Take A Magical, Evil Ride on the “Caroushell” review!

Extremely frustrated with the lack of respect from snot nose kids and the monotonous, round-the-loopy-loop that is his life existence, Duke, the carousel unicorn, has finally had enough the moment after a fat kid mounts him for a ride, smacks him like a giddy-up horse, and wiping his snot onto Duke’s glossy wooden eyeballs. The latter being the final straw that broke the unicorn’s back. Duke breaks free from the amusement park ride in search for a better quality of life when he happens to discover that killing makes him feel good, real good. With a newfound purpose, Duke vows to hunt down and end that fat brat, slaughtering anyone and everyone in his path of carnival-esque carnage that leads the unicorn not to water, but to a house party where the kid stuffs his chubby face full of cake and other goodies while his older sister and her friends order pizza and hit hard the alcohol as they discuss a love and hate for a popular kids show, My Tiny Unicorn. When Duke shows up at the front door, his statue-like presence is a big party hit amongst unicorn show fanatics who are unsuspecting of his murderous desires. The only person capable of stopping the mayhem is the amusement park mascot, a jovial warden cowboy named Cowboy Cool with his trusty, evil unicorn stopping six-shooter.

Step right up! Step right up! Behold and be amazed by the stupendous and the downright bonkers horror-comedy, “CarousHELL,” about a killer carousel unicorn from big top maestro, writer-director Steve Rudzinski. The “Everyone Must Die!” filmmaker helms a satirical slasher co-written by Aleen Isley in her first credited treatment. “CarousHELL,” a whimsical play on carousel and hell if you somehow couldn’t figure that out, inexplicably sprints with the inanimate killer concept that visually livens an old “Family Guy” wisecrack about the latest Stephen King novel being about a killer lamp! Instead of a bright bulb shining blood red and using the electrical cord as a noose, Rudzinski and Isley explore the macabre qualities of an inorganic unicorn by extending its cache of weapons beyond the obvious long, pointy horn to also being able to wield a machete without opposable thumbs, sharp shoot with a bow-and-arrow with hooves, and even have the capability to kill with ninja stars despite the sloping shoulder conformation. Impressive…

Rudzinski also co-stars as Joe, a diehard pizza delivery guy and passionate dog lover who is desperately trying to earn money for his ill-stricken four legged friend. Rudzinski, sustaining both roles as a director and a performer, solicitously molding Joe as an oblivious nice guy just looking to do his job and even though he’s a bit of an impatient spaz, Joe’s not the biggest spaz swimming in the character pool. Rudzinski could be considered the lead male in the one of many boisterous roles of “CarousHELL” who certainly manages to get the girl without having to lift an finger. That girl being the self-indulgent Laurie, big sister to the unicorn pissing off brother. With her face glued to her social media phone and being a spoiled brat herself, Laurie has little-to-no attachments to anything: she’s not tied down to one boy, weighs social media clicks heavily in life, and finds disrespect the choice of attitude even toward her pole–strapping stripper of a MILF mother. Pittsburgh, PA born Sé Marie (“Cryptids”) does bitchy well, finding a nice niche to nest in with this harebrained, but light-hearted slasher with bite. Joe and Laurie have excessive personalities, but nothing can top Preston who sets the field bar. The house party co-host starts off as a complete douchebag complete with popped collar and an unquenchable thirst for bare chests and the introduction of Chris Proud really makes a first impression in a truly unbearable, over-the-top role, but believe it or not, Preston is one of the few characters of the film to have what could be construed as an arch storyline. Preston, by the end, transforms into a likable character with penchant expertise for the My Tiny Unicorn universe (a spoof toward Hasboro’s “My Little Pony”) and is the only character to perceive the first hand danger from the infiltrating and evil unicorn from hell. Duke is hands down the best scribed character of the entire film. Voiced by veteran voice actor, Steve Rimpici, Duke can literally stand inanimate and still be a vital part of the story. The versatile Rimpici is like the movie trailer voiceover guy with an uncanny Duke Nukem-type voice who has movie credits including the Dustin Mills’ directed features, “The Puppet Monster Massacre” and “Easter Casket,” as well as stints in video games such as “Red Dead Redemption” and “Mafia III.” The cast rounds out with Sarah Brunner, P.J. Gaynard, Judy H.R. Kirby, Josh Miller (“Amityville” No Escape”), Teague Shaw, Haley Madison (“Haunted House on Sorority Row”), Cindy Fernandez-Nixon, Shawn Shelpman (“Red Christmas”), Corella Waring and Michael Mawhinney.

