Julien Neaves, Caribbean Head Writer
I first heard of Jamaican folklore character the rolling calf while studying on the island years ago. And something about the image of a bull-like creature enveloped in flame and “rolling” through the streets made me laugh. And speaking of unintentional comedy (#SEGUEBOSS), 2017 Jamaican horror short Rolling Calf is unexpectedly hilarious.
The film follows a group of gangsters and their girlfriends who take their newest member to a voodoo woman for an initiation ceremony. After the ceremony one of them tells the story of a vicious killer whose wicked soul returned as the titular creature, a half-man, half-bull beast with flaming eyes and drags a flaming chain (according to folklore it can also appear as a cat, dog, pig, goat, or horse. Think of a minotaur but with a few more tricks). And, surprise surprise, the rolling calf appears and begins slaying the hapless youths.
Now this sounds like a solid setup for a horror short, right? Well it is, but the unintentional comedy comes in the super stiff acting by the disposable characters, ridiculous-looking rolling calf costume (it is clearly just a guy in a cheap suit), and the over-the-top kills, which feels like something of an homage to 80s slashers done on a shoestring budget. I repeatedly cracked up at the ridiculous of it all, and I won’t spoil the ending but the absurdity of all made me guffaw.
So if you want some Caribbean folklore flavoured with a little horror and a lot of laughs then I recommend checking out Rolling Calf.
Editor Jules’s Score: 3 out of 10 (horror movie); 6 out of 10 (unintentional comedy)
You can watch the film for yourself by clicking here. And you can check more Caribbean folklore horror shorts below.
Julien “Editor Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. Read more.