Alien

March 6, 2015

Clown

Clown – Myths

Say what you want about Eli Roth, but just when you think he’s disappeared into obscurity, he always finds a way back into a cinephile’s consciousnesses. Sure, he’s not the best filmmaker, and not even the best horror filmmaker, but for some reason when I see his name attached to a project I feel compelled to watch. With that being said, this brings me to Eli Roth Presents (?) “Clown.” While not a great film, there are still some really cool ideas in the film and adds to the myths we all know and probably fear from our childhoods, if you are, in fact, scared of clowns.

Our tales begins with kids at a birthday party eagerly awaiting the arrival of a clown. Loving mother Meg receives a call shortly after that the clown they are waiting for has been double-booked and can’t make the party. Meg calls her realtor husband, Kent, and delivers the bad news, but Kent has other plans. Fortune smiles upon Kent when he finds an old clown suit in a chest…hidden away of course. The party goes off without a hitch, and Dummo the Clown is the hero of the day. Things begin to get weird when Kent can’t remove the costume, wig, or clown nose. Things gets even weirder when he meets Karlsson, played by resident Swedish weirdo Peter Stormare. Needless to say, Kent is cursed to wear the suit until he takes the lives of five children as he slowly turns into something that isn’t quite human.

The fear of clowns trope has been one of horror’s go to tropes for years. You can go to “Stephen King’s It” for the best example of the evil clown. Personally, my first experience with clowns was “Killer Klowns From Outer Space” which is a goofier and more light-hearted take on the evil clown. “Clown” is far more earnest than “Killer Klowns” not to mention several other recent clown films that pretty much make the killer a clown, or clown-like being, that uses goofy ways to dispatch their quarry.

What sets this film apart from other films of it’s ilk, is, again, its earnestness. It doesn’t try to be goofy just to be goofy, it’s actually a very nicely paced horror film that takes the creepiness of clowns and creates an interesting mythic story. Essentially this clown is Pennywise from “It” if you took away all the humor and replaced it with gore and horror. The biggest gripe that I have, however, is the third act, which pretty much falls into the typical “killer in the house” cliché. There is also the occasional use of CG blood, which always sticks in my craw, but its used sparingly enough to be tolerable.

One of the highlights of the film is one scene specifically that is few reminiscent of “Alien.” It takes place in the plastic tunnels of a Chuck E Cheese playground and provides a great deal of suspense. Another aspect of the film that might be overlooked is the sound design and score. The stomach rumblings of Kent throughout the film are very unnerving, and the score by Matt Veligdan sounds like a re-purposed John Harrison score, but it’s subtle and adds to the tension.

All in all, “Clown” is a fun watch, but it isn’t perfect. It suffers from some overused horror tropes and it gets dragged down in its own ridiculousness at times, but its a good take on the killer clown genre that doesn’t rely on “a vengeful ghost or deranged-mental-patient-in-a-clown-suit.”

Fun Fact: One of the earliest ideas of the “evil clown” comes from “Hop-Frog” a short story written by Edgar Allen Poe in 1849.

March 26, 2013

The Simplistic Reviews March Madness Bracket of Good and Evil Round One Results: FILM GOOD

JAMES BOND (1) WINNER
TOXIC AVENGER (16)

One is a mutated, tutu-wearing, former gym janitor, the other is a secret agent that probably has had sex with a lot of girls who wear a tutu for a living.  New Jersey’s own, Toxic Avenger, may have the moves with the mop, but it all comes down to James Bond’s Golden Gun, and he wasn’t firing blanks this time.  Bond delivers “From Russia, With Love” a victory for jolly ole’ England.

INDIANA JONES (2) WINNER
TONY STARK (15) 

Tony may be a genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist.  However, Indy is an archeologist, professor, pilot, equestrian adventurer, WWII secret agent, playboy, oh…and survived the Ark Of The Convenant and drank water from THE HOLY F%*KING GRAIL.  Even Stark would have to give it up for that one.

JOHN McCLANE (3) WINNER
FOXY BROWN (14)

John McClane has always had tough luck with women.  He either divorces them or kills them.  This one he kills.

ELLEN RIPLEY (4)
CAPTAIN JACK SPARROW (13) WINNER

This goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway; Jack Sparrow knows how to charm a lady.  Even if that lady has faced Xenomorphs, androids, and criminal rapists in an intergalactic penal colony.  Savvy?  Ellen Ripley appears so.  However, before she can unload her pulse cannon, the crafty captain boards her ship, shivers her timbers, and hoists his main sail (innuendo).  I’m sure Ripley would welcome a facehugger after a night with Captain Jack Sparrow, who upsets one of the heavy hitters in this bracket.

HAN SOLO (5) WINNER
HIT-GIRL (12)

Han shot first…nuff said. 

CAPTAIN JAMES T. KIRK (6) WINNER
BEATRIX KIDDO (11)
Beatrix Kiddo may be a world class assassin , but she has always been a sucker for charismatic older men.  And they don’t get any more charismatic than James T. Kirk.  Suffice to say Kirk gives The Bride the night of her life before setting his phaser to kill.

MAXIMUS DECIMUS MERIDIUS (7)
SARAH CONNOR (10) WINNER

It was that time of the month…You know what I mean guys…you know.

BATMAN (8) WINNER
JASON BOURNE (9)

Batman has dealt with his share of criminals, killers, and psychotics.  But I can’t say he’s dealt with an ex-CIA agent with a bad case of amnesia, a chip on his shoulder, and the ability to kill someone with a pencil or a book.  The Dark Knight had to pull out all of the tricks from his utility belt to deal with Jason Bourne, who got in a few early shots.  However, he was ultimately dealt a mortal wound courtesy of a Batarang.  He might not be Deadshot, but Bourne was merely a shot away from dispatching Gotham’s protector in this hotly contested battle.
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