That’s because this film is the sequel to his 2016 killer carousel unicorn movie, CarousHell. (To be fair, there could be other films in this subgenre, but I’m not aware of any.) The first film became a cult hit, still on shelves and a lot of streaming platforms five years after its release.
The first film centers around a carousel unicorn named Duke who decides that he’s had enough, and goes on a killing rampage to get revenge on a particularly abusive rider. However, when contemplating a second film, Rudzinski didn’t want to just rehash what had been done.
“As a horror fan, I have seen far too many horror sequels that are just the same story but with different characters,” Rudzinski says. “It would have been so easy for someone new to insult Duke, and have that lead to Duke killing another party of young adults. Instead, what we wanted to do was make this truly a part two, an actual continuation of the story and Duke's character arc.”
Here, Rudzinksi adds in Nazis and fatherhood to his bizarre tale. For CarousHell the 2nd, Duke has both learned that he is a father, and that the Nazis who created him as a weapon want him back. The film, therefore, has Duke trying to figure out who he is, what he wants to be, and what he was meant to do.
However, after following an original that featured unique ways for a carousel unicorn to kill a bunch of 20-somethings, this doesn't mean that this sequel has lost its cult-horror bonafides. There’s still lots of kills, lots of blood, and, this time, a cast list that includes “Santa Claus,” “Child Adolf Hitler,” and “Flag Slut.” All of this, plus a cast and crew who are keenly aware of their horror movie inspirations as they were making the film.
“For this film, we really wanted to punch up the lighting with the use of color,” says Rudzinski. “Inspiration was taken from films like Suspiria and Creepshow where vibrant colors would help set the mode and fantastical nature of some of the scenes.”
Horror movie fans helped make the sequel happen. 158 backers pledged over $10,000 to help bring CarousHell the 2nd to life on a Kickstarter Rudzinksi first started for the film in July 2020.
CarousHell the 2nd. Opens 4 p.m. Sun., Oct. 10. Hollywood Theater, 1449 Potomac Ave., Dormont. $6-7. hollywoodtheaterpgh.org