Alleluia! The Devil's Carnival

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Alleluia! The Devil's Carnival
Devilscarnivalepisode2.png
Theatrical poster
Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman
Produced by
  • Chris M. Bonifay
  • Sean E. DeMott
  • Chang Tseng
Written by Terrance Zdunich
Starring
Music by
  • Saar Hendelman
  • Terrance Zdunich
Cinematography Joseph White
Edited by Brian J. Smith
Production
companies
Cleopatra Films
  • Execution Style Entertainment
  • Limb from Limb Pictures
Release date
  • August 11, 2015 (2015-08-11)
Running time
98 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $500,000

Alleluia! The Devil's Carnival [1] is an American musical horror film directed by Darren Lynn Bousman and written by Terrance Zdunich. It is a sequel to Bousman's 2012 short film The Devil's Carnival. Unlike the previous film, Alleluia is a feature-length project. Production started in August 2014.[2]

Plot[edit]

Lucifer conducts a train full of condemned souls, including Ms. Merrywood, back up to Heaven. As the train approaches Heaven’s gates, Ms. Merrywood discovers a horseshoe pendant and the condemned souls begin singing hymns (‘’Shovel and Bone’’). In Heaven, God discusses the crisis with his top dog, The Agent. The Agent and The Translators, officers in Heaven’s police force, interrogate Merrywood about her presence and the pendant. In Hell, the Ticket-Keeper warns Lucifer that the carnies are not prepared for a war with Heaven, but Lucifer dismisses him to entertain a cloaked figure. Lucifer opens his book of Aesop’s Fables and reads “The Filly and The Lapdog” to the cloaked person.

In flashback, a new crop of Applicants arrive in Heaven, including best friends June and Cora. They are welcomed into Heaven and are offered a tour of the premises (‘’All Aboard (Everybody’s Doing The Ark’’). June defies The Librarian about banned books in Heaven and steals a Number 1 armband from The Designer, who keeps the Number 7s working in a windowless design shop, that starkly contrasts with the grandeur of the Heaven lobby (‘’Only By Design’’). June’s rebellious nature makes her and the reserved Cora wander around Heaven, only to be arrested and interrogated by The Translators (‘’Good Little Dictation Machines’’). The Agent intervenes, and there is a mutual attraction between him and June, which gets him negative press from The Watchword. When God becomes aware of this, he orders The Agent to seduce June to expose her heresy.

The Agent brings June to a bar, Club Cloud Seven, where his closeness with God leads him to be invited to sing (‘’Down at the Midnight Rectory’’). God arrives and serenades one of his girlfriends (‘’Cloud Serenade’’). The Agent and June’s relationship continues, always under the watchful eye of The Watchword (‘’The Watchword’s Hour’’). The Watchword confronts Cora, warning her that her lesbian attraction to June is forbidden and illegal in Heaven. The Agent gives June the horseshoe pendant Merrywood will find, telling her the story of Dunstan, which reignites her curiosity with banned material and she runs off to steal a restricted book. Confident that The Agent’s clout will protect her, she steals a book, setting off an alarm. June is beaten by The Translators and tossed down an elevator shaft leading to Hell. Meanwhile, The Librarian instructs Cora and the other Applicants to denounce June, and spend the rest of the night restoring order by re-shelving Heaven's library with him (‘’Hitting on All Sevens’’). The Librarian tells Cora she will go far in Heaven.

June arrives at a weaker, smaller Carnival, with a younger Lucifer and Ticket-Keeper. She flees from The Fool and finds The Twin and asks him for a drink. The Twin obliges as long as she play a shell game for her pendant. As the game goes on, The Twin shapeshifts into Cora, The Agent, and finally, June herself (‘’Fair Game’’). Upon losing, June wanders into the midway and finds Lucifer, who becomes inspired by her to turn the Carnival into something that can challenge Heaven. He helps her transform into The Painted Doll ("After the Fall").

