Editor’s Note: Make-up artist Vincent Guastini handled special make-up and prosthetic character effects for the film Alleluia! The Devil’s Carnival, a sequel to 2012’s The Devil’s Carnival, both of which were directed by Darren Lynn Bousman. The sequel is now playing in selected cities across the U.S. and is slated to open soon in Europe. As Halloween approaches, we thought we’d share Guastini’s behind-the-scenes account of the making of Alleluia! The Devil’s Carnival.
Working on Alleluia! The Devil’s Carnival was easily the most challenging project I have had since Requiem for a Dream. The sheer amount of work and prep to get done with two weeks’ notice was insane. It was both a joy and a rollercoaster ride that had some fast curves and was probably one of the hardest prosthetic shows I ever had to work on.
When reading [the script] for the third and fourth time, it soaked in hardcore that I had to surpass what I did on the first movie. So the first thing Darren [Lynn Bousman, the director] told me was, “I want your ideas and I want anything you think might be cool for heaven [where the characters are sent to wreak havoc].” I went back to my studio and got in touch with French artist Alex Tuis; we went to town on different looks for the whole cast, both old and new. I also had designer Jason Rosen and his partner create some concepts of my ideas for the Bayonets, who were basically sexy windup toy girls who had giant windup keys coming out of their backs.
Some ideas for heaven included going way over the top with the make-ups and seeing faces very clearly when they had their different expressions. Darren and I were both fans of, and heavily influenced by, the movie A Boy and His Dog. So those were some guideline ideas with what the regular make-ups could look like. So we did designs for every character, head to toe, for the entire movie, from Glad Hand to the Designer and more. I also suggested that Adam Pascal, as The Agent, kind of have a look to what Jude Law had in A.I., a very doll-like or toy-like face where the hair looks painted on.
From there we went to town designing and coming up with looks for the prosthetic characters. Once things were green-lit we did have a very limited amount of time and budget to get everything done. I got Gage Hubbard and Anissa Salazar, my straight hair and make-up department leads on the first Devil’s Carnival, to come back.
So Anissa and Gage started going nuts and coming up with looks for the straight make-ups, hairstyles and wig looks by doing numerous make-up tests for Darren to approve, while I would mostly oversee and design the special make-up effects and prosthetic characters.
Once production began, I decided even with the limited amount of time that we needed to redo or enhance the looks we did in the first movie. I had the devil resculpted, by Wayne Anderson and the rest of my crew, and I redid most of the prosthetics from the first movie. Resculpted, remolded and recasted them. We had new make-ups to create for heaven as well. It was a massive undertaking in the time we had. It was sort of like doing the make-up for Dick Tracy in a few weeks. The make-up prep alone for Terrance [Zdunich, who plays the devil, Lucifer] had a small crew on it. All the make-ups for the new film were mostly done with silicone, which I felt would give the devil a better look and feel. You can actually see through the ears of the devil, like a real ear would do if heavy light went through it. It was a longer process to do as far as application, but I feel it was worth it. We had to take the devil through different time periods and looks: when he was younger to moments before the first film and after. [We did] some paint make-up changes as well on Lucifer, one being his cleaner party face and another look in his war paint.
Other new prosthetic characters involved Ted Neeley as The Publicist, who has a big horn attached to him growing out of his ear; Barry Bostwick as The Watchword, who has a Dick Tracy look with an exaggerated face [with] nose and chin and jaw line elongated [and] Kristina Klebe as His Lady of Virtue that God (Paul Sorvino) punishes by putting a permanent smile on her face. Also we had to bring back looks on Dayton Callie playing the Ticket Keeper, and new looks and redos on Nivek Ogre from Skinny Puppy as the Twin, whose make-up goes back and forth from past to present. Through the film we finally see him become the lizard-like Twin through a series of different looks like leprosy.
[Out of] anything that didn’t make the cut, even though we did tests, [what] broke my heart was one idea that the devil started as a pure angel and was once colored white. Darren and Terrance came up with this idea that Terrance’s look as the white devil would slowly turn red while he was singing a song, like the evil was starting to take him over. It would have been a visual masterpiece. Hopefully someday in the future, maybe if there is a third film, we can get to do it.
I’d like to thank my crew, my whole team worked very hard in the lab and on set. They include Wayne Anderson, Jeff Farley, Josh Wasylink, Chris Marchwinski, Gala Goloiani, Michelle Sfarzo, Alex Tuis, Jason Rosen, Ian Lome, Jordan Morris, Jason Rosen, Erick Del La Vega, Benjamin Bosteter and Kimberlee Catena.