Directed by Steve Radzinski
Having had enough of snotty kids abusing him at the local fairground, carousel unicorn Duke decides to seek out revenge against the last little brat to ride him with a promise of bloodshed against anyone who gets in his way.
At HorrorCultFilms, I’m probably known for my love of low budget movies that take on a comical idea and run with it. When Steve Radzinski’s CarousHELL landed in my inbox, I just knew that I had to watch it. I mean, who wouldn’t want to watch a movie about a killer carousel unicorn on a bloody rampage?
The story starts with social media mad Laurie who has to look after her younger brother Larry (or Lunchbox as she calls him) for the day. Taking him to the local theme park where her boyfriend works, Laurie spends her time “cheeping” (tweeting) her current inane thoughts to her mass of followers whilst Lunchbox goes on the carousel. Choosing to ride Duke, Lunchbox slaps and kicks the carousel unicorn, wipes snot and bogeys all over him, and just generally acts like the dirty child he is. For Duke, this is one step too far and once the ride ends, he summons up all his energy to break free of his carousel shackles to take revenge on Lunchbox and everyone around him with his giant horn and his incredible arsenal of weapons (where he stashes them is anyone’s guess). Watch as Duke magically floats down the pathways, garrotes, impales, throws ninja stars and tramples the local townsfolk accompanied by his dry one-liners.
With Laurie and Lunchbox having made their way to a party at Sarah and Steven’s house, which has its own set of strange guests to contend with, Duke sets off in their direction with murder in mind. Can the theme park mascot Ccowboy Cool stop Duke before it’s too late?
CarousHELL lives up to its name as a horror comedy with an insane premise offering chuckles alongside its cast of unusual characters including My Tiny Uni (unicorn equivalent of My Little Pony) fans Sarah and Steven, pizza boy Joe who just wants his delivery payment and incestuous French-Canadian siblings Pierre and Margot. Their banter, some of which is often exaggerated, will raise a smile though it’s not quite as hilarious or laugh out loud funny as it tries to be. It is, however, rather bloody at times and this is where the film excels. Duke the unicorn is one badass uni and he’s determined to unleash his anger on everyone in his path regardless of whether they deserve it or not. Utilising his horn, Duke savagely penetrates his victims but often uses other tools to complete his work too. Using his hooves, Duke strangles and tramples his victims as well as taking an axe to someone’s head. Whatever way they suffer their fate, it’s savage and bloody with the red stuff squirting everywhere and flesh being torn apart for great effect. My favourite of the kills, which has to be the most impressive of the lot, is one near the end of the movie which involves a face literally melting away. It’s incredible to watch and rivals that of the similar scene in Indiana Jones. Whoever was in charge for make-up and practical effects deserves to take a bow right now.
The film prides itself on being off-kilter and as if the film couldn’t get any weirder, we get to see party host and My Tiny Uni fangirl Sarah get hot under the collar when unexpected party guest Duke arrives at her home. Kudos to actress Haley Madison, who plays Sarah, for being game enough to fully undress, lick, caress and assume sexual positions with a carousel unicorn for this movie. It’s like a warped version of bestiality meets inanimate object and makes for some of the most amusing if cringeworthy scenes in the entire film. I’m sure she won’t be boasting about it on her CV but her willingness to do such things will surely get her work in the genre market and rightly so she proves herself as one of the stronger stars of the film.
There’s lots to like about CarousHELL but it just misses the mark in making an impactful punch both with its humour and storyline. I’d like to have seen the gory executions extended for one’s pleasure and more scenes of floating unicorn rather than just have him stationary, whilst the whole ‘Joe waiting for his payment’ gag seemed to run a bit longer than I would have liked. The film has a lot of heart to it though and the cast involved seem behind it 100%, which is always a pleasure to watch. The dry humour of certain characters works rather well and its piss-take of modern culture is pretty on point, so much so you can’t help but laugh at the stupidity of it both in the film and real life.
An amusing, bloodsoaked, sugary massacre, CarousHELL is probably what would happen when Charlie the Unicorn finally snaps.