* CrossesTheLineTwice: The fast-paced gameplay, cartoony ([[{{Gorn}} if garishly so]]) art-style, and [[EarWorm catchy]] ([[LyricalDissonance if stealthily creepy]]) songs can do wonders to combat the worst of the NightmareFuel the rest of the game has in spades. The fact the game seems to be an AffectionateParody of [[NarmCharm lovably]] SoBadItsGood [[SlasherFilm Slasher Films]] (up to a [[WhatAnIdiot head-slappingly stupid]] "TheEndOrIsIt" ending [[spoiler: where our hero apparently had [[BloodKnight so much fun barely escaping CarnEvil the first time]] [[WhatAnIdiot that he goes]] ''[[OhNoNotAgain for a second round!!!]]'']]) only adds to the demented fun.
* CultClassic: The game is quite fondly regarded among those who've played it for its blend of over-the-top wackiness and gruesome imagery, and was Midway's top-selling lightgun game. Despite this, for some baffling reason it was never given any kind of home console ports, restricting its fanbase to those willing to either emulate it through M.A.M.E. or track down an actual arcade cabinet.
* EarWorm: Most of the music, but the "Bunyan Ride" jingle is catchy as a mofo.
* {{Fanon}}: Even though both players are male (if there was [[GunsAkimbo ever a second player at all]]), fans tend to call the protagonist Jacob, and the player 2 character Lisa. The official website [[http://web.archive.org/web/20010405123820/http://www.carnevil.com/main.html never named them]], and no names are given [[http://www.arcade-museum.com/manuals-videogames/C/CarnEvil_2Player_Dedicated_25in_1640069101_Nov_1998.pdf in the manual either]]. It appears that the names came about when someone added them to the Wikipedia page in July 2007, and the fandom ran with them. In fanart, Jacob is depicted with a red jacket, a green t-shirt with blue jeans and carries a flashlight, while Lisa wears a blue [[BareYourMidriff crop-top jacket]], jeans and a purple-and-white hat.
* GoddamnedBats: Played obnoxiously straight. Also featured in the same vein as bats are maggots, spiders, floaty bug things, and LITERAL spider monkeys.
* HilariousInHindsight: Hambone and the Guilloteens manning the food court sound nearly exactly like [[VideoGame/TeamFortress2 the Pyro.]]
* HoYay: [[DeadlyDoctor Dr. Klot]] seems ''particularly'' interested in the Protagonist.
--> Dr. Klot: "Boy, what a ''fine'' specimen!"
* MostAnnoyingSound: The survivors you find leave little to be desired out of their lines, which only consists of "HELP ME!", among other audio clips. It can get pretty grating and make you wish you could shoot them with no penalty.
** The gigantic clowns in the Big Top make odd squeaking noises when they're hit.
* {{Nausea Fuel}}: The Freak Show level.
* NightmareFuel: This game breathes and lives this trope to the nth degree. That said, many people seem to have a [[SarcasmMode fond]] memory of Junior, the boss of the Freak Show level.
* SuspiciouslySimilarSong: One of the AttractMode reels uses a song almost-but-not-quite identical to the Music/RobZombie song "Superbeast".
* TearJerker: Meta example. The fact that Midway is dead + the factor of this game being fairly obscure to the general public = the fact that this game will likely never get a sequel or even a ''port''.
* ThatOneBoss: Evil Marie, with a hard-to-hit weak point (it's the slash mark around her neck) which the game hardly gives you any time at all to draw a bead on as she slashes mercilessly at you.
* WhatAnIdiot: Why the hell does the protagonist climb into a ''cannon'' in the middle of a circus tent filled with things trying to kill him?
** Presumably, he was trying to get aboard [[BigBad Tökkentäkker's]] CoolAirship, since [[LoadBearingBoss killing him would destroy CarnEvil]]. Then again, it's still fair to say that he clearly has a few screws loose up there, [[NiceJobBreakingItHero as he unwittingly started up CarnEvil in the first place]], and the first thing he does when he gets out of that hell [[spoiler: [[IgnoredAesop is feed Umlaut a new token]] ''[[OhNoNotAgain to do it all over again!!!]]'']]