Posts Tagged ‘Clowns’

Media Update 10/11/18

October 11, 2018


Killjoy 2 (2002) and Killjoy 3 (2010)

These movies were so short (an hour and 15 minutes) that I decided to watch both of them. Killjoy 2 was similar to the original in that it was a cast of black people being stalked by a vengeance demon in the form of a clown. This time, he is stalking a group of juvenile delinquents out in the middle of nowhere. Some of the deaths were really creative and Killjoy was once again charismatic. The movie was hastily made and it shows but it was charming in its own way. Killjoy 3, on the other hand, was completely different. The movie adds to the lore of Killjoy and ups the production values tenfold (which is not saying much). The movie recasts Killjoy and Trent Haaga does a really good job. He feels like he is one part Beetlejuice, one part Heath Ledger’s Joker, and one part Hannibal Lecter. He is joined this time by three henchdemons chief among them is Victoria De Mare playing Batty Boop who is basically Harley Quinn in demon form. This time around he is mostly hunting dumb white college kids. I guess this is a sign of letting the franchise stretch but it felt a little like Candyman: Into the Suburbs at first. Still, I am excited about the snappier scripts and better effects going forward. There is also a lot more gore as the often bloodless deaths of the first two movies are long forgotten. I definitely recommend the third movie as it is campy and fun and you can give two a pass for the most part.


Bedeviled

I was drawn to this movie because the image on Netflix looked so interesting. The plot here is that a bunch of college kids is haunted by a demonic phone application that uses their worst fears against them. While it sounds lame on paper, I appreciated that the attempts at making the lore sound interesting. I also really appreciated the production values. Like I said, the Netflix image of Mr. Bedevil is as interesting in the actual movie and pretty creepy. I also really liked the feeling of helplessness in the movie. The acting was pretty typical on the victim side, as they were all the usual archetypes in these films. Except that they were all pretty likable and I feel like that makes horror movies scarier. Jordan Essoe as Mr. Bedevil was the clear standout of the movie. His sadistic, sarcastic yet cheerful voice was the thread that strung the whole movie together. He was entertaining and frightening at the same time which is obviously a combination that I really love. Also, using the victims’ worst fears is a tried and true mechanic that is usually a hit. It allows the writer/director to add various threats so the victims are not stalked by the main villain over and over. The movie is mostly bloodless so if that is an issue for you, this might be the movie for you. I recommend this one as well.


The Funhouse

Right upfront, I have to say that I picked this movie mostly because of its reputation but I picked it this week because the DVD cover has a clown on it. There are actually no clowns in the movie. However, I feel like it follows the spirit of the theme because it revolves around a carnival. The movie displays the dark side of the sleazier traveling carnivals which are full of workers who have never been vetted or background checked. The main plot involves a carnival freak chasing four teens through a dark ride. The movie was written and directed by Tobe Hooper who I have written about before. He is most famous for creating the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. As I watched this, I feel like that movie was something he wanted to work at improving. The Funhouse is very similar but it feels like it does a better job at being scary and making me care about the victims. Hooper did this movie instead of working on ET and I think he made the right choice. I mean, he worked with Spielberg anyway on a much better film (Poltergeist). Hooper is very creative and even when he ‘fails’, he comes up with something worth watching. What I also found interesting is that there is a B story that feels like something rare in horror. That story follows a little kid who sneaks into the carnival and gets scared out of his mind and kind of has a different moral from the main story. I definitely recommend this one as well as it was different and atmospheric.

Next Week’s Spooky Schedule:
October 15 – Antibirth (2016)

October 17 – Train to Busan (2016)

October 18 – Media Update – Halloween Sequel Week 2018

October 19 – The Innocents (1961)

October 20 – Aftershocks: Playthings Pt. 3

Weekly Halloween Music:

Dorothy – Raise Hell

The Jasons – Ki-Ki-Ki-Kill That Girl

Belzebubs – Blackened Call

Angra – Black Widow’s Web

Stitched Up Heart – Frankenstein

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Killer Clowns”
– I finished Blacklist Season 5
– I watched more Iron Fist Season 2
– I watched more American Vandal Season 1
– I watched more of The Good Place Season 2
– I started Gotham Season 4

Coulrophobia

December 16, 2017

Good morning!  I have a bunch of stuff partly written but I have been feeling kind of run down and sick this week.  Also, the Christmas-esque holidays always kind of rattle my brain a little.  I am hoping to spend a little time over the weekend getting things together so I can enjoy Xmas without worrying about posting but still meeting my deadlines here.  In the meantime, few things could make me miss a deadline so I present to you another video project that I have been working on to continue to learn video editing.  It sprang from a discussion at my weekly Craft Night and a friend’s mother’s collection of clown paintings.  This is just a small sampling of why we are afraid of clowns.  Don’t look behind you…

 

Killjoy (2000)

October 4, 2017

1 hour 25 minutes – Rated R for Sexual Situations, Language, and Some Violence.

