CarousHell the 2nd is your usual bloody, campy, carousel unicorn revenge movie | Screen | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

CarousHell the 2nd is your usual bloody, campy, carousel unicorn revenge movie

click to enlarge Robbie (voiced by B. Barnabei), Ms. Laurenc (actress Judy Kirby), and Duke (voiced by Steve Rimpici) in CarousHell the 2nd
Robbie (voiced by B. Barnabei), Ms. Laurenc (actress Judy Kirby), and Duke (voiced by Steve Rimpici) in CarousHell the 2nd
“This isn’t the first killer carousel unicorn movie anymore” is a hell of a sentence to include in your press release. But in the case of CarousHell the 2nd, Steve Rudzinski’s new Pittsburgh-shot horror movie opening on Sun., Oct. 10 at the Hollywood Theater, the statement rings true.

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 was all shot in Southwestern Pennsylvania over 12 days in April 2021, as the film industry was still trying to figure out some of the logistics of filming coming out of the pandemic. Crews were limited, people rarely shared the same room, and the film was completed quickly. Rudzinski says he felt the movie deserved to open where it was filmed. And in a city with a long lineage of cult horror classics, CarousHell the 2nd will fit right in.

CarousHell the 2nd. Opens 4 p.m. Sun., Oct. 10. Hollywood Theater, 1449 Potomac Ave., Dormont. $6-7. hollywoodtheaterpgh.org

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