MARCH 5, 2012
With the exception of bringing back Trent Haaga to play the title character, Killjoy 3 wisely ignores the 2nd film and more or less follows up the original properly, reviving the “Killjoy Dimension” setting for most of the action and even tossing in a little twist concerning the first film’s tragic victim. And it was shot in China, where people apparently care a little bit more – it’s the most professional looking of the series. But is it any good?
Well, no. I mean, I guess it’s OK for a late period Full Moon movie (actually one of the best that I’ve seen, to offer the dimmest praise in existence), but it’s way too damn slow, and takes forever for anyone to die. Killjoy brings over one of the characters early on and has the piss beaten out of him, but the dude recovers fairly quickly – and that’s pretty much it for “action” in the film’s first hour (it’s a 75 minute movie). Again, the best thing about the original was its surprisingly fast pacing, so it baffles me that both sequels didn’t even try to live up to it, let alone top it as most sequels are apt to do. It’s like they used Speed 2 as a role model or something.
But again, it’s professionally shot (and offers the only anamorphic transfer on this set of the three films), which is a plus since once again the Killjoy makeup is fairly impressive, and this time he has a few fellow clowns to help him out. One is a Harley Quinn wannabe called Batty Boop, and then there’s Punchy, a hobo clown who administers the aforementioned beating before being convinced to join the good guys’ team (it’s actually kind of funny how this subplot plays out). Then there’s Freakshow, who has a little Kuato type thing, but we barely ever see him/it so I don’t have much to say there. Since the protagonists are dull as dirt and spend most of the movie just standing around, the scenes of the clowns interacting provide the bulk of the entertainment; it’s just a shame they aren’t given more to do. Still, even with their limited screentime, the movie is far more colorful than the others, and again, for once it doesn’t look like it was shot with a broken cell phone.
And when kills finally DO happen, they’re actually pretty good. One girl gets torn apart, another guy gets his head knocked off with a giant clown mallet, and another dude is smashed into the floor (with the mallet again). On-screen action in a Killjoy movie is incredibly rare, so this was a nice surprise. It’s just a shame it all happens in a 10 minute segment at the very end; had it been spread out over the course of the film like a normal slasher (which this doesn’t even qualify as) this would actually be an improvement on the original given the slightly more interesting story and almost imaginative approach.
I had to wonder if the script was like 45 pages and they had to stretch things out, however. Many of the scenes go on forever, and people tend to move in slow motion even during urgent situations. At the top of the third act, our heroes have to go through a mirror in order to rescue their kidnapped pal and fight Killjoy, and I swear it takes a full five minutes for all four of them to walk through. There’s also a bit where the heroine pretends to seduce Killjoy in order to piss off Batty, but she drags it out for so long I actually started to forget what her objective was (and Batty herself seems to be conflicted about it – she stands around watching for a while before finally snapping into action). I assume the editor just assembled all of the footage and realized the movie was too short as is and thus was asked not to actually cut any further. Indeed, as with all modern Full Moon films, the credits are laughably slow to pad the runtime out; I put them on 3x fast forward speed and I could still read most.
So that’s it for the Killjoy “trilogy”, which exists to the delight of someone, I’m sure. The “Play All” function continues to make me chuckle every time I put the disc in, and I will forever remain curious if anyone actually ever uses it. I assume stoners and the like will find much to delight them here, and even I (straight as an arrow!) found some amusement in the first and third films, so you can certainly do worse for 10 bucks, even if 5 is a more appropriate price.
What say you?