The 5 Most Insane Carnival Rides

Have you ever been to an amusement park or carnival and seen a ride that simply pushes every limit you thought couldn’t be pushed? A ride that looks so intense, nauseating, or just downright torturous that you cannot beleive anyone would actually ride them…and enjoy them? Maybe a seemingly normal ride that is run in a way that makes it horrifying? I know I have! Here are the five carnival rides that I think fit the bill of being the most ‘insane’ out there.

5. Storm (Wisdom)

StormI can do spinning rides quite well but our number five ride, Storm, is one that’s too much even for me. Storm is basically a modern version of the Hustler/Tempest ride. The movements of all three rides are nearly identical, with the Storm’s components being upgraded a bit; for instance, Storm allows riders to board all at once and has a better safety mechanism.

While the Hustler or Tempest have cars that can spin freely, Storm’s cars spin mechanically. They don’t spin too terribly fast, nor does the main platform, as a matter of fact, the arms that hold the cars only spin at a moderate rate as well! The thing is that all three spin in the same direction. These combined movements make the ride faster than hell.

The lone Storm ride I had was at the New Jersey State Fair in 2008. When the ride was up to full speed, all I could see were the people sitting across from myself with everything around the car as a giant blur. If the ride lasted for 30 seconds, slowed down for a bit and then sped up for another 30 seconds, the ride would have been fine. Instead we got a full two minutes of crushing G forces and spin cycle-like rotation; as an added bonus, the ride was in full sunlight on a 90+ degree day with high humidity! Needless to say, I felt like crap afterwards.

Another ride that can probably be lumped together with Storm is the Huss made Take Off, which spins in a similar fashion to Storm minus one axis. Take Off also has the ability to rise up to a pretty steep angle and spin in opposite directions and such. The large ride vehicles on Take Off can also spin at an incredible rate, much faster than Storm’s vehicles, providing some very high G forces.

To sum it up: Storm, and subsequently Take Off as well,  make it on the list for having prolonged periods of high G forces.

Below is an old, shitty video of Storm taken by myself.

4. Matterhorn (Reverchon/SDC/Sobema)

MatterhornOk, I know what you’re thinking, “Matterhorn?! That’s just one of those Himalaya rides with the swinging cars! My grandmother could ride it!” That’s very true; the average Matterhorn/Flying Bobs type of ride is pretty much a family ride. Maybe you’ll come across one that goes fast enough to swing the car nearly sideways, but that’s about it. Although there are some exceptions…

While I’m not sure how fast a Herchell Flying Bobs or Chance Thunderbolt can go, the Reverchon, SDC and Sobema manufactured Matterhorns can indeed run at a stupid fast speed! They can run so fast in fact, that the cars swing well over what could be considered ‘sideways.’ Mind you, these are standard Matterhorn cars with a simple lapbar restraint.

I remember reading on some showmen forum a couple months ago that sometimes the cars swing so high that they’ve been known to hit the top of the tunnel entrance! That story could just be some type of urban legend amongst showmen though, I don’t know.

Needless to say, I’ve never been on a Matterhorn type ride of that intensity, but I have been on a Flying Bobs ride where the car started swinging uncontrollably. That was actually kind of scary (in a fun way) since my car would point outwards so much that I would nearly come off the seat! I wrote a little blurb about it back in August.

To sum it up: Matterhorn makes the list in sort of a weird way; it’s insane for being able to run faster than what might be advisable. It’s kind of like this kiddie ride called Barnstormer that I used to run when I worked at a small amusement park. If you set the speed dial to 5 or so, the ride was pretty tame; if you crank it up to 10 however, the ride turns into this swinging, flailing ride from hell that could scare the piss out of anyone!

Here’s a video by Youtuber jeanmarie40 of Le Paradise, a Sobema manufactured Matterhorn in France. The cars fly particularly high on this one with nothing more than a grab bar to keep riders in!

3. Discovery (KMG)

DiscoveryOf all the Top Spin-like rides I’ve seen, KMG’s Discovery seems to be the most nauseating…and smallest as well. Discovery is maybe half the size of a normal Top Spin, but in turn, the movements are much quicker. Discovery is made up of one, long row of seats slung between two arms. The arms can move in different directions and are controlled by two separate joysticks, meaning the operator has pinpoint control over the movements.

