Alleluia! Devil’s Carnival World Premiere – Red Carpet Photos and Images Part 1
A far fancier affair than the kick-off for the first Devil’s Carnival film, the world premiere for Alleluia! The Devil’s Carnival (review) took place at the historic Egyptian Theater in Hollywood and was packed to the rafters with cast, crew, fans, and freaks. It all happened on August 11, 2015, and Dread Central was there to bring you a Beelzebub’s eye view.
Most of you know director Darren Lynn Bousman for his Saw movies and various full-out horror fare, but there’s also a huge fan base for his more underground offerings: Repo! The Genetic Opera and The Devil’s Carnival: Episode One. Both of those films are dark, fantastical musicals, on which he collaborated closely with Terrance Zdunch, Joe Bishara, and Saar Hendleman. While the music differs wildly from project to project, the variety of it only services to delight their fans to even greater heights.
We arrived in the cool of the evening, just as the sun was sinking and the show was getting on the road. Outside the theater, between the red carpet gala and the ticket holders’ line (which snaked from Hollywood Boulevard to the box office booth), was a collective of crazy carnival acts ranging from mimes in lingerie to corseted sword-swallowers, carnies, shirt-sellers, jugglers, and jesters. There was even a chorus of fallen angels making the rounds, singing sad hymns by candlelight.
Sinners and saints alike marveled at the fanfare, while we chatted with the amazing cast and the filmmakers behind this spooky spectacle. In the “Heaven Cast” are Paul Sorvino, Adam Pascal, Tech N9ne, David Hasselhoff, Ted Neeley, Barry Bostwick, Jimmy Urine, Chantal Claret, Lyndon Smith, Alisa Burket, and Kristina Klebe; in the “Hell Cast” are Terrance Zdunich, Dayton Callie, Emilie Autumn, Bill Moseley, Nivek Ogre, Marc Senter, Danny Worsnop, J. LaRose, Mighty Mike Murga, Briana Evigan, Brea Grant, Carla Harvey, and Heidi Shepherd. We got the chance to talk to most of them; here’s what they had to say.
Shem Andre Byron, a close friend of the filmmakers, was the first one to take the plunge. He told us he was on hand to help out wherever needed on set. “I’m the emperor of all extras,” he said. He’s in the movie at least five times, and if there were a spot-the-Shem drinking game, “after the first five minutes, you’d be beyond the capacity of walking,” he joked. He added a bit of insight as to how the sequel differs from its predecessor, “The first one dealt with three main stories. This one deals with a consistent run-through of one character’s journey. It’s a quantum leap.”
Next up was Mighty Mike Murga, who plays one of the Devil’s minions. “The role of The Fool is expanded. In the first one I was Lucifer’s sidekick. And in Alleluia! I’m someone else’s sidekick, and I really go after Painted Doll. I chase her and hunt her down. I’m more evil in this one.”
Alisa Burket, who played a Hench Girl in Repo! The Genetic Opera, returns to the fold in Alleluia! “I’m a backup singer in Heaven.” How’d the role come about, we asked? “Because I’m so virginal, obviously,” she retorted. “I loved working with Paul Sorvino again. On set we did a few Repo! inside jokes and pictures; it was so great. It feels really good to have it all come full circle. The music is so freaking awesome,” she enthused. “And I also got to work behind the scenes on music, just like I did on Repo!.” Her favorite song, she said, is “’Midnight Rectory,’ sung by Adam Pascal. And the songs I sang with Ted Neely, of course. He’s so sweet and respectful and helpful. He can still belt out those notes. He’s so rock ‘n roll.”
Jimmy Urine and Chantal Claret were next. They’re a duo in the film,and in real life. When we asked what the role of The Translator is, Chantal said, “We are translating the proper rules for how you should live your life. We read a lot of Bible verses and really stick to those.” When asked if screenwriter Terrance Zdunich gave them any dialogue that was a tongue twister, they replied in unison, “All of it was a tongue twister!” Jimmy had seen the first movie, and both know about the Repo! cosplay phenomenon. “Hopefully people will see this, and they will be dressing like Translators for years and years to come!”
Kristina Klebe plays a backup singer in Heaven. “I bounce between the dark and light in Alleluia!,” she explained, “but I do hope that if there’s a third one, I wind up in Hell. Hell is so much more fun!” Kristina said she’s a longtime admirer of Darren’s. “I actually saw the first Devil’s Carnival when I was in New York in film school, and I have wanted to work with Darren forever. He’s so versatile – he loves horror and musicals, and this is a perfect combination of that. You can’t put [this movie] in a box.”
