Have you ever ridden on a carousel and, as you were spinning around taking in the beauty of your surroundings, wondered how the wooden horse you were riding on felt about the whole affair? No?

Well, you might want to think twice before you “step right up” because the horse in question might be Duke, the homicidal carousel unicorn and star of the CarousHELL trilogy!

What Is CarousHELL About?

Caroushell trilogy duke unicorn

A sentient carousel unicorn named Duke is fed up with the abuse he receives from humankind. He’s spent years spinning in circles while sticky children dig in their heels and wipe snot on his hide day in and day out. He’s mad as hell, and he’s not gonna take it anymore!

When Duke finally breaks free from the poles that bind him, he sets off to take revenge. And no one is safe from his equine reprisals.

As Duke stalks and dispatches his perceived oppressors, he hones in on a party of unsuspecting friends as the primary target of his bloodlust. Even Joe the Pizza Guy (played by Steve Rudzinski himself) winds up in Duke’s crosshairs.

The friends keep forgetting to pay Joe, which becomes an extended gag – one of many throughout the series that deliver Rudzinski’s signature blend of sincerity and absurdist humor, including many fantastic visual and spoken puns.

CarousHELL Is Funny as Hell. And It’s Full of Pathos.

special effects caroushell trilogy horror practical fx

Beyond laughs, the gags have their own function within the story; for example, Joe the Pizza Guy returns for vengeance against Duke in CarousHELL 3 (2023). And he isn’t the only one from Duke’s old life to come back to haunt him.

Little does Duke know that his journey will see him transform from a bloodthirsty mad horse in CarousHELL to a caring father fighting to protect his only son from the ghosts of his past in CarousHELL the 2nd (2021).

sentient carousel unicorn

While Duke never abandons his penchant for bombastic violence, he refocuses his rage on saving his kid from Nazis or other killer objects determined to prevent him from moving on with his life.

The CarousHELL trilogy oscillates between the schlock and goofy humor of the original installment to more somber themes later on. But blood, guts, and plenty of laughs and heart keep these tales fresh and enjoyable for any horror fan.

Who Is Steve Rudzinski?

indie filmmaker Steve Rudzinski director actor

The creator of all this unicorn insanity is director, writer, actor, and occasional Spider-Man Steve Rudzinski — renaissance auteur of Silver Spotlight Films, “Best Amityville” Fangoria Chainsaw Award-winner, SteveBuster head honcho, the mind behind dozens of films including a series of holiday-themed comedies about a cat named Whiskers, and Best Filmmaker in Pittsburgh 2023.

Steve Rudzinski grew up in Pennsylvania, where he currently films the majority of his movies. His love of storytelling started at a young age, but his interest in filmmaking was ignited by a viewing of Army of Darkness (1992) when he was twelve years old.

Rudzinski has always loved comics, a fact that becomes clear as soon as you watch his movies. Characters are larger-than-life and do wild things; his cast and crew of frequent collaborators anchor these elements in stories that, whacky as they seem, end up feeling quite human.

Aleen Isley Caroushell 2 ilsa

Writer and actress Aleen Isley lends her pen to each of the three movies in the CarousHELL trilogy. Committed voice work from actors Steve Rimpici as Duke and Autumn Ivy as Usagi the killer rabbit adds surprising nuance and vitality to otherwise inanimate objects. It’s really good stuff, and I’ll be adding this trilogy to my annual watchlist!

How to Watch the CarousHELL Trilogy

Steve Rudzinski Caroushell trilogy review

Although Rudzinski has closed out Duke’s story, I would personally love to see a feature-length manifestation of the post-credits scene within the Silver Spotlight Universe.

No spoilers! You’ll have to watch the CarousHELL trilogy to see what I mean!

Check out all three of the CarousHELL movies as well as Steve Rudzinski’s other work at SteveBuster or on Tubi.

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Posters via CineMaterial, all over images are screenshots taken from the official CarousHELL trilogy trailer.

About the Author

Isaiah Swanson is a freelance writer from South Carolina. A movie buff from a young age, he enjoys writing about cinema, especially the horror genre. When he is not writing, he is traveling the country in his campervan with his Australian shepherd, Judy. You can find more of his work at Ned Hardy, The Game of Nerds, and The Bitter Wolf.

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