Director – Steve Rudzinski (Shingles: The Movie, A Meowy Halloween)
Starring – Steve Rimpici (CarousHELL, A Meowy Christmas Vacation), Autumn Ivy (Zoomed, Amityville Christmas Vacation), and B. Barnabei (The Survivors, A Meowy Christmas)
Release Date- 2023
Rating – 3.5/5
Indie filmmaker Steve Rudzinski has achieved so much during his career. He is the first Top Male Thirst Trap of Pittsburgh and lifetime achievement winner from Grossfest. While those are notable awards, he is mostly known for directing several films that has received positive reviews from the prestigious horror site, Horror Society. I’ve reviewed most, if not all, of his feature films and a couple of his shorts. I’ve spent a lot of time watching and writing reviews for his films and I can safely say that Steve is among one of my favorite indie filmmakers. He never submits to trends and makes the movies that he wants to see.
A few years back Steve directed and cameoed in one of his most popular films. The comedy slasher CarousHELL seemed to come out of nowhere and quickly gained a following among horror fans. Soon a sequel was greenlit and due to the popularity of both films a third was announced. The first is easily my favorite film of the trilogy but I absolutely love how both sequels go a completely different direction than fans expected. I quickly agreed to watch CarousH3LL when Steve asked me to review it. However, I wasn’t so fast to actually review it. I want to thank Steve for allowing Horror Society and myself the opportunity to check it out and I’m sorry it took so long to get this up.
**Spoiler Alert** The film once again follows Duke, the living carousel unicorn from the first two films, who has tried to be a better person after discovering he was a father. He wants to be the father his son deserves but one of his victims, Joe (Rudzinski), has his eye (that’s a pun for those that have seen the film) on revenge. Also standing his Duke’s way of being a better person is another living carousel animal, a rabbit named Usagi who is stealing the power from other inanimate objects to make herself stronger to bring Duke down. **Spoiler Alert**
When Steve started the CarousHELL trilogy I was expecting him to keep turning out slashers that had a lot of humor and colorful characters. Honestly, the first film in the trilogy may not be my favorite Rudzinski film but it is among one of my favorite indie slashers of recent years. While this trilogy is no Captain Z, I still enjoy them and love seeing how each story progressively builds up on the last while taking the viewer on an adventure they were not expecting. CarousH3LL is a worthy follow up to the first two films and we still have more room to further the story for fans.
The acting in this one is easily my favorite of the trilogy. I have nothing but good things to say about this cast but any film that features a three way with Jessa Flux, a carousel bunny, and a random guy gets my full attention. This scene was funny as fuck and I loved how into it Flux was. We also get great performances from Rudzinski himself, some professional wrestlers, and a bevy of voice actors. Honestly, this film has a little bit of everything and the cast represents that. I seriously loved the people involved here.
The story for this one follows down the same path set forth in the second film. It completely abandons the slasher premise of the first film and we get a bigger look at inanimate objects coming to life, secret government agencies, pissed off Mascots, and much more. I found myself laughing a lot more than I expected but I was a bit disappointed in the story he created around the Mascot group. I could seriously see myself getting sucked in by a film completely centered around them and their dwindling numbers. With that being said, I still enjoyed CarousH3ll and the direction it took. We get a lot of character development, lore, and comedy tossed into a relatively short run time of a little over an hour.
Finally, the film has a lot of different effects to enjoy. We get some classic gags like the cut knife “stabbing” people, practical effects, and classic voice acting. The film also has some visual effects that stand out but doesn’t bother me as much as it normally does. Maybe because the film was not meant to be taken so seriously. Regardless, the visuals were not as much of a sore spot as normal. Overall, CarousH3LL is another enjoyable piece of cinema from a filmmaker that makes the type of films that he wants to watch himself. He doesn’t cave in to fads or trends which is refreshing as a genre fan. I highly recommend checking out this film along with its two predecessors especially if you want to see Jessa Flux in a threesome with a plastic rabbit.