Killjoy (2000)

FEBRUARY 24, 2012


Life is great sometimes. Driving home, I realized I didn't have any suitable rentals waiting for me at home (between mailings), and thus I'd have to use Netflix Instant on my Xbox to find today's movie, which was bad because it might result in me playing Skyrim instead of editing. And then sitting at my door, like a little gift from the gods of horror movies, a package from Echo Bridge, which included Killjoy, a 72 minute killer clown movie. All problems solved! I could watch the very short film and have more time for editing, without Skyrim tempting me!

(Full disclosure: after the movie I edited for 2 hrs and then played Skyrim for four. Take that, Draugr scum. )

Since most killer clown movies tend to suck (not Killer Klown movies, however), AND this was from Full Moon, my expectations were pretty low, but I must say the movie is fun in a "so bad it's good" way, unlike most FM productions which are just plain bad due to being so damn boring. It wastes no time in offing our tragic hero who will be resurrected as Killjoy, the wisecracking demonic clown, and then the movie goes another step further - he wipes out all three of the guys he seeks revenge against in the first 37 minutes! I wouldn't say it's particularly great writing by any stretch of the imagination, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that A. the movie couldn't be considered too slow and B. I actually didn't know how the second half would play out (I wouldn't put it past Band to run the end credits for the remaining 35 minutes).

The second half is more like a weird Dream Warriors riff, oddly enough. After a visit from a homeless dude who sums up the plot thus far, showing us things we just saw in the exact same context as originally presented, the girl that Killjoy loved as a human, her friend, and her boyfriend are sucked into Killjoy's dreamworld, where they battle the clown as well as the zombie/demon figures of the three guys he already killed. I was a bit baffled by this plot point - why would the folks he murdered suddenly be on his side? But hey, it was keeping the movie from being too boring, so points for effort.

Throughout the film Killjoy offers wonderfully terrible puns and jokes in his attempt to be Freddy Krueger or Chucky, many of them "street" based like "Shut the fuck up before I smoke yo punk ass!" and "THAT's how you bust caps, mutha fucka!". The latter is particularly memorable; one of the bad guys fires about 20 times from his six shooter pistol, and Killjoy absorbs them and shoots them back from his mouth. Then they cut to the guy being shot over and over, represented by some half-hearted attempts from the actor to look like a guy being riddled with bullets as well as a charmingly awful digital effect in which red spots (blood?) appear for a second and then disappear before another one pops on/off in a different spot on his chest. Aw, Killjoy, you're cute.

It's also got a bunch of howler lines from the non Killjoy characters. Our heroine tells her boyfriend that she still thinks about her ex (the main bad guy) even though they've been broken up for a year, explaining that "he took my virginity, I can't just stop having feelings for him." Her friend not once but TWICE says "It's FINALLY over!" with regards to Killjoy being stopped (he "dies" like three times), even though their association with him only lasted about 20 minutes or so in the movie. The boyfriend offers similar sentiment, sighing that "It feels good to laugh again..." during a post-killing-Killjoy celebration (he says "Let's get something to eat!" and it cuts to them having drinks at a nightclub). I'm sorry that your half hour ordeal in which you fairly quickly took down a wisecracking clown kept you from laughing that night, buddy.

Another surprise: the clown makeup is actually pretty good. For whatever reason, we most often see Killjoy in closeup so you can't get a good grasp on the rest of his appearance, but his face is pretty demonic and creepy. Again, this is a Band production, so I was half-expecting the guy to be wearing a mask from the Halloween store. They clearly spent the entire FX budget on him, however - pretty much everything happens off-screen (even the simple gunshot that kills him as a human) and there's no real gore to speak of, just some random "dead" makeup on the three guys when they reappear. The CGI is pretty terrible as well, but that is a given considering who/what we're working with here. The "I'll SMOKE you" bit is kind of inspired though, and a notch or two higher in quality than the other VFX shots.

So I think I can just chalk this up to one of those "I guess I was in the mood" entries, where I might be tearing it apart on any other day. The IMDb board for the film is filled with vitriol (the "Worst movie ever!" type threads offer little rebuttal), and I'm sure any readers that have seen it are probably baffled that this can almost be read as a positive review. But it's the right type of bad movie, and again, it's so short that it barely takes up more time than another lousy episode of Supernatural's 7th season (funnily enough, a recent killer clown type story was pretty much the only good episode of this season). I should also point out that all three Killjoy films are on the same side of the disc (there's even a "Play All" function! Perfect for parties!) so look for the reviews of the sequels soon.

What say you?

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