Next we met up with the man himself, Darren Lynn Bousman. When we suggested he’s single-handedly revived the interactive film experience with the road tours, shadow casts, and fan participation, he said, “I hope so. To me, that’s what filmmaking is all about. It should be fun. It makes it an event, and that is my whole thing.” Just after that, Ted Neely joins us. Ted laughs when we say we know what a huge fan-boy his director is. “Yeah, I know. He’s been watching Jesus Chris Superstar forever, and I’ve been pretending to be that guy forever.” Darren added, “In fact, he’s still touring!” Ted said, “I’m going back to Rome with the show next year.” He never tires of it. “It feels like the first time, every time. It’s magnificent.” Darren asked, “Please get back; we are going to do the Devil’s Carnival 3 very soon, and we need you.”
When we mention to Darren that in all the years he’s been making musicals, we’ve never heard him sing, he said, “I’m one drink away from you hearing me sing.” He nods to Ted, “First time I met him, I was singing the lyrics to Jesus Christ Superstar and I could not stop!” Ted laughed and added, “The great thing about Darren, and Terrance and Saar, is that they’re so into music. All forms of music. They really wanted to make rock operas as film. It’s not about, ‘Will they be successful?’ It’s about, ‘Let’s make them as well as we can and make them as entertaining as we can.’ This way, they have built a loyal audience.”
Speak of the Devil; next up is Terrance Zdunich, who told us, “It’s been about four years since I started the writing process. It feels awesome. I’m literally standing on the finish line. It’s red,” he says, indicating the swath of carpet. “On the other hand, I don’t know how I feel until the end of the night, after the screening. And then there’s the road tour. I’m nervous, I’m excited, and honestly, I think I’m just honored. To get to make three dark, rock musicals..? Nobody does that. It’s amazing. There’s an audacity to that, that I’m very proud of. I’m happy with the work; it’s never the easy answer, and that’s why it takes so long. But that’s also what makes the hard work so rewarding. So many people are here right now, and it really speaks to them.”
We asked Terrance: When you write the songs, the cast is not always in place yet. So do you take that into account in the creative process? “The thing about these movies, or Repo!, is that it’s almost like community theater. And I mean that in a sense that it’s a family and there’s all these moving parts. Everyone is involved with everything. I’m hanging a light one day, and I’m singing as Lucifer the next. Casting is part of that. Ted Neely is here, and he’s one of Darren’s icons and childhood heroes, so that’s not an accident. But other people… like Tech N9ne is in this, and he’s a hardcore rapper – but he kills it in a musical. So, as a composer I’m just excited to have people that are so established and awesome in their own right doing interpretations of songs I’ve written.”
Adam Pascale, who plays The Agent in the film, said he takes “10% of nothing. I play God’s right-hand man, and he sends me down to Hell to dispatch Lucifer and his minions. I sing two songs, ‘Midnight Rectory’ and ‘Songs of Old.’ ‘Songs of Old’ was my favorite to sing, but they are both great. Terrance and Saar’s songs are easy to sing, once you ‘get’ them. That’s the thing. They work in a slightly different musical vocabulary than the norm, but once you get them, it’s smooth from there.”
Marc Senter does not sing in the film. “I’m not gonna lie; I had an actor freak-out moment. I wanted a song. But these are all my buddies, and I realized most of it takes place in Heaven this time, so since The Scorpion hangs out in Hell [that’s how it goes]. The Scorpion still has a sting… and a new hairdo and a can of hairspray which he’s pretty excited about. So this is a big step up for him!”
Brianna Evigan returns from The Devil’s Carnival: Episode One. “I’ve worked with Darren a number of times. He says I’m his muse. Laura, his wife, said the same thing. I don’t sing in this one as much as in the first one, but I have three amazing costume changes and you get to see me in Heaven.”
After the interviews, we made our way into the theater and headed for the balcony. The main theater was full for the sold-out show. A series of slides bearing trivia on the film and its makers flooded the screen until the live entertainment portion of the show began. Emceed by a lovely 20s-era styled flapper, the gala consisted of a troupe of ragtag troubadours and string players, as well as an intro from Bousman and his cohorts. Producers and fans were thanked, and then the film commenced.
That was just the beginning. The Hollywood event kicked off a multi-city tour across the country. Locations and dates can be found at the official website.
Look for more from the red carpet tomorrow!