The ride movement is similar to any Waikiki Wave Super Flip or Maverick type ride, only faster with more uncontrolled flips. However this is one of those rides where the operator can make or break the ride. In the video that I chose, the operator knew exactly how to run it and flipped riders numerous times in a row. If all of these rides were run in automatic mode, they probably wouldn’t even make this list.

To sum it up: Discovery makes the list for being able to perform quick and seemingly nausea inducing movements and flips.

Here’s a great video of Discovery at a carnival in Provins, France. Video thanks to jeanmarie40.

2. Energy Storm (Soriani & Moser)

ExtasyFirst of all, you almost never see this ride named Energy Storm, forgoing the trade name for the decidedly more interesting name of ‘Extasy.’ Whether the name is derived from the state of altered consciousness or from the recreational drug is debatable. In any case, Energy Storm looks more like an endurance test than an actual ride.

The ride is comprised of six arms, with four sets of two passenger cars at the end of each arm. The ride and cars both spin in the same direction, and spin fast which looks like it would cause for some really uncomfortable lateral Gs! Once up to speed, or not, the arms holding the cars begin to rise. At the horizontal position, the ride is basically like an Orbiter…but of course what fun is it to stop there? The arms rise until the cars are completely upsidedown where they proceed to spin wildly while riders are haplessly being dangled. While the entire ride doesn’t take place upsidedown, riders do get a good 20 full seconds of being hung head over heels which is pretty damn long!

I remember seeing this ride once in New Jersey at the State Fair Meadowlands many years back, but I didn’t ride since I was a total wuss back then. Although I’d love to ride it now, just to see how it is!

To sum it up: Energy Storm makes the list because 1. the ride spins incredibly fast with no attempt to dampen the lateral forces and 2. because it hangs riders upsidedown longer than any other ride I’ve seen.

The video, made by tinteraminator, shows the Extasy ride at Prater Park in Vienna, Austria.

1. Inversion (KMG)

DominatorInversion, better known as ‘Dominator’ and ‘Big Flight,’ is a ride that debuted in 2008; so far it’s only seen on the Euro funfair circuit and has a chance of making it to North America considering that it racks onto one trailer and doesn’t go over US road weight limits. (Update: yep, they’re here now.)

Anyway, riders sit in three pairs of seats holding four persons each for a grand total of 12 riders per cycle. The seats are connected to a large boom that swings back and forth, gaining momentum to complete a full 360 degree loop. All while this is going on, the seats rotate around the center. It’s not very intense while operated this way, which is actually the way it’s typically operated.

So why is this on the list? Well, KMG also added in a feature that allows the cars to freely flip upsidedown. However, if you couple that feature with the fact that the boom swings pretty fast, then you get a ride that’s horribly intense and out of control! A testament to how intense it could be is that fact that European showmen, the same people who allow Matterhorn cars to flip nearly upsidedown, the same people who run high G force rides for 7+ minutes, do not allow the cars on Inversion to flip while at full speed.

I can certainly see why they would apply the brakes for most of the ride; the cars are so bottom heavy that they seem to snap downwards when rolling. The force of the car swinging downwards at full speed would probably be damn near whiplash inducing!

To sum it up: The KMG Inversion takes the top spot basically due to a feature that would render the ride overly intense!

The final video is the Dominator, owned by Dutch showmen Otten, at Tilburgse Kermis 2008. This fine video was recorded by OnrideExpert and includes both and off-ride and on-ride video.

Finally, here’s a few rides that almost made this list:

  • Shake (Mondial): It’s basically a Breakdance with cars that can flip upsidedown. It’s certainly a crazy flipping ride, but the motion is very graceful, if that makes sense.
  • Zipper (Chance): A very formidable choice; the Zipper certainly is intense but it’s almost too much of an obvious choice! So I simply left it out.
  • Magic Arms (Waagner Buro): Just look at it; it’s a pretty good candidate for most insane ride! I didn’t include it because it’s motion is very mechanical in nature with no elements that would make the ride unpredictable.

All right, those are my five picks for most insane rides; now I’d like to hear rides that you think are insane, intense, or nauseating! Hell, put together a full fledged list if you want!


