We get our answer when a homicidal carousel unicorn gets pushed over the edge in Steve Rudzinski’s 2016 movie that has cult franchise potential
As I get back into the reviewing swing of things after a couple months, I received a suggestion from Pennsylvania filmmaker Steve Rudzinski to check out a flick that he did. I’m nothing if not timely, as I got my first taste of CarousHELL almost four years to the date of its release.
“I just hope it makes you laugh,” Rudzinski, who played the very apologetic cuckholder in Slaughter Drive (reviewed a couple months back), said in an email to me introducing the flick that he co-wrote, directed and had a role in.
Welp, rest assured Mr. Rudzinski, I’ve never seen anything like it.
Actually I take that back — I HAVE seen something KIND OF like this. It was called Falling Down and it had Michael Douglas in it.
But Rudzinski’s flick has one key difference from that flick in which a sweaty bespectacled downsized middle-aged former cog in the military-industrial complex rolls around early 1990s El Lay shootin up fast-food joints after saying he had been pushed way too far.
And that difference makes all the difference.
In CarousHELL, the wronged party is a sentient, Nazi(?)-possessed homicidal, weapon-toting carousel unicorn that’s given one-too-many rides to food-obsessed ungrateful, disrespectful brats and dammit, he’s had enough.
I know you have questions, such as:
How does this inanimate “prettiest damn unicorn in the world” get around? Hate is a great motivator, and the hate is strong in this one. This kid named Larry, aka “Lunchbox,” (Teague Shaw) gets dragged to this amusement park by his social-media obsessed older sister, Laurie (Maria Se), who has a boyfriend there. Larry rides Duke, picks his nose, wipes it on the carousel animal he’s riding and it turns out that the unicorn has had all he can stands and he can’t stands no more. It’s over-the-edge time.
How does Duke kill people? After drawing first blood by killing a drunken clown co-worker, we’re talking magical rampage as Duke gathers weapons (machete, piano wire, bow-and-arrow, ninja stars, lawn flamingos, ax) or uses his powerful horn or hooves to send a bunch of people “TO HELL!”
How does Duke follow Lunchbox and Laurie to the party after they leave the amusement park? Unicorns are magic.
So who can stop the unicorn rampage and what will be left of them? Much as Michael Douglas had a nemesis in Robert Duvall in Falling Down, Duke faces the twin threats of Cowboy Cool (P.J. Gaynard), the guy with the giant novelty cowboy head mask, leather jacket and magical revolver, who was keeping an eye on Duke, and Pizza Guy Joe (Rudzinski his own self), who just wants to get paid his $42.39 from a delivery so he can save up for cancer surgery for his dog, Otis.
Joel Schumacher wishes he made this one. CarousHELL has more dead bodies, more clowns, more carousel rides, more homicides, more blood and more breasts in a little more than half of the running time of his 1993 vigilante flick, and Rudzinski probably used less than 0.0025 of Falling Down’s budget. Seriously – you tell me what sounds more entertaining? Michael Douglas in horn-rimmed glasses wandering around the streets of El Lay or a homicidal unicorn going full-on massacre in Bridgewell, Pa.?
Rudzinski keeps things breezy — CarousHELL runs just over an hour — and he and his co-screenwriter Aleen Isley get references to Die Hard, Jason Takes Manhattan, Halloween and Alien in there, among others. Plus the scene where Pizza Guy Joe goes off on Laurie when she says she can’t call the police when she’s been on her smartphone the whole movie was #OMG #LOL – so mission accomplished in making this critic laugh.
Special mention goes to Cody Ruch, who continues the grand Pennsylvania tradition of slime glopola goodness established by some guy by the name of Savini as he did in Slaughter Drive, once again providing practical garrotings, head crushings, throat rippings, horn impalements and those glopola effects we Mutants demand in our horror.
And speaking of impalements…
- Best Love Scene: When Duke hooks up with Sarah (Haley Joy Madison), the unicorn-obsessed party host, makes her forget her boyfriend, who’s busy trying to get photos of other partygoers’ garbonzas, and fills her with his magic seed. Kudos to Haley as she really has to carry the scene since Duke is kinda wooden.
- Best (or Worst) Foreign Relations: The snooty partygoers whom we thought were French turn out to be a Quebecer brother and sister pair with benefits.
- Best Dr. Loomis Impersonation: Cowboy Cool lets Duke escape on his watch and tries to bring down the vengeful unicorn and save Lunchbox, even after the kid told him to “eat a dick.” (Although to be fair this parallel may be a stretch, Jamie Lee Curtis never told Donald Pleasence to do that in either the original Halloween or the sequel. Maybe in the Rob Zombie versions?)
- Best Representation of How Not to Cook a Smore: When Duke (voiced by Steve Rimpici) develops heat vision and lasers the hell out of one of the characters until she looks like a marshmallow on a stick that was stuck directly in a campfire.
- Best Response to Being Propositioned: Our man Joe from Pete’s Pizza, who only wants to get his $42.39, responds to Laurie: “You want to put my penis on a pizza?”
Fans of the absurd — like the previously reviewed VelociPastor — and other tongue-in-cheek horror flicks are going to want to give CarousHELL a spin. There are more crushed heads than Falling Down and fewer references to Reaganomics. Plus it has a wooden (or resin?) unicorn on a rampage.
Steve says he’s working on a sequel. There are a bunch of angles they can pursue. Looking forward to it.
You can purchase CarousHELL on DVD or BluRay directly from Rudzinski’s Silver Spotlight Films or it’s available to stream on TubiTV or on Amazon Prime.
Check this one out. Duke demands it, and he’s horny.