The Upstate NY filmmaking family – The Adams Family (parents John Adams and Toby Poser, alongside daughters Zelda and Lulu Adams) – is the indie filmmaking team behind award-winning features Hellbender (Rotten Tomatoes’ #1 Rated Horror Film of 2022) and The Deeper You Dig. Its World Premiere at Fantasia International Film Festival earned the Cheval Noir Award for Best Film and Cinematography. At FrightFest, in the Total Film Award category, it won Best Film, Best Director(s), and Best Wtf?! Editing. If it is horror you like, with an intriguing story and excellent performances, this is a film for you. If you don’t like violence in your movies, be prepared to see plenty if you go forth and see it.
Synopsis: Where the Devil Roams – a dusty, diabolical tale of love, blood, and dark legacies that follows a family of sideshow performers along a dying carnival circuit during the Great Depression.
The Adams Family writes, directs, and stars in the film (as before), with a much larger cast of characters from prior movies. Set in the years after World War I, the film begins in black and white with a theater filled with well-dressed patrons, ready to listen to a performer who scoots himself across the stage on his knees. He reads a poem, captivating the audience, about Abaddon and the heart of the mortal woman he loved. I was mesmerized by this performance and thus engaged to see what was to come.
The following stages and performers are those of a traveling carnival. This show is no ordinary carnival as it has a wide range of performers either wearing full-faced make-up and an assortment of costumes or just minimal and simple clothing. Several performers take the stage as a single act, such as Mr. Tipps (Sam Rodd), who grabs the audience’s attention by cutting off his fingers, only to appear later with them attached. He is well-versed in Abbadon. There is a family of three among them. Maggie (Toby Poser) and Seven (John Adams) are the parents of Eve (Zelda Adams), who is unable to speak but can sing as she wears her white costume with angel wings.
They have a very tight relationship. The three family members are inseparable. It sounds Idyllic, but we soon see their true personalities. As they take the road away from the carnival-like nomads, they camp in the forest and along the rivers, where the family cleans up. They do what they must to survive and care for each other at any sign of difficulties. All the scenes as a family are as authentic as possible, given that this is a real-life family.
They drive in a fabulous (now vintage) auto, and vintage auto buffs will swoon over the vehicles in the film. The mother, Maggie, reacts to situations by murdering people, and her husband, Seven, battles PTSD from his time as a war medic and covers his eyes. Eve photographs the bodies with a very cool vintage camera to document the kill. This setting is during the Depression, so Maggie’s wrath is taken out on the wealthy who have fabulous homes, land, etc., obtained at the expense of others. There is a remarkable scene of Maggie arguing about what a sign states and what the landlady wants. Maggie is impulsive and yearning to take out the elder woman, but her husband manages to drive them away and keep going.
This story may not appeal to every horror film fan. Still, it certainly looks pretty original and captures the lives of people who struggled through the Great Depression and who may often be overlooked or forgotten. While killing people at random, as Maggie does, is hard to watch, this brings to light some authentic struggles for survival from day to day. There are the ones who have, are greedy, and refuse to share, and those in need. At the time, there was a considerable difference between 75 cents and $2.25 when you are barely scraping by.
The film has a theatrical release on November 3 across the United States and a digital release on November 7 to view on cable and digital platforms.
Source: Wonder Wheel Productions, Yellow Veil Pictures