I remember a few years ago, I was watching Cabin in the Woods and thinking, “There needs to be a killer unicorn flick.” Last year, indie director Steve Rudzinski answered the call and delivered CarousHell, a film about a sentient carousel unicorn on a rampage. I reviewed this film for my blog before I started writing for PopHorror and figured it was time to revisit it. Read on for my thoughts on this killer flick.
CarousHell is the latest film from director Steve Rudzinski (Captain Z and the Terror of Leviathan 2014) from a script he wrote with Aleen Isley. The film stars Rudzinski, Steve Rimpici, Sé Marie (Cryptids 2017), Haley Jay Madison (Headless 2015), Chris Proud, Sarah Brunner, Chad Bruns (Cryptids 2017), Ben Dietels (Slaughter Drive 2017), Cindy Fernandez-Nixon, P.J. Gaynard, and Josh Miller (Betsy 2017).
Duke hates his job. He has to let kids climb on his back and ride him for hours every single day. But one brat finally pushes him too far. Duke has broken free of his ride and is on a bloody rampage of revenge. He’s going to murder that kid and anyone that gets in his way.
I’m just going to come out and say it: CarousHell is fucking amazing. The film features some of the wittiest dialogue I’ve heard in years, delivered excellently by a killer cast. There are no weak links to speak of, so I just want to touch on a couple of the standouts. Sé Marie’s Laura is the type of character I love to hate, but I had a hard time not loving the character. Her interaction with Steve Rudzinski’s Joe the Pizza Man is one of the many highlights of this film. Rudzinski’s performance is wonderfully over the top and amazingly hilarious. His utter cluelessness when a gorgeous woman is hitting on him and his obsession with getting paid, in spite of a rapidly increasing body count, is a frequent source of laughter. My absolute favorite character is Sarah, played fearlessly by indie scream queen Haley Madison. I honestly could not picture anyone else enthusiastically engaging in interspecies erotica with a carousel unicorn, which is utterly ridiculous and equally sexy, and owes a lot to Madison’s beauty and charm as well as her acting ability. Last but not least, I have to mention Steve Rimpici, who voices Duke. Rimpici does a great job delivering Duke’s cheesy one liners while still managing to imbue the character with a genuine sense of menace.
The kills are extremely gruesome and frequently gory, including a horn to the throat, a machete to the head, a death by throwing stars, a garroting, a head split in half with a hoof, a double impalement/gutting via pink flamingo yard ornament, a trampling, horn to the stomach, a torn out throat, a death by crossbow, an axe to the head, pizza cutters to the eye, melting by lasers, and a child being run down by a car. Some of the kills are brutally fun but a few, mainly the garroting and trampling, manage to be genuinely disturbing, which is a credit to the actors as well as Rudzinski’s ability to stage effect death scenes.
Caroushell is a hilarious and brutal horror comedy that has to be seen to be believed. The film features an eccentric cast of characters, played with enthusiasm by a talented cast of young actors who all die in increasingly brutal and sometimes shockingly funny ways. The film is well executed and manages to never take itself too seriously, but really, how serious do you expect a killer unicorn film to be? I highly recommend you check out CarousHell. You can pick up a copy here.