With a film like “CarousHELL,” killer special effects need to be a must as marketing an inanimate villain will be hard sell. Yeah, “CarousHELL” has catchy dialogue, witty enough banter, and gratuitous and non-gratuitous nudity. There’s even multi-positional sex with the unicorn. Thanks for that searing image Steve Rudzinski and Haley Madison! However, a slasher requires good kill moments and the special effects work by Cody Ruch meets the demand with a brutal that include a beautiful gored unicorn horn kill to the neck, a double impale followed by a goopy string entrails, and an Ronald Lacy melting scene with charring laser eyes! Even with a high body count and delectable moments of insanity at it’s peak, “CarousHELL” will undeniably find a general audience outside the scope of genre fans who will understand the context behind fashioning a unicorn slasher, those who are just easily entertained, and maybe a slither of fans of westerns.

MVDVisual and Wild Eye Releasing delivers the hell raising attraction, “CarousHELL,” onto DVD home video presented region free, unrated, and in widescreen format. The digitally shot video has a pleasing standard of quality. A few moments of brief aliasing but nothing to specifically note that matters. The dual-channel audio was the most disconcerting issue that’s affecting the release. More so with the exaggeration of performances with the screaming and the screeching, the feedback distortion is pesky and jarring. Dialogue is prevalent and forefront, but lacks range and depth and so the verbal tracks tend to blend together. The bonus features are a welcoming site with a commentary track, cast interviews that explain how the film came to fruition and that better explains what the “CarousHELL” they were thinking when creating this fun flick, a few deleted scenes that explain the disappearance of minor characters, bloopers, and Wild Eye Releasing trailers. Just like “JAWS” did with ocean, “CarousHELL” will cause hesitation when deliberating if riding a unicorn will endanger your mortality. “CarousHELL” is fun, campy, and a whole bunch of nonsense that has our full 100% support in the horror community.

One Hell of an Evil Ride! Scream Park review!

I’ve never been big on a budget film, or any other film, riding the coattails of famous actors by name alone. The style of marketing seems like a scam, a racket, a trick, or a scheme since most of the time the actors or the actresses are in the film for a whole five minutes, if that. Scream Park pulls the same kind of marketing headlining the film with Hellraiser’s Pinhead himself Doug Bradley at the top of the DVD cover. Like any and all movies in que for a review, a chance is given and so I continue with my viewing of Cary Hill’s Scream Park with Doug Bradley. Bradley’s presence is a quick snapshot, but the entire film is worth a long take when a good slasher is considered.
THe horror inspired amusement Fright Land is shutting it’s rundown doors for good and the handful of workers are looking to have one last after hours hurrah with booze and a little sexual mischief. Park owner (played by Doug Bradley) has another idea to spark more life into Fright Land that will have ride goers remember Fright Land forever. Hired killers lurk through the darkness of the park and one by one the teen workers are hunted down.

Scream Park starts right from the get go with the last few minutes of park operations and right into where our killers enter the park. There is no time to digest the cast of characters, but writer-director Cary Hill pens just enough information about each character to establish credibility of being. In fact, the killers don much personality as well. Former Skinny Puppy band member Nivek Ogre is a psychotic and deranged hillbilly with no real background other than those traits, but is there a real reason for murder? Ogre’s brute force, unspoken “Ogre” has the strength and measurability of a Michael Myers like killer.
The practical effects are a nice touch in a computer generated effects world and the amounts of blood spilled warrants recognition. The death scenes are nothing out of the ordinary – a cut throat, a snapped neck, a strangulation – but there are a few that stand out and are nicely done with all the dramatic bells and whistles – see the axe to the head scene! Basically, the killers resemble English invaders of Scotland and commit all but pilferage the rickety old park.

The acting could use some work as the delivers come off as robot-like and scenes seem obviously rehearsed. Unnatural is the term that comes to mind. Kailey Marie Harris gives a jaw dropping performance when she takes off her top and exposes her mammoth melons – goodness gracious. Speaking of maturity, the cast will mature as I see potential in leading lady Wendy Wygant as the fear in her eyes is convincing. You can tell experience from inexperience in the five minute scene with Doug Bradley and leading man Steve Rudzinkski as the park Manager. Bradley has not lost his touch since Hellraiser and continues to be powerful and compelling even for only a short time.
Scream Park is a good edition to any slasher collection. More low budget horrors should look to Cary Hill’s film as inspiration and as an example. Though the film was made back in 2012, I’m finally treated to a DVD copy by MVD and Wild Eye Releasing that is set to hit the streets April 22, 2014.