Review: 'Devil's Carnival' a descent into fun

Terrance Zdunich as Lucifer in 'The Devil's Carnival.'

FOXBORO - They repossessed vital organs and now they're putting heaven out of business.

"Repo! The Genetic Opera" director Darren Lynn Bousman and co-writer Terrance Zdunich returned to the Orpheum Theatre last Sunday (April 29) with more twisted antics in their latest musical ode to camp, "The Devil's Carnival." And whether you joined the pre-show festivities or arrived just in time for the main attraction, Bousman and Zdunich took you straight down to hell.

The film follows three sinful characters on a journey pre-determined by Lucifer (Zdunich) himself. Ms. Merrywood (Briana Evigan) the conniving kleptomaniac, Tamara (Jessica Lowndes) the naïve teen, and John (Sean Patrick Flanery) the obsessed father, all fall victim to Lucifer's storytelling games.

As Ms. Merrywood and Tamara fail to correct their wrong-doings, both ultimately become a permanent addition to the devil's carnival. But John, who chases after hallucinations of his lost son, seems to be given a gracious second chance, though Lucifer has a few tricks up his sleeve.

Zdunich's dark and mysterious demeanor, combined with a voice as deep as the gates of Hell, makes for a hypnotizing performance. In this cult triumph, you can't help but root for the bad guy.

Scenes in the film are flooded with tones of red, enhancing the dramatic feel of the malicious underworld. And let's not forget about the music. Similar to "Repo," the soundtrack of "Devil's Carnival" guides the movie from scene to scene. Catchy sing-alongs like "666" and "Grace for Sale" keep you tapping your toes in your seat.

And though the short running time is a bit disappointing, the burlesque pre-show act, behind-the-scenes footage, costume contest and engaging Q&A all provide for a devilishly entertaining experience.

Bousman and Zdunich, who attend each event on the road tour, make sure to remind their audience that the production of their film was entirely self-propelled. They did not have a studio backing them, and say they prefer to bring the show to mom-and-pop theaters rather than big-name cinema chains.

The approach engenders loyalty in their fans, and one of them at the Orpheum showing, sporting a "Repo" tattoo on his arm, confessed to naming his daughter after a character in the film. Bousman and Zdunich pulled him up onstage and the fan then called up his girlfriend and got down on one knee to propose, proving to Bousman and Zdunich that no screening is exactly like the next.

Though the movie was only in Foxboro for one night, the tour continues across the U.S. For locations and tickets, visit www.TheDevilsCarnival.com.

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