Clowns are scary. We have covered this. Again and again. But, as a kid, I was scared of anyone who covered their face. When I went to the circus, the clowns were these otherworldly characters because they completely painted their faces until they were no longer visually human. Beyond that, the bright colors and shocking white were designed to draw a person in. This was also reflected in their behavior because, more than any other performer, they craved interactivity. Every other entertainer simply performed their feat and went backstage but clowns got in the audience’s face and tried to make them laugh. Mascots at ball games and Disney World were much the same, approaching beings much smaller than them and trying to interact. I did not want to interact. I did not want to be part of the show. So from an early age, I tensed up when I saw these costumed characters and relaxed when they passed. That carried on to my present day wariness of clowns.

Full Moon Pictures may not always be scary but they are very good at utilizing things that could be considered scary. They have movies with tiny murderous things which can be very creepy. They have body horror, they have loss of self and they have things usually associated with children becoming deadly. A lot of it is done with a thick varnish of humor but, to me, that is a big part of what Halloween is about. Laughing at the darkness because it could eat us at any moment. Killjoy is no different. Combining something innocent (despite my hang-ups) like clowns with something evil like demons is a natural progression. Movies like Childs Play, Demonic Toys, Jack Frost, and Gremlins are all great examples of that combination of harmful with harmless. A high percentage of people are already afraid of clowns and dolls and these movies show how that might just save your life.

This movie does not waste any time. It gets right into introducing the characters (which is an all POC cast by the way) and what they are all about. However, it does take a while to get to the action like most horror movies. The acting is actually way better than I thought it would be. The writing is a little stilted but it is a horror movie made on the cheap by Full Moon so that is to be expected. I am here for their weird characters and their endless sequels, not their writing skills. Strangely, this one seems to have more locations and cinematography than I am used to (similar to the Evil Bong series) which surprises me because locations can be expensive. (Although, shooting on location without a permit such as on Leprechaun 3 is free). The effects are cheap CGI but, again, that’s fine because I am just in the mood for a silly horror movie.

I was wondering how Killjoy’s powers would work considering all of the vague supernatural beings that I have seen in horror movies. I thought he would be similar to characters like Freddy Krueger or Stitches and I was kind of right. Killjoy sucks people into his realm and then toys with them until he finally kills them. In this first film, he is played by a man who usually acts in Spanish language films but he definitely has a lot of fun in the movie. He shrieks with happiness and every so often he lets that demonic side of his come out in his voice without losing his enjoyment. He is a playful monster but he is indeed sadistic than Freddy, Stitches, even Pennywise. He plays with his food like a good horror villain should. He also has an awesome evil clown laugh similar to something John Leguizamo came up with in Spawn.

Overall, I really liked this movie. Sure it is nothing to write home about but I have a soft spot in my heart for the Full Moon Pictures line up that will never die. Ultimately, this is a horror movie which is about redemption and realizing the everyday things we do to hurt the people we barely even see. It is also a goofy, low gore horror movie. It was way better than I thought it was going to be considering it was made around the same time as the first Evil Bong movie. I am looking forward to watching the rest of this series sometime soon as I expect the budget and technology go up a bit as the years go by.

Stitches (2012)

October 17, 2016

Clowns. Why did it have to be clowns? Well, it is because I picked this movie because I have always found clowns to be pretty damned scary. When I visited the Ringling Brothers circus with my folks when it rolled into downtown Baltimore when I was little, I was always pretty excited. I mean they had all sorts of tumbling and flashy stuff going on. They also had lions running around doing what I assumed was normal lion stuff. The lions at the zoo were always just lounging around so I never was super excited by them. Here they were jumping through hoops of flame. The clowns always made me wary. They circulated into the crowd before the show and even as a kid I did not like that attention. Something about them made me nervous. They were fine doing their act in the middle of the ring but if they came near me I squirmed. Now, clowns seem even more out of place to me and even scarier. I am fascinated by them but, thanks to Batman and horror movies, I see them more as cool and creepy villains rather than the joyful creatures they are supposed to be.

