Blu-ray Review “The Devil’s Carnival: Ringmaster Edition”

Starring: Terrance Zdunich, Paul Sorvino, Jessica Lowndes, Sean Patrick Flanery, Briana Evigan, Bill Moseley, Emilie Autumn, Shawn Crahan, Dayton Callie and Alexa Vega.
Director: Darren Lynn Bousman
Release Date: October 23, 2012
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 55 minutes

Film: 5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 5 out of 5 stars

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If you are a fan of “Repo!: The Genetic Opera”, then you surely know about Darren Lynn Bousman and Terrance Zdunich latest creation “The Devil’s Carnival”. This is the way that films should be made. It was done completely independent of any studio and ends up all the better for it. The film just got finished touring the country during its 40-city road tour and its 26-city encore tour and is now available on this Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack on this “Ringmaster Edition”, which is limited edition of 6660 units.  This is sure to become a very sought upon collector’s item. There is also “The Sinner Edition”, which is available only at Hot Topic stores and even includes different behind-the-scenes and commentary tracks, the film on DVD and an extended audio soundtrack as well.

This film has a tremendous cast including Sean Patrick Flanery (“The Boondock Saints”), Briana Evigan (“Step Up 2: The Streets”), Jessica Lowndes (“90210”), Dayton Callie (“Deadwood”), Paul Sorvino (“Goodfellas”), Terrance Zdunich (“Repo!: The Genetic Opera”), Alexa Vega (“Spy Kids”), J. LaRose (“Saw III”), Bill Moseley (“The Devil’s Rejects”), Emilie Autumn (Singer/Songwriter), Nivek Ogre (Lead Singer of Skinny Puppy”), Shawn Crahan (Clown from the band Slipknot), Marc Senter (“The Lost”), and Ivan Moody (Lead Singer of Five Finger Death Punch). Can you believe this freaking cast? If you are fan of “Repo!” then you will notice a few familiar faces here.  But let me tell you this film is so much different from “Repo!” but trust me that is not a bad thing.

The music in this film actually supersedes that of “Repo!: The Genetic Opera”. (Hope you take that as a compliment Terrance). I have been listening to this soundtrack on loop since it was released this past April.  I never seem to get tired of the songs…well maybe “The Devil’s Carnival” just a little. Five Finger Death Punch’s Ivan Moody really owns “A Penny For A Tale”. Emilie Autumn completely mesmerizes you with “Prick! Goes The Scorpion’s Tale”. Dayton Callie scores with a fun track “666” with the help of the Carnies. Even Sean Patrick Flanery delivers on his track “Grief”. Terrance Zdunich seals the deal with the track “Grace For Sale”, which wraps the film on a high note.  Also be sure to stay through the credits for my favorite song “In All My Dreams I Drown” with the amazing Jennifer Lowndes and Terrance Zdunich.

Official Premise: “An Obsessed Father (Sean Patrick Flanery), a kleptomaniac (Briana Evigan), and a gullible teenager (Jennifer Lowndes) are cast from Heaven by God (Paul Sorvino). They find themselves wandering the frightening, unsympathetic midway of “The Devil’s Carnival”. Unbeknownst to these condemned attendees, their lives – and the sins that paved their paths to Hell – have become tethered to specific fables in a book read by Lucifer (Terrance Zdunich)”. “The Devil’s Carnival” puts a unique spin on Aesop’s Fables. If you watch the special features you will hear Zdunich talking about how there is over 600+ different fables (That’s a lot of SEQUELS!).  This chapter includes “The Devil and His Due”, “The Dog and Her Reflection”, and “The Scorpion and the Frog”.  There is literally so many different ways that it can continue going down the line.

The special features are made for the fans with a lot of love.  I review a lot of Blu-ray/DVDs each week and it is sad to see the extras that some films come with.  This amazing release has not one but three commentary tracks, each one unique.  The first is with director Darren Lynn Bousman and writer/actor Terrance Zdunich. Out of the 55 minutes, there is not a millisecond of dead air.  The duo gives a lot of great information about the film and this labor of love for them.  The next is completely different with the cast including Emilie Autumn, Briana, Sean Patrick Flanery and Marc Senter.  This one focuses more on stories and rants from the cast and less on detailed production but is still fun as hell.  Lastly there is an amazing “A Repo Reunion” commentaries track with Darren Lynn Bousman, Bill Moseley, Ogre, Paul Sorvino, Alexa Vega and Terrance Zdunich.  This is my favorite of the three and is just a riot.  Sorvino and Vega definitely steal the show and help deliver a really entertaining commentary.

There are three featurettes included with each one outdoing the next.  The first is called “The Devil Made Me Do It: The Making of The Devil’s Carnival” and nearly runs an hour, fans are going to flip for this.  This includes interviews with pretty much all the cast and gives some amazing insight into the short seven-day production and road to the screen. The next one is a makeup featurette called “The Devil’s in the Details: The Special Makeup & Prosthetic Effects of The Devil’s Carnival”.  There is a lot of amazing details that went into this film that might be overlooked and this featurette puts all that into the spotlight.  The last featurette is called “A Devil of a Time: The Devil’s Carnival Road Tour”.  Like I said earlier in the review, this film toured 40 cities and then another 26 encore cities.  This featurettes is a look into the fans that supported this film and made it the success it is.  Wrapping up these great features is the theatrical trailer & web teasers for the film.

The Ringmaster Edition also includes a collectible booklet with song lyrics.  Remember that when DVD’s used to actually come with inserts?  The only thing that I have to comment on is that the film is a Blu-ray/DVD combo but comes in a standard DVD case.  Since this is a limited edition release, I would have preferred something a little more special or at least a Blu-ray jewel case. And don’t worry, if you are a fan of this film stay tuned because Darren Lynn Bousman and Terrance Zdunich are hard at work with the second and third chapter of “The Devil’s Carnival”. Please support independent film because without the fans, this film and others like it will never see the light of day. See you at the road tour for “The Devil’s Carnival: Part 2”.

One Reply to “Blu-ray Review “The Devil’s Carnival: Ringmaster Edition””

  1. Very disappointed by the old, DVD-style case, especially when their website shows an industry-standard Blu-ray case.

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