In the present, Ticket-Keeper rebuffs several plans to attack Heaven from the carnies. The cloaked figure is revealed to be Painted Doll, who will play a role in Lucifer’s war with Heaven. Ticket-Keeper confronts Lucifer about his worries with the Carnival, offering to sacrifice himself for the cause. Lucifer refuses Ticket-Keepers martyrdom and shows him his plans for the war. Meanwhile, in Heaven, God dispatches The Agent to face Lucifer and quell the uprising in Hell, giving him a book containing the story “The Filly and the Lapdog”. God puts on a presentation for the denizens of Heaven, mocking Lucifer in a parable drawn from the Dust Bowl and Aesop’s Fable “The Swallow and the Other Birds” (‘’Bells of the Black Sunday’’).

The Agent arrives in Hell and finds Painted Doll. She leads him on to give the carnies time to capture and poison him. Lucifer prepares for battle by applying war makeup as God sends armed reinforcements down to Hell. In Heaven, Ms. Merrywood is revealed to be The Twin, now posing as The Agent returning from his mission (‘’Hoof and Lap/The Devil’s Carnival’’). In a post-credits sequence, The Twin as The Agent serenades God (‘’Songs of Old’’).

Cast[edit]

Musical numbers[edit]

  1. "Shovel and Bone" - Lucifer, The Twin (as Ms. Merrywood), and Lost Souls
  2. "All Aboard (Everybody's Doing the Ark)" - The Publicist and His Ladies of Virtue
  3. "Only by Design" - The Designer and Fillies
  4. "Good Little Dictation Machines" - Translator Bentz and Translator Batez
  5. "Down at the Midnight Rectory" † - The Agent, The Publicist, and His Ladies of Virtue
  6. "Cloud Serenade" † - God
  7. "The Watchword's Hour" - The Watchword
  8. "Hitting on All Sevens" - The Librarian, Cora and Applicants
  9. "Fair Game" - The Twin (As himself, Cora, The Agent, and June)
  10. "After the Fall" - Lucifer
  11. "Bells of the Black Sunday" - God, Cora, and His Ladies of Virtue (except Geraldine)
  12. "Hoof and Lap / The Devil's Carnival" - The Painted Doll, The Agent, and The Rosy Bayonettes
  13. "Songs of Old" ‡ - The Twin (As The Agent)
  14. "Alleluia" § - Heaven

† Order is swapped on film and soundtrack (film order is listed here)

‡ Performed during a mid-credits scene

§ Snippets are heard throughout the film, but it's only played in full over the end credits

Production[edit]

Most of the original cast from the first film are returning, with Zdunich and Sorvino reprising their roles of Lucifer and God. New cast members include Barry Bostwick, Ted Neeley, Adam Pascal, Tech N9ne, Jimmy Urine, Chantal Claret, and David Hasselhoff.[2]

Whereas The Devil's Carnival took place in Hell, Alleluia focuses on Heaven. In describing it, writer Zdunich stated that "Heaven in particular is a very different aesthetic than hell...think Golden Age of Hollywood. You have fancy suits and everything is tailored, an air that everything is perfect and glamorous, but meanwhile in the backdrop of that era you also have the Great Depression." Zdunich went on to say that the style would be "Clark Gable on acid." [4]

Bousman described the film as "[pulling] back the curtain on Heaven... and in 'The Devil's Carnival,' God and his angels are a whole lot darker than Lucifer and his carnies." [5]

Filming[edit]

A fifteen-day shoot was planned, but due to financial constraints this was reduced to fourteen days, concluding on September 2, 2014.[6]

Release[edit]

The official teaser trailer for Alleluia! came out on November 6, 2014, with the film due for a Summer 2015 release.

As with its predecessor, Alleluia! was screened via a 'Road Tour' across the US. The film premiered in Los Angeles on August 11, 2015 and the road tour kicked off two weeks later on August 26, 2015 in Tucson, Arizona. The tour ran until October 18, ending with an encore screening in Los Angeles.

The film's soundtrack was made available for purchase digitally from iTunes and physically from Cleopatra Records on August 7, 2015. According to the director at a road tour Q&A, the film is scheduled for a Blu-ray release on Christmas Day, with preorders available on Black Friday. The film was ultimately released in March 2016 as a Blu-ray and DVD combo pack, which was limited to 6,660 copies, similar to the home media release for The Devil's Carnival. The Blu-ray set also included a lyric booklet, a certificate of authenticity, and came packaged in a nylon drawstring bag.

Reception[edit]

Audience reception for Alleluia! The Devil's Carnival has been positive.[7][8]

References[edit]

External links[edit]