Coulrophobia or fear of clowns is not an uncommon condition. And why not? Those grossly painted faces. That exaggerated behaviour. The comicbook violence that often attends their acrobatic slapstick performances. Whatever they represent must be something that lies deep in the human consciousness, a dark xenophobic reaction that sees in clowns something that is trying to be human but failing to hide the reality of its fearful “otherness” despite the gaudy face-paint and comical shoes.
With a simple twitch of facial expression, even “funny”, “friendly” clowns can veer into the creepily sinister for those who don’t actually exhibit clinical coulrophobia, let alone for coulrophobics themselves. No wonder evil clowns have become such an interesting subgenre of horror film and fiction. They’re everywhere. Batman’s key nemesis, the Joker, is, of course, one of the best known and most obsessive of comicbook villains, given new, super-sinister potency in Heath Ledger’s powerful rendition of the character in The Dark Knight. In novel form, Australian Will Elliott’s award-winning comic-horror tale The Pilo Family Circus (2006) gave new life (and death) to the circus environment in which clowns thrive. Then there are also such famous examples as Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, Stephen King’s Pennywise in his novel It and the film of the same name (in which Tim Curry gave an iconic performance as the clown), and who can forget the alien clowns of Killer Klowns from Outer Space?
I’m sure there’s a long article crying out to be written on this subject. But let the above serve as an introduction to John Lechago’s latest film — number three in a low-budget, so far rather uninspiring series of evil clown flicks — Killjoy 3.
Where the previous Killjoy films have been, frankly, rather lame both script-wise and visually, Lechago’s entry looks to offer a lush VFX landscape, with loads of bizarre imagery and buckets of blood, whatever the script might prove to be like. The director’s experience with slime, nasty make-up FX and gross bodily dismemberment has come to our attention through his upcoming Bio-Slime, now renamed Contagion for general release, and he appears to carry this extreme but classy grossness over into the low-budget environment of Charles Band’s Full Moon Entertainment franchise.
The demon clown Killjoy is resurrected once again, but this time he is not given the name of his victim and is trapped in his realm. Using a magic mirror, he lures four unsuspecting college students into his domain where he can have his macabre way with them! And this time he is joined by the behemoth clown Punchy, the conjoined twins mime Freakshow and the seductive succubus Batty Boop.
Killjoy 3 is due for release on DVD on 14 December 2010, but before then, in fact today (in the US), there is a special open screening taking place. So if you happen to be in the vicinity of LA on December 3rd, grasp hold of your coulrophobic tendencies, don your polka-dot pants and head to the Capital City Sports Grill for some gross-out clowning around.
Friday December 3rd
Location: Capitol City Sports Grill
Address: 1615 N. Cahuenga Blvd. Los Angeles, CA. 90028 (between Selma Ave. & Hollywood Blvd.)
Admission is free, but Lechago says to “come thirsty”.
Below in the Gallery there are lots of pictures from the film and behind-the-scenes.
- Sources: John Lechago; IMDb entry. Thanks to Avery as always. Written by Robert Hood
Addendum: Behind the Scenes videos