"Lost souls enter The Devil's Carnival where they are each faced with the sins they committed in life."
Yeah, I know "The Devil's Carnival" is a musical and isn't my kind of thing at all, but I was challenged by the Real Queen of Horror to watch it. Once I discovered that it had the beautiful Emilie Autumn (one of my favourite musicians from the heyday of MySpace) and Briana Evigan in it, the idea didn't seem so bad. Challenge accepted!
Unfortunately, apart from providing the opportunity to lust over Emilie Autumn in a very small acting role as Painted Doll, the movie doesn't have a lot going for it.
It all looks very nice, but the three Aesop's Fables underneath aren't used to convey exactly the same moral messages as they were originally intended to. Moral messages are redundant if the recipients are already in Hell, but that little detail never bothered the Amicus anthologies much so I'm willing to make some allowances. The songs which unnecessarily repeat the same tales again are absolutely dreadful though.
"The Dog and his Meat" or "The Dog and her Shadow" doesn't quite match the original apart from being about greed. Let's be brutally honest here, Briana Evigan is far from being a dog! It's nice to see her get topless for a split second although it would be better if she turned round while being whipped. Boobs and blood are sadly lacking throughout.
The second story comes closest to "The Frog and the Scorpion" by showing the danger of trusting someone who is unable to control his nature, but it's still a bit of a stretch. Jessica Lowndes looks amazing in her '50s-style green dress, but her character, Tamara, is the one who can't change her nature to trust people too easily rather than the Scorpion (Marc Senter) who is nothing but a liar.
I can't even place the third story, "The Devil and his Due", among Aesop's Fables, but it's been many years since I last looked at them (plus there are over 650 of the buggers anyway). It could be one of Aesop's Fables or it might possibly be a conflation of any other fable with a Faustian theme. The punchline seems to be from "The Monkey's Paw", but it could even be from one of the fairytales by the Brothers Grimm. Whatever the case, Sean Patrick Flanery is okay in it but not exceptional.
The Devil or Lucifer, played by Terrance Zdunich, is the best of a bad lot. Having a slightly similar appearance to the late Andy Hallett from "Angel" apart from the green is no indication of talent though. Lucifer is no Lorne, and his sing-talking is worse than Ke$ha's.
As with all musicals, I can't help but feel that 'The Devil's Carnival" would've been a lot better without the music. The lyrics of most of the songs are hard to decipher and some don't fit the tone of the movie whatsoever. I doubt that they took more than five minutes to compose, and if they did, they were meant for something else. If you've never seen a musical like this before, just imagine a really crap pop video of a song you've never heard before which has been coupled with burlesque images that don't match the lyrics, then multiply it by twelve, take away the number you first thought of, and try to lick your own elbow.
Even though it's short, the film exceeds in self-congratulatory padding to show off the make-up, sets and costumes. Mercifully, this does limit the number of songs involved but still allows the ones that do exist to be unintelligible and boring. At least there are some pretty girls in bikinis to ogle.
It's no great surprise that "The Devil's Carnival" is from the same director (Darren Lynn Bousman) and writer (Terrance Zdunich) as the equally horrible "Repo! The Genetic Opera" (2008). What does amaze me is that anybody likes this kind of thing or that it has any commercial value outside of a very small niche. Netflix subscribers beware!
For me, "The Devil's Carnival" was 55 minutes of absolute torture compounded by the fact that I also spotted the loathsome Hannah Minx from YouTube as an extra. Yeah, she's pretty and everything, but why have such a talentless waste of space in a movie? Oh, because she has enormous boobs, obviously. Gah! You have to laugh that she's wrongly credited as "Hannah Jinx" instead of her YouTube moniker or real name. Aw, how sad.
After that segue, I'll end this review with an ungrammatical YouTube comment which sums things up almost perfectly: "It's just a bad musical with corny songs, corny dancing with a bunch of girls walking around with their tits hanging out."
Zena, if you truly enjoyed this, what the Hell is wrong with you?