CarousHELL tells the story of Duke, a carousel unicorn at a small amusement park. He spends every day bringing happiness to children. Who, in turn, kick him in the ribs, jerk on his horn, and wipe boogers right in his eyeball. Duke finally has enough and does the only thing that he can be reasonably expected to do; he comes to life, escapes his ride, and goes on an ultra violent and gory killing spree. Just, ya know, unicorn stuff.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that from the description above you’d think that this movie was utterly ridiculous. You wouldn’t be wrong. I thought the same thing followed immediately by, “and I have to see it!”. I went into this one expecting some campy gory fun and was not disappointed.
First off, let’s talk about Duke; he’s a wooden unicorn who hates his job but finds a real love for killing. He’s not limited in the least by his immobile equine form. He kills with weapons such as axes, ninja stars, and arrows as often as he does his hooves, horn, and magical unicorn laser eyes. He doesn’t just roam the countryside neighing and making other general horse noises either. No sir, Duke is a wise-cracking cynical pun factory. Many of the kills result in some damn fine gore and a good chuckle. For instance, he takes out a room with a hail of arrows, eviscerates a couple dudes with his magical unicorn horn, and uses a wire garrote on an unsuspecting picnicker. To top it all off, he sounds kind of like the narrator in A Christmas Story which, probably inadvertently, adds to the laughs.
The humans are alright too. The little bastard that makes Duke finally snap is dragged to a party by his social media addicted sister where the rest of the cast is introduced. My favorites are Sarah, the hostess of the party and her boyfriend Preston. The couple both have an obsession with a show called “My Tiny Uni” but Preston is still “in the stable” about being a “bronicorn”. When Duke shows up they’re both really excited about having a carousel unicorn in the house, even if it did just show up out of nowhere. I mean like really excited. Sarah ends up stripping down and engaging in what some would call some gratuitous unicorn aardvarking. The pizza guy, played by director and co-writer Steve Rudzinski is also great. The poor bastard just wants to get the money for his pizza delivery but is instead stuck in a house full of dumbasses who are being picked off by the most brutal Unicorn since The Cabin in the Woods.
Under all the blood, gore, cynicism, and unicorn fucking there’s something that really plays to one of my childhood fears. The fear that inanimate objects have some deeply buried sentience that can be brought out by severe mistreatment. As a kid I remember worrying about upsetting some toys by not playing with them enough because I had gotten new stuff. So, when Duke breaks the forth wall and warns the audience to be careful how they treat objects because he’s an example of what can happen, it really struck a nerve with me.
All in all, would I recommend this movie? You bet your brass ring I would! CarousHELL is a super fun ride with just a the right about of gore and darkness to put it on my list of favorites so far this year. It was released January 22nd on Amazon in DVD and digital format and made top 20 horror DVD sales on that day from word of mouth alone. Go check it out and you’ll see why.