  • jackie says:

    i’ve successfully lives threw all of these lovely carni rides. (: all those rides and a few more are featured at Saint Greg’s Carnival in Hamilton, NJ. [ of course] in my town [ hamilton] that’s the best thing that happens here, next to the Italian American Fest, and September Fest, both have rides but are more for kids, not teens. which is a total DRAG by the way. any who, back to the carnival, it gos on for a week and i think two days. all the high schooler’s show up in all their parents cars, and all the kids rush to all the kiddie rides and games. they have a bunch of tricky skill games, and ofcourse the gambling wheel. two of the days they have the traditional fire works. then the raffels and such. back to the rides, the normal rides are the Tornado, Bob Sleds, Zipper, FireBall, Ride ‘O Fire, Scramblers, the ship thing, two ferris wheels, tilt- a – whirl, the tea cups, the spinning bears, the mini dragon roller coaster and such. The most thrilling ride there is the fire ball, sadly, everyone in our crappy little town lines up in THAT one line, thats it, thats the ride line. haha. but any way, the line stretches to the main entrace normally, and you wait for about 30 mins, get on a 2 min ride and then line up for the zipper ad repeat. but i must admitt, thats the best thing in this town to do in june. (:
    hop i interested you and this wasnt a total bore, (:.

  • Bruce says:

    I have seen many videos of the Inversion. I really can’t wait to ride this. This one I would like to take a real long ride on and at the same time while the ride is going top speed, having the individual gondolas flip at the same time. Give me the longest, most intense ride on this, 20 minutes plus.

  • ricardo alegria says:


    i see you like matterhorn´s
    i have one and i buit in usa
    snow ball express
    is like new now and runs like a champ
    if you like to see go to ride db (snow ball dance)
    snow dance 4 in you tube
    enjoy bye

  • Bruce says:

    I would really like to take some really long rides on this, more than 7 minutes plus on one ride and going over the top a high number of times. KMG really came out with a winner on this one.

  • DoD3Brian says:

    @ ricardo: That is a beautiful matterhorn! I really like the light package and you seem to run it very fast as well…just the way they should be run!

    For anyone who wants to see Ricardo’s Snow Ball Dance, I have the video under the Matterhorn section of this post.

    @ Bruce: Inversion looks like a great ride and I’ve actually heard that one was sold to an American showman named Tim Casper of PBJ Happy Days Shows. I’m not sure where they run but at least the US has at least 1 Inversion for now.

  • Bruce says:

    @ DoD3 Brian: I sent two faxes to Tim Casper asking him if he could have his new Inversion appear at a few fairs in Florida, as of the last time I heard, the ride was to be delivered in December 2009. I’ve also contacted others urging Tim to consider this. I don’t know where you are, but in the winter there are many fairs in Florida, while at the same time, the rest of the US is cold. The Inversion is the newest ride that I would like to attempt to take a real long non-stop ride of more than twenty minutes. Anyboby who sees this and can be of furthur help, my e-mail is

  • Bruce says:

    Here are some other of the most insane rides that I would like to go on and also take long record setting rides. They are Discovery, Speed Flip, Twin Flip, Hard Rock, Space Roller, Tango, Evulution, High Energy, Loop O Plane, Enterprise, Power Surge, Evolution, Experience, Extasy, King Loop(Shake),
    Adrenaline, Skyscraper, Speed, Booster, Vortex and mentioned before the Zipper. On the bungee slingshots, Ejection Seat, Vertical Accelerator and Rocket. Anybody that has any pull and contacts, my e-mail is

    • andy croad says:

      skerbeck entainment group own a twin flip and a loop in michigan there really fun both rides coming to my fair in kinross michigan

  • Bruce says:

    @ Do D3 Brian Here’s an update on the Inversion that Tim Casper purchased. I read that this ride will be on exhibit at the IISF Super Trade Show and Extravaganza in Gibsonton Florida. This will be taking place while the Florida State Fair is going on. My suggestion is after the trade show is over, bring the ride to the Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City and open it up to the public. The Strawberry Fest. takes place about two weeks after the trade show and is about a 30 minute drive from Gibsonton. Where it goes beyond that I do not know. I did send Tim Casper a fax asking him to consider taking the ride to Plint City.

