Interview: On The Highway To Hell With Alleluia! The Devil’s Carnival’s Darren Lynn Bousman

alleluia the devils carnival tour poster 2

alleluia the devils carnival tour poster 2

So, Alleluia! The Devil’s Carnival Road Tour officially kicks off tonight (August 26th) in Tuscon, Arizona. And taking a moment out of his busy schedule, and while en route through the desert, the movie’s director, Darren Lynn Bousman, took the time to speak with us over the phone today. We dug up some interesting bits of information about the film and Bousman’s interests, but as the Devil would have it, he ended up having phone troubles and we lost our connection. But, if you want to learn where this Devil’s Carnival got its start and what it was originally conceived for, then keep reading.

So, your latest film, Alleluia! The Devil’s Carnival had its release on August 11th, and tonight (August 26th) is the first night of the tour — how are you feeling right now being en route?
It’s always kind of a crazy feeling. It’s been years developing and it comes down to these moments right now about how it’s going to be perceived in the industry. It’s crazy. It’s going to be exhausting. This is day 1 of day 40 on the road, so every day we’re traveling 8 to 12 hours in a car to a new city every single night, to get out of a van to set up a screening, do the screening, which takes about three and half hours, maybe four hours, get back on the road, and repeat for 40 days. You caught us at the very beginning, and I’m sure if you caught me at the end I would be completely out of it. But, looking forward to it.

Do you feel like a bit of a rock star doing this?
It’s funny, we were talking about this. This is my chance to live that rock star, I guess, thing, but without the groupies, the roadies, the drugs, and the madness. We have the van, and that’s pretty much all we have. I mean it’s fun; every night we get to hang out with the fans, seeing how our work has actually inspired and affected people, which not a lot of filmmakers get to see. So, it’s pretty awesome.

Can you tell our readers what can be expected from the tour?
Well, no. That’s what’s kinda awesome about it is that we don’t know what’s going to happen every night, it changes every single night. What we try to do is create an immersive, interactive experience… what that means is that it’s not a passive experience. You don’t walk in quietly and watch the film, you are encouraged to interact, to yell, scream, sing the songs if you know them, we have costume contests, singalongs, give-aways, Q&As with the filmmakers and cast, and tonight I’m in the car right now with Terrance [Zdunich] who plays Lucifer, Marc Senter, and Emilie Autumn, who are the leads to the film, and so they’ll all be there as well to [engage] with the fans. And every night to do something. We have Barry Bostwick, Adam Pascal, Tech N9ne, and all these other joining us on the road just trying to make each city unique. And we have opening acts, burlesque dancers, X-rated clowns, or R-rated clowns that do fun, crazy, weird stuff.

Since you’re a part of the tour, I guess your other projects are on hold?
I’m atached to a few different movies right now. This right now is obviously the priority for the next 40 days. That’s the great thing about technology right now is that I’m sitting talking to you but I’m still online, I’m still able to use the internet off my cell phone. But I actually have two other films that are coming out this year: Abattoir and a movie called Tales of Halloween. Luckily, those movies I just turned in and they’ll continue to move forward without me.

I had the chance to see Tales of Halloween at Fantasia this year, and your short The Night Billy Raised Hell was by far my favorite segment.
Oh, thank you very much. I appreciate it. It’s cool for two reasons for me. Number one, it was written by one of high school best friends, he and I started making movies together when I was 10, 11 years old. Now he’s writing stuff for me. Number two, I got to work with The Devil’s Carnival people, basically the entire crew, the same cinamatographer, make-up artist, prosthetic artist, Barry Bostwick, Adam Pascal, all those people who were a part of The Devil’s Carnival were a part of this as well. That’s an awesome thing; I get to constantly work with my friends.

In Alleluia, the Devil provokes God and Heaven; is this a case where the audience will find themselves sympathizing with the Devil?
Hopefully! What’s funny is that the movie itself is not hardcore, it’s not religious, and it’s not denominational. However, it deals with God and the Devil as iconic figures, and in our world the Devil is the sympathetic one and God is the ruthless one. What I think is great about Paul Sorvino is he kind of gets to come back to his mob-esque mentality, mob-esque rule playing God. And in our world Heaven is the oppressive regime that God rules with an iron fist, and in Hell, the Devil is the sympathetic character who thinks why should people have to suffer for the rest of their lives for committing sins… the Devil sends everyone back to Heaven, he says, screw it, all these people in Hell, go back to Heaven, I don’t need you here. Basically it’s the best of first shot fired which will be a war between the two entities.

Are you familiar with Milton’s “Paradise Lost”? If so, was any inspiration drawn from that?
No, it’s not. Everything that we did is based on Aesop’s Fables, which are morality tales. So, our whole thing is numerous morality tales.

Were you a part of the film’s and tour’s musical selection?
Well, I tasked everything with the partners I had. That’s what’s great about these movies, we were able to personally pick who we want off who we’re fans of. So, I’m a fan of Emilie Autumn, so I cast Emilie Autumn. We’re a fan of Marc Senter, we cast Marc Senter, and on and on and on. Everyone in the movie we’re fans of, and I’ll give you an example: When I grew up, I grew up with Jesus Christ Superstar… I watched it religiously, pun intended, so when I had a chance to cast someone, I said I want to cast Jesus, I want to put Ted Neeley in there. I was a fan of Rent, I want to put Adam Pascal of Rent in there. So, we were absolutely able to pick who we wanted to.

I kinda feel like David Johanssen would be perfect for a role in this franchise? Have you ever considered him for a role?
We all have a list of people we want to with, and we go to them. I would not be surprised if he is not far off. Actually, Terrance Zdunich has mentioned him in the past.

You’ve carved a bit of a niche for yourself with the horror-musicals, has this always been your desire?
Since I was a kid. People ask me how I got into musicals after SAW, but it’s the other way around; I was doing musicals long before SAW. I actually directed Repo! the stage show well before I ever did SAW II.

Will there be a part three in The Devil’s Carnival series?
The hope is yeah! We wanted to do a TV series. The original conception was a TV show, but we haven’t had that chance yet, but if this does well, then absolutely.

The TV show sounds like an awesome concept.
The anti-Glee.

And that’s where we lost the call.

Rock Hard \m/

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