I wanted to do a clown movie this year. This is the third year I have done reviews around Halloween and the first year I covered a messed-up film called Clownhouse. So, if I was going to do a clown horror movie, the obvious choice was to do the recent horror movie called Clown. However, that was produced by Eli Roth and he is kind of a cancer on the horror genre so I did not want to have a bad time. Instead, I wanted to review the movie Killjoy from Full Moon Pictures. It turns out my brand new copy of all of the Killjoy movies (and all of the Puppetmaster movies) got lost in the mail so it will have to wait until next year. Do not worry, I will be discussing some Full Moon Pictures movies later this month. So, I went back to the drawing board and found this movie on Netflix. I was sure that it was not going to be hard to find another clown horror movie I had not seen yet and the internet does not disappoint. So, we get a more recent horror film that hopefully will fill my nightmares with clowns once again. At least they are better than the than the nightmares about high school.

I was not expecting what this movie would be at all. The first thing that I did not expect is that it is Irish and filmed in Ireland. One of the things I love about Netflix and about this project is that it has opened me up to new opportunities in foreign films. That means that there was almost automatically nobody in this film I would recognize and ends up being the case. This is great because I love diving into a movie full of unknowns so I can go in with no pre-conceived notions. The actors in this movie are all pretty young, especially since most of them are supposed to portray sixteen-year-olds. This is perfect because teenagers are one of the preferred demographics for supernatural killers in horror movies. The acting was good in kind of a punk rock, All Cheerleaders Must Die kind of way. They end up portraying high school as I remember it, petty and emotional but mostly harmless in the end.

When I read the description, I was prepared for a clown that comes back from the dead to kill the kids at the birthday party where he accidentally died. At best, I was hoping for a ghost clown that would haunt them or an undead clown who would savagely murder them. What I got was something somewhere between those two options. It was like Pennywise the Clown if Tim Curry had been directed to be scary. Another comparison I could make is Freddy Krueger if he had been a party clown instead of a Christmas sweater-wearing janitor and was a little more literal. I was not ready for the movie to have so much lore and world-building when it comes to clowns. The movie creates this whole weird occult conspiracy in the first few minutes that I could never have expected in my wildest dreams. The movie used elements from a lot of horror movies I have seen to create something entirely new and scary. The way the villain moves and the unique and terrible deaths they concocted for him are definitely very memorable as well. Most of his victims were decent people for teens and definitely did not deserve to die.

Overall, this was a dark horse of a horror movie just like Horns and The Babadook from last year. This is especially funny since the movie was originally supposed to star Daniel Radcliffe right after Deathly Hallows. The movie is definitely pretty scary but it has kind of a punk rock sense of humor to it as well. That punk rock quality also extends to the violence, though. This movie does not pull any punches with how cruel the deaths are. The practical effects and other special effects are exceptional and that means that the gore is very graphic and disgusting but in a good way. At one point, Stitches delivers a tagline of ‘This Clown Isn’t Funny’ and he’s right. However, he is kind of funny in an extremely dark, offbeat kind of way because he is just amusing himself. In that way, he would probably get along with Charles “Chucky” Lee Ray. It was a great movie and I definitely knew how much it had gripped me when I had to watch something happier directly after so I could breathe again. With all the clown sightings lately, I definitely enjoyed being scared by one that could not actually hurt me. I definitely recommend it.

Clownhouse (1989)

September 25, 2014

So it looks like it’s time to start the Halloween festivities early and the first stop on this year’s tour is the Clownhouse.  Hope you brought a change of underwear.

“I’m hoping for Killer Klowns but I’ll probably get Halloween Part 5.”

I really like cheesy horror movies with horrible effects and horrible writing.  I don’t like gross-out horror movies or torture porn movies.   Killer Klowns from Outer Space is definitely a standout among all of the horror movies that I have seen.  It was cheesy but it scared the crap out of me when I first saw it.  On the other hand, I never liked Michael Myers.  It was drawn out with no humor and just seemed pointless to watch if you’ve already seen the Friday the 13th movies.  Once again, Halloween 3 is the only one I like.

“My brothers and I were assholes to each other when we grew up but this is ridiculous.”

