Dark Carousel by Joe Hill
So I’m continuing to read through Joe Hill’s short story collection Full throttle. His short stories so far has been some of his best works, and he hasn’t let me down yet. This is a review of the second story in the collection called Dark Carousel.
The tale follows long time friends Paul, Jake, Geri, and Nancy. They just graduated high school and are out to have one last fun night before they must all split ways into adulthood. They drink, fool around, and have fun at the carnival. But when they leave Nancy discovers fifty dollars are missing and quickly accuse the carousel operator of being the thief. They go back late, finding the operator drunk and passed out in the living quarters of the carnival. They decide to rob him and vandalize the carousel.
When they all leave, they decide to spend the rest of the night at Paul’s place. But they never make it there because they are attack by horrific versions of carousel animals. They are relentless on their goal to murder these kids. Soon Paul, Geri, Jake, and Nancy are fighting to survive the night.
The good and bad? Let’s start with the good. First of all, these characters are completely relatable. The last days of childhood is something that we all been through. And much like these kids, many of us had one last night. A night where we can band together with our friends and spit in the face of adulthood before we're forced to grow up. The characters also are well developed. The pacing and structure is great as well. Also the imagination is great here.
The bad? There is not a lot of bad here. There is only one thing. This tale has somewhat of a sad ending and Joe Hill lingers on it a long time to make it super depressing. He did the something very similar for another one of his stories Snapshot. In Snapshot he spent a long time on a lengthy epilogue about how the lead character is damaged from the events and suffer for years to come. This has an ending that matches this tone as well creating quite a contrast to the campy fun horror tale its attached to.
Overall, the tale is a great horror tale that has relatable cast. It’s not a masterpiece by any means, but it is really fun. I recommend this to everyone.
5 smoothies out of Five
Overall Rating: A Super Fun Little Scary Story