Six Hundred Sixty-Six

Living in the relative isolation of south central PA, the lack of cultural pursuits and entertainments which hold the most appeal for someone of my aesthetic tastes is an ofttimes depressing proposition. To be fair, Philadelphia, Baltimore and D.C. all lie within reach, but at just enough distance to curb impulsiveness. Because of this, I have a tendency to pass on things which I might enjoy by surrendering to the powerful gravity of inertia and the challenging logistics of travel.

Knowing that this cultural exile is somewhat self-imposed, I’m trying to make more of an effort to not let myself miss out on the things that make this life worthwhile.

On Friday night, I took it upon myself to break out of my malaise and travel to Philly to check out the Devil’s Carnival.

If you’ve not heard of the Devil’s Carnival, it’s a 55 minute film from the creators of Repo: The Genetic Opera that’s currently making its way across the country on a 31 city tour, playing in art houses and small theaters.

I first learned of the DC from an article on Ain’t It Cool News, but then soon started seeing mention of it pop up in various friends and acquaintances’ facebook/twitter feeds.

Accompanying the film, are the creators Daren Bousman and Terrance Zdunich along with a small troupe of burlesque/cosplay/sideshow performers lending to the hellish circus atmosphere.

Anyone who knows me or follows me on twitter, knows that I am something of a film obsessive, so the prospect of seeing a film under these circumstances was pretty much an easy sell.

For the most part, the experience was fantastic.

The film is a wonderfully bizarre mix of morality tale, horror movie and Broadway musical.

In short, its tailor made to attain its cult status, but I found that despite being a well-aimed arrow directed at its target audience, it was also a very well-crafted arrow.

Unfortunately, the Philly show was plagued by technical difficulties and this did make the viewing experience less than ideal. It was watchable, but I definitely look forward to seeing this one again on my own system.

Despite the problematic viewing, I think it was an easy film to get lost in. The music really does most of the work, and while not every song is a break out winner, there’s easily four standouts which made the soundtrack a must buy.

The best of which is no doubt, In All My Dreams I Drown.

Others, such as the haunting Grief, and zydrate-like Grace for Sale, will appeal to those who know the Repo soundtrack by heart, and in some ways remind me of Elfman’s Nightmare Before Christmas work.

In the Q&A afterwards, we learned that the film is the first “episode” in what the creators hope is a trilogy, with the future episodes dependent upon the success of this first film and sales of the soundtrack.

I for one hope we get to see more of the Devil’s Carnival, so if you have the chance I encourage you to check it out. Even if this might not on the surface seem like your “kind of thing” at the very least it’s an experience that one rarely has the opportunity to witness in these days of home video and multiplex movies and is worth seeking out.


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