A lot of the time when we were growing up my brothers and I could sometimes be utter dicks to each other and even got into some heated wrestling matches or outright fights.  Still, when the chips were down we begrudgingly backed each other up.  I would have never squealed on either of my brothers for wetting the bed or mocked a phobia.  Still, the dynamic is actually pretty believable given the kids’ ages even though I like to think I was a lot nicer to my younger brothers when I became a teenager.

“Aw man, I was hoping for a supernatural clown movie.  Basically Fright Night with Clowns.”

Fright Night is another great, cheesy horror movie with just enough thrills to make you shiver but enough comedy to let you go home happy.  Looking back I don’t know why I expected this to be a supernatural clown horror movie.  I was probably spoiled by Pennywise, Killer Klowns and Poltergeist.

“Eleven minutes in and the protagonist finally speaks after being in at least four or five conversations.”

The film seems to follow the youngest brother who already has a fear of clowns from a previous encounter.  The film begins with his nightmare and the camera seems to follow him the most.  However, he remains stubbornly silent for a good chunk of the movie.  He is really good at looking terrified though which he does often.  Most of the lines in the movie go to the oldest brother who is an asshole.

“The Scary Fortuneteller has a dead eye and looks kind of like Hatchetface.”

I’m pretty sure she added nothing to the film although there’s a chance it could pay off later.  She was not very scary even if fortunetelling is a real skill in horror movies.  The great part was that she reminded me of Mona “Hatchetface” Malnorowski which is fun.  It wasn’t Kim McGuire, though, I checked.  Still, a great face for an old fortuneteller.

“Clowns are inherently creepy.”

They make a big deal of making the lead clown Cheezo act really creepy during their performance.  They don’t linger much on the other clowns but they’re not much better.  Something about the exaggerated movements and facial expressions and the unnaturalness of the face paint, I guess.  I started to wonder if the killers had already taken over the clowns’ identities.

“Ok Horror movie, you’re not supposed to evoke sympathy.  I’m not used to this.”

I suffer a lot from anxiety in public and especially anytime when I feel like I might be the center of attention or close to it.  If I was late to church as a teenager I would just not go rather than walk in and feel the stares of everybody around me.  I imagine that basically having a nervous breakdown due to being simultaneously confronted by clowns and public disgrace would have broken me permanently.  So I sympathize with the main character who is understandably distraught.

“You made me like the clowns before you kill them.  Thanks.”

The actors who portrayed the clowns are really, really good at being scary.  However, when we see them briefly during their downtime they are really fun to watch.  The lead clown is basically Ron Perlman with grease paint halfway removed from his face.  I honestly would have watched a movie about being in the circus starring these three clowns.  Too bad.  They must die.

“Kid terrified by clowns attracts killer clowns.”

Seriously, it must be like when you’re allergic to cats and all the cats want to say hello to you.   It doesn’t help that they take turns telling killer clown scary stories to further summon the villains.  Hurray for horror movie tropes!

“This movie is cliche city!”

The hero utters the phrase ‘We’ll be right back.’ several times.  A character keeps singing a song called ‘Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark’ which later comes out of a radio.  The protagonist spots the killers and when he tries to show his brothers they’re gone.  A character utters the line ‘Is someone in here?’ in a dark room.   Still, there’s a lot of fairly inventive stuff in the movie as well that I won’t spoil.  It just makes me roll my eyes but I guess it’s in a good way.

“So much good pantomime in this.  I’m starting to get legitimately creeped out.”

Great choice making the killers absolutely silent.  It could have ruined everything if they all acted like the Joker or Freddy Krueger.  Or it could have been awesome.  I guess we’ll never know.   The soundtrack adds a lot with semi-distorted circus music that makes my blood pressure spike a bit.

“Wow. Didn’t see that coming.”

I won’t spoil it but holy shit.  This just got real.  Oh wait, never mind no it didn’t.  Still, this is actually a great little horror movie.

“Shit did get real.”

Yeah, I tend to drop off from commenting somewhere in the last third of a movie if it’s any good.  It’s so easy to get sucked into a good movie.

All in all, I would recommend this little horror movie to any of my fellow horror fans.  The movie gave me goosebumps but was just lighthearted enough that it wasn’t one note.  The child actors aren’t ridiculously awful and in fact show flashes of brilliance and actually help carry the film.  As I mentioned, the pantomime is really, really good and what is usually done for laughs ends up being legitimately scary.  In fact, they get a lot of their scares by appropriating comedy routines and twisting them into horror.  Of course, without the soundtrack, this movie would not have been half as scary.   I watched the whole thing on Youtube so I know you can too.


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