Clownhouse (1989)

Unfortunately so does the director…

So I remember seeing CLOWNHOUSE on JOE BOB BRIGGS’ DRIVE-IN THEATER.  It left quite an impression to say the least. One of the odd things I remembered was that the main clown was played by someone named “Tree”. But alas at the time I was an innocent young man.  The most risqué thing I would do was to stay up to watch Joe Bob on the Showtime cable network.   It holds up being creepy as fuck and it is even more so today knowing the trials of the young child star and seeing this flick while knowing what went on. 

Clowns scare the shit out of this kid. So should directors.

So we meet a young boy named Casey who is terrified of clowns.  Luckily enough there is a circus in town.  So Casey is dragged kicking and screaming to the show by his older brothers.  Well the clowns look for a volunteer and they pick Casey who runs away–still screaming.  Somewhere between the circus and home Casey grows a backbone and is no longer afraid of clowns.  

Lunatic fucking clowns who steal the fucking show!

Well Mom is out and Dad is in Cleveland.  The boys are home all alone.  Unfortunately for Casey three lunatics escape an asylum during a murdering spree.  What could set off these patients, “they were denied their circus privileges.”  Whooooo if that is no indication what a hoot you are in for maybe the fact that two of the kiddos go to the store down “old Jones Rd.”  Old Jones road being a driveway with a painted wooden board for a sign.  I shit you not.

If something like this doesn’t scare the shit out of you you are dead inside…oh yeah that’s Sam Rockwell getting attacked…disregard the camera crew in the upper right corner.

We are treated to some crazy assed clowns menacing these kids in their house and wow is that effective.  Clowns dancing and just doing fucking clown shit behind characters.  That bugs the piss out of me.  And I think I may be developing a severe dislike for clowns.  The older brothers do not believe Casey about the clowns coming.  They even tell a round-robin story that involves maniac clowns escaping and tracking the kids down that parallels the original siege.  Of course somehow the clowns keep the kids in the house and keep them running upstairs.  It works.  It’s cliche but it works for this flick.

This thing is not gory and there aren’t many kills.  The scares come from sheer terror.  Fear of clowns, fear of gorks, fear of gork clowns.  However it goes it is scary shit.  Of course now there is fear of predatory adults to be added in.  As a matter of fact it is a little difficult to determine how many kills.  At least seven.  Possibly eight if the oldest  brother is indeed killed.  The two younger brothers are not entirely sure if he is dead–this is the point the movie really falls apart but it is still a good flick unfortunately a lot of bad shit went down in the back story.

Turns out the child star seems to have done some casting couch work for director Victor Salva before filming even began.  Well Salva does some time and is unheard of until POWDER and then Disney eats a shit sandwich for giving him a project.  We then don’t hear boo until the entertaining JEEPERS CREEPERS flicks.

All of that aside. This flick is ripe for a remake.  One without a predator directing the child cast.  

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