessica Lowndes), and Ms. Merrywood (Briana Evigan). Three people, each guilty of one sin or another. John, whose pain and loss is so great, and so tragic that he resorts to taking his own life by the blade. Tamara, constantly letting herself be beaten and abused by any man who'll take her, and not doing anything to change the course her life has taken. Ms. Merrywood, constantly robbing jewelry from people and feeding her ever-growing greed. The three are pulled quite suddenly out of their lives and into Hell. Hell, they find out, is a carnival run by Lucifer (Terrance Zdunich). Followed around by a gang of misfits, the three, trapped by their own sins, try and find their way out, each tormented by different ghouls and demons. John making his way through the carnival is searching for his lost son, and happens across Ms. Merrywood. They team up for a short while to gain access to the carnival. They meet The Ticket-Keeper (Dayton Callie), who explains that they are allowed entry, but they must follow all 666 of the rules, or their will be dire and bloody consequences. Soon they part, and Ms. Merrywood is informed of a gigantic diamond on display at one of the tents. She tries to find her way there, and meets The Twin (Nivek Ogre), who captures her and has an example made of her as the Hobo Clown (Ivan Moody of Five Finger Death Punch) sings of her mistake, and of a tale. While John searches for his son he happens upon many strange figures. Wick (Alexa Vega) and her Woe-Maidens (The Blessed Contessa Montebello, Maggie "Captain Maggots" Lally, and Hannah Wagner), who accosts him and sings an outrageous tune in a taunting tone, as well as the silent, beautiful, and mysterious Painted Doll (Emilie Autumn). Finally, Tamara, the lonely girl, finds another seemingly dangerous boy who sings that she can trust him, as he trusts her. His name is The Scorpion (Marc Senter). The three make their ways through the twists, turns and unimaginable horrors of The Devil's Carnival, but little do they know, their suffering is only just beginning.
The cast of this movie is fantastic, and they all sing their songs so beautifully. I was especially delighted and surprised to see that Sean Patrick Flanery is as good of a singer as he is. Naturally, as many know of his performance from "Repo! The Genetic Opera" as the Graverobber, Terrance Zdunich delivers an excellent performance as Lucifer, and really captures the audience with his intense make-up, and low-ranged, haunting songs. He pulls the strings behind the Carnival, and you can tell he was in charge. Emile Autumn is one of my favorite musicians out there. She is so charismatic, and nice, and fun, and when I heard she was signed on for this movie I was instantly excited. Her character, the painted doll, either doesn't, cannot, or is not allowed to speak, so Emilie does all her acting through her eyes, up until her song "Prick! Goes the Scorpion's Tale," and I really enjoyed her performance. She was a complete mystery to the crowd, and I very much look forward to seeing her in the future installments, and hopefully see more development out of her. Alexa Vega's performance was really quirky and fun, and though much isn't known about her character, I really enjoyed seeing her weirdness in the movie. Briana Evigan and Jessica Lowndes also do great jobs as the two women caught up The Devil's Carnival, trying to find their way out, and doing the best they can not to get caught in the traps. Overall, I loved the cast. Paul Sorvino plays God, though his part wasn't elaborated on very highly in this film, and Shawn Crahan (Slipknot's Clown) also has an appearance in the movie. This film's cast is definitely a big part of what made it so fun and entertaining.
So I say it's safe to assume that you'll enjoy this movie if you loved "Repo! The Genetic Opera," but as I said earlier: This movie is definitely not going to be everyone's cup of tea. If you take my advice, and I sincerely hope you do, and you see this movie, then definitely keep an open mind with it, and go into it with the knowledge that it's only the introduction to a much bigger universe (one which I am waiting on pins and needles to explore). If you do not like musicals, then don't see it. If you don't like dark comedy, and weird music numbers, don't see it. But if you enjoy these things, and other movies with qualities like it, then I urge you to definitely see it!