"Tongues, tongues, slither in the mud; thatís how a carnival grows, my son."
The Devil's Carnival is a short film directed by Darren Lynn Bousman and Terrance Zdunich. It is a Spiritual Successor of sorts to their previous cult hit Repo! The Genetic Opera with several actors returning in different roles.The story revolves around three desperate individuals who find themselves at a carnival set in Hell run by Lucifer (played by Zdunich) himself. There they endure the repetition of the transgressions that lead them to Hell in the first place.It is the first episode of an intended series. The second movie entered production in late 2012 and is due out in the later half of 2013.
Adult Fear: John's son went missing and was presumed dead, which caused him to cut his wrists and end up in hell, where he eventually found out his son died, and he found it out from Lucifer, no less.
Aesop's Fables: Lucifer likes to tell stories from this; the sinners' stories correspond to various fables (The Dog and Its Reflection, The Scorpion and the Frog, and Grief and His Due). This adds a more metaphorical feel to the film's version of Hell- two of the three sinners aren't actually "sinful" by modern interpretations, but their mistakes trap them in suffering nonetheless.
Author Appeal: When asked what his favorite part of the filming was, Terrence Zdunich revealed that he left in the middle of his lengthy Lucifer makeup process just to watch Merrywood being whipped by the Tamer.
Clown, who played the Tamer, said that was his favorite part too.
Dark Is Not Evil: While being in the business of punishing the wicked, Lucifer seems to be more concerned with the fate of innocents and the redemption of sinners than God though this is a very new development.
When the Ticket-Keeper says to John "Didn't I warn you that cutting was against the rules?" Makes sense when you consider why John is in hell. he killed himself by cutting his wrists
Establishing Character Moment: One of the Librarian's minions keeps singing and speaking, despite the myriad signs around the place telling him to be quiet (and the Librarian's repeated warnings). How does the Librarian react? He doesn't kick the minion out or give him a last warning, he pulls his fucking tongue out!
Evil Twin: The Twin becomes this to any sinner who falls in his clutches.
Hypocritical Humor: One interpretation of 'A Penny For A Tale': it's a warning against being greedy; however, the singer won't continue until you give him some money. (To be fair, though, he is a hobo clown...)
Kick the Dog: John's tricked into believing he sees his son a couple of times, the first of which turns out to be a doll, another turns out to be the Fool, who literally kicks him in the shin before running away.
Lawful Stupid: The carnival would be considered this since at least half of the 666 rules don't make sense.
Light Is Not Good: God is indifferent to the suffering of his creations. He is depicted as a toymaker who throws away everything that isn't completely perfect, rather than try and fix anything that is broken.
Word of God has said that God and the angels are darker than Lucifer and his carnies.
Minion with an F in Evil: The Magician comes off as a goofy, childish innocent in the middle of the creepy carnies. He still wants to join in the "fun" of punishing sinners, but his disappointment when he's not called up to participate in one of the acts is so sincere and pouty that you kind of want to hug the guy and tell him his time will come. The Disney-pink sparkles from his wand, his goofy dancing, and his habit of talking to his stuffed rabbit don't help.
Rule of Three: Each story is told three times. There are three stories, three people. It attempts to have the third telling of the third story be a twist by breaking the first two stories pattern of three retellings of the same story.
Self-Inflicted Hell: Somewhat. The dead guests don't land in this Hell exclusively via being bad people (though Merrywood's actual sinful nature doesn't do her any favors), but rather through being unable to overcome their mistakes and thus trapping themselves in haunting repetitions of the things that made them miserable in life.
Take That: God gets a couple of these via Lucifer.