  • Bruce says:

    I just read the write up on one that was beside one of the videos on the Discovery ride. Even though the spelling was in french, it was easy to interpert that some individuals set a world record by doing 412 flips in a 10 minute period. If anybody who reads this and has connections to a top spin type ride like the Top Spin, Space Loop, Mavrick or any other ride of this type, I would like to attempt to break that record. My e-mail is I’d like to do it in the Discovery ride, but unfortunately this ride is not in the United States.

  • harrison says:


    If you look on this website it lists all the current rides being built.

    I am interested to see what your inversion ride will look like, as I am a keen fair enthusiast. All the current ones that have been produced look stunning, the most recent being one in Germany called ‘Flip Fly’. If you want to youtube a video of it, just type in flip fly clauss kermis into youtube and you’ll see it in action, the lighting is second to none. Clauss is the showmans surname and flip fly is the name given to the ride. There’s even one which is now on tour in australia and as you will see from the ridesdb website, one has now been ordered for spain, so KMG Rides are having quite good success despite the current economic downturn.

    Hope you enjoy the ride when it arrives and please let us know if you upload videos of it onto youtube. If you want to contact me my email is

    Reguards, HFM

  • Bruce says:

    HFM First of all I tried to email you at the address above and it was returned. There are many videos of the Inversion on You Tube. Just write Inversion Ride, click search and you’ll see a few choices on You Tube. That will show you the ride. By the way Flip Fly is another name they gave the Inversion at Oktoberfest 2009, also out on You Tube. I hope to see this ride when it will be on exhibit at the IISF Trade Show in Gibsonton Florida this February as I live near there. Ive been urging the owner to put it in a few fairs after the show so the public and yours truly will be able to ride it, before it goes to other parts of the US. I am a real big ride enthusiast when it comes to the fairs and I go on the most rambunctious rides that are offered. My e-mail is Good Luck.

  • Bruce says:

    I am looking for anybody out there who has any connection to anybody in the carnival trade. What I want to do is to attempt to go for the longest non-stop ride on the most insane rides that appears regularly at the fairs. That includes the new ride coming to the United States in February, the Inversion, also known as the Dominator. Other rides I’m interested in doing this is the Zipper(Which I’ve ridden for more than an hour), Tango, Speed Flip, Space Roller, Hard Rock, Space Loop, Experience and Speed. Also looking to set a record for the most launches in a row on a slingshot type ride that uses bungee cords(not any of the Funtime rides, as they use wires and springs and their rides lack action). If anybody knows of any connection in that area my email is

    • DoD3Brian says:

      Hey Bruce, you should try asking over at the Matt’s Carnival Warehouse forums (link.) A lot of showmen and carnival employees congregate at that board to talk about anything carnival related. Maybe you can find a connection over there.

      Good luck man!

      • Bruce says:

        I have been e-mailing Matts Carnival Warehouse on that. I’m very serious about wanting to ride the Inversion. Not only do I want to ride it once, but I would like to ride this many times. I also would like to attempt to take a real long marathon ride on it, like I did when I rode the Zipper for one hour plus non-stop. Zipper, Id like to attempt a three hour non stop ride on that, one that is in Australia where it is faster than the ones in the US. any connection for marathon long rides on the Inversion and Zipper my e-mail is

  • Harrison says:

    Bruce, I am a very big ride fan and I know of hundreds of Inversion videos, sorry if that wasn’t clear lol.

    I can’t understand why my email was returned, maybe it’s on private.

    I’ll send you a test email so you can reply.

  • Bruce says:


    This Inversion ride is fairly new, came out on the carnival scene in mid 2008.
    There is one coming to the United States in a few months. I’ve been contacting the owner by fax in order to have them to make this great ride available for the public to ride before he takes it out west. I don’t know any more as I had my computer in repair the past few days and I just hooked it up and now I am going through my emails. My email is

  • Bruce says:

    DoD3 I have already tried Matts Carnival Warehouse and I plan to go to the IISF Trade Show in Gibsonton Fl. in February. I live about an hour from where the show is taking place. I also plan to contact Carnival Magazine, but at this point in time, I do not know how it will play out due to my part time job. The fairs have started up in Florida with the big fairs taking place after the first of the new year. I also hope that Tim Casper makes the Inversion available to the public, while the ride is in Florida.

