Review: ‘CarousHELL’ is Pure Absurdist Horror/Comedy Fun
By: Nicholas J. Spacek
“I’m Duke, the prettiest goddammit unicorn in the world.”
With that, CarousHELL opens, and the viewer is enveloped in one of the strangest horror comedies to come out in years. Steve Rudzinski takes a simple story – a young woman forced to take her brother while her stripper mom works – and twists it around the tale of Duke, a carousel unicorn bent on revenge.
“Now you can be in charge of security – in hell!”
The joy in CarousHELL is the simple glee with which the murderous wooden creature dispatches people around the park and town. Duke isn’t just stabbing his victims with his horn. While that’s the case, the creature uses a machete, throwing stars, and piano wire, amongst other methods, all the while quipping like the slasher icon he so dearly deserves to be.
The movie occasionally gets bogged down in character exposition, but it’s all in the name of jokes, and they’re pretty hilarious. There’s a French brother and sister who are “very close,” a “Brony,” and a game of “Never Have I Ever,” and while it seems like the movie might be turning into a house party film, Duke pops up to take out victims with enough regularity to keep CarousHELL from losing its scare factor.
“Idiots. Magic isn’t real.”
As Rudinski moves CarousHELL along, the kills get more and more absurd, each eliciting audible gasps from anyone watching. At least one resulted in a full-blown exclamation of “Holy Christ!” And that’s all before the unicorn sex. Yep. Unicorn sex. It has to be seen to be believed. The dialogue is top-notch, as well.
For all the absurdity of each and every scene – be it kill, quip, or character development – the story never seems too out there. CarousHELL is fully committed to its premise and never deviates. For a plot which hinges on a carousel unicorn killing kids at a party, the script by Rudzinski and Aleen Isley is never stupid. The jokes might be silly, and the kills absurd to the point of parody, but it’s like a Troma picture. By never deviating from the fact that this is something possible, CarousHELL remains oddly plausible.
That’s including a character whose inclusion in this review would beggar belief and a final kill that pushes the limits of low-budget special effects to their brutal limits. CarousHELL deserves a wider audience than it’s likely had since its September 2016 release. Grab the DVD or Blu-ray as soon as possible.
Keep the Fear Alive!