Clown (Horror, Supernatural, 2014) (18) D: Jon Watts W: P: Eli Roth +3 C: Laura Allen, Andy Powers, Peter Stormare, Eli Roth, Elizabeth Whitmere Christian Distefano. 1h 39m. USA.
Synopsis : A little boy’s birthday party gets ruined when his entertainment (clown) cancels. His father finds a clown suit and becomes the new entertainment but something is weird about it, there is an evil curse and it won’t come off. He specializes in eating little kids… everything after that goes down hill.
The title is accurate, this film is indeed about a clown. Not just any clown though, this is the original clown. A dark comedic, deranged thrilling mystical horror, sometimes entirely over the top but delivering the dirt on all those urban myths about Clowns that we like to scare each other with on Youtube. It’s all revived by a slightly obscure director Jon Watts who has an fragmented collection of film under his belt, it seems that with the influence of Eli Roth he’s able to initiate a new film chapter incorporating the historical horror clown, mincing in some of the modern creepy myths circulating on the internet and fusing this with bitter olde European folklore including something which I think relates to the Harlequin story http://mysteriousuniverse.org/2011/11/the-mysterious-harlequin-part-one/.
There seems to have been several horror clowns in cinema history, all of them brightly colours vile monsters who have given people more nightmares than clowns have ever brought people joy! With similarities to IT (1990) revamped with The Fly (1986) with a dash of Wolfman (2010), with a few gruesome stomach churning scenes.
When a father is called upon to replace a clown at his son’s birthday party, he finds an unusual suit in a house he is clearing out, quite convenient. After the party Kent (Andy Powers) can’t get his new suit off, despite using an electrical blade on the neckline and lacerating himself he only manages to remove some of the nose which has fused with his own.
Slowly recognising his transformation but not quite understanding the reasons why, an overactive Van Hellsing styled savior makes an appearance in the guise of a nerdy Karlsson (Peter Stormare). Who explains the folklore back story in an erratic paranoid way, the clown suit transforms the wearer into a demon like creature who preys on children and has to consume 5 of them before the winter is out. Karlsson had to deal with a previous owner and was in charge of keeping the suit hidden but he fucked up. Soooooooo.. Kent is changing into a kiddie eater, Karlsson is out for his head and his wife is trying to save him and trying to stop him from eating their son. As the movie gets progressively darker and colder, the risks and dangers become more tortuous as this nightmare starts to take effect, there are regular scatterings of humor, rainbow head shots and caramel nose bleeds.
The daily life of the helpless Kent and Meg (Laura Allen) is gradually turned upside down as this subconscious second persona is building and taking over Kent’s body. There are regular low key violent moments mostly aimed at the children in the film, and without trying to give too much away I will note that there are no featuring scenes, for me this was a bit of a let down although are we getting desensitized to gore and violence in films? Despite this; the film is tremendous fun, while maintaining the creepy side it introduces a new demonic monster and successfully creates a great addition to the horror clown genre, and the sky’s the limit with the formula here of an enchanted clown suit , I would imagine any flaws could be built on and ironed out with a sequel or two.
Overall great performances from Eli Roth as the transformed killer clown, Stormare plays a convincing cardigan cloaked savior and overall the film is a treat for those who like a well scripted story instead of full on buckets of gore. There is a little bit of a horror romance going on with the main couple which does have similarities to The Fly (1986) especially as the Mr in the relationship is turning into a beast!
Rating – 7/10
V: I started out dubious over yet another clown movie but i was hooked by the time folklore was mentioned, it gives a precedence that the fear of clowns is a much older much deeper in the human psyche. The clown character develops into something way more sinister than I had expected. I especially like the infrequent not so gory scenes and the link with the dog eating the nose…I don’t want to ruin any surprisesR: Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988), Babadook (2014), Annabelle (2014), Horns (2013), Found (2012)
OST: Nothing to report here..
TIL : Never try on a clown suit
BS : I really like a small inconspicuous scene where some kids are playing a war game online together when the clown visits one of their houses and the other characters are kicking the crap out of his character while he’s being stalked by the clown.
Q: “It’s not a clown suit it’s the skin and hair of a demon”
5B : Peter Stormare, Eli Roth
L: Selected Clown Movies, Folklore Horror Movies, Transformation movies
PD : Post Discussion to come.