  • Bruce says:

    My aim if I can get to ride on the Inversion is to attempt to do a minimum of 100 roll overs over the top of the ride, while spinning around the big arm at the same time. Very serious, really want to attempt this. Also would like to attempt a ride on this for a minimum of one hour, but could go longer. Any connection on this my e-mail is

  • Harrison says:

    The KMG Inversions ride name for you in the U.S.A. has been confirmed as ‘Nemesis 360’.

    P.S. – Bruce I know it’s the KMG Inversion, it was dutch owner Paul Otten of the Netherlands to have one in 2008, called ‘Dominator’. With KMG Rides being a dutch company, it was only right they would have one first.

  • Harrison says:

    Bruce, you also have no chance of:

    [quote] My aim if I can get to ride on the Inversion is to attempt to do a minimum of 100 roll overs over the top of the ride [quote]

    Simply because it is pre programmed to lock the cars above the angle of 90 degrees and cannot be bypassed due to H.S.E. and the computer being unable to be edited without a card from KMG rides, so good luck with that lol.

  • Bruce says:


    It’s worth a try. I have also sent E-mails to KMG on that. I have a pass to attend the IISF Trade Show in Gibsonton Florida this February. Which day I’ll be there is a question mark as I also have a part time job. I am hoping to ride this at the show and then after that I am hoping that the ride will be booked at a few fairs, before the ride leaves Florida. I am hoping that the Florida Strawberry Festival is one of the fairs as I have easy access to that event. I’ve seen some videos where some of the showmen in Europe permitted long rides with the cars flipping when they were swinging back and forth and I am hoping to take rides like that. Hope you have a Happy New Year. I can be reached at my e-mail at I’m also in contact with Matt Cook(Matts Carnival Warehouse) on this.

  • Bruce says:

    Harrison I just thought of this, there is a new ride put out by Technical Park called, I think the Looping Fighter and it looks like it is almost like the Inversion. It’s on Technical Park’s web site. I would love to ride this too.

  • Rudy says:

    An inversion will be in a St. Louis area (Webster Groves) carnival for the July 4th holiday.

  • Harrison says:

    If you haven’t seen, here’s what the Inversion looks like.

  • Harrison says:

    American showman Demas will also be purchasing an Inversion, however no name is confirmed as yet.

  • d4m4s74 says:

    Friday (in two days) there will be a funfair in my town and they will have the dominator (inversion)
    I will ask if they keep the breaks of the chairs disabled

  • Wendy says:

    I think ARM’s Quasar can beat Matterhorn. Like the Matterhorn family rides. it’s head-to-tail chasing in a circle. Unlike them, the central axis is jacked to an angle that then counter-rotates to the cars’ direction. And it goes in reverse, too.

    • DoD3Brian says:

      Well, I chose Matterhorn over something like Quasar or Explorer because that latter two are meant to do that motion from the get go. On something like Matterhorn, they’re typically run on a mild cycle in order to be a family ride. However, if the speed is cranked up, it turns into something very wild!

  • Danielle says:

    As for the most insane rides I’ve been on? The Full Tilt (which is Ali Baba re-themed) at a Greek Festival in Tenafly, NJ in 2014, as well as the Orbiter, Crazy Mouse, and Pharaoh’s Fury at the 2016 State Fair Meadowlands. I know, they’re mostly tame. I don’t do wild rides yet.

    • Danielle says:

      Update: I rode the Air Race at Seaside Heights last August. That was my first outdoor upside down ride. It was insane.

  • Kristóf says:

    I have ridden Extasy several times. Quite insane ride but always enjoyed it.
    Probably because I regularly do headstands for some minutes, I hadn’t any problem about being upside down for 20 seconds.
    There is a relevant difference to Energy Storm rides seen in Youtube that Extasy changes the direction of rotation in the middle of the ride between clockwise and counter-clockwise, I think this is why a ride can last 4-5 minutes without mass of riders being sick.

  • Rider says:

    I rode the Dominator in Geneva Switzerland in 2012 and the individual cars swung around wildly and the assembly that all the cars were attached to also rotated. So while you’re being tossed around back and forth by the big center arm, all the cars were also spinning together in a direction and then the individual cars were also being flipped around. Honestly it was awful. Way too much for me. And it is ridiculously long. I couldn’t wait to get off that thing.

1 Trackback

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *