This movie would have scared the shit out of me in '89. Luckily today I have been cured of the fear. I have so many beasts and ghouls under my belt, I am virtually un-scare-able. You better believe that was a challenge. Clownhouse exceeds expectations. I definitely didn't expect to be compelled by the story-line and practical evolution. This is definitely a sleeper hit.
A Grandmother of a friend, had a series of pictures in her house from the late '50's. The pictures were half mirror and half picture of a Norman Rockwell type clown's faces. A bunch of them. They were terrifying. At night, you would just see clown faces floating in the hallway. It was really disturbing. I couldn't imagine being in that house for an extended period of life. I felt bad for that friend.
This one is about an escaped group of psychotic, murdering, mental patients that massacre an entire circus. Assume the identity of a group of clowns. Then proceed to terrorize the one kid that is deathly afraid of all the clowns, and his brothers. The clowns actually seek to murder these boys that are staying alone in a really big house. It is an Old Dark House film that uses the clown style really well.
Sam Rockwell, Nathan Winters, and Brian McHugh had a really good amount of screen time. It helped develop their characters really well. If your going to make a B-Movie at least make it a good one. The film is really practical, in that the murders and plot all practically move forward at a believable pace. Not that it's believable that these clowns would just happen upon this kid. It's a good example of a scary flick that needs very little hardcore imagery. Tone says a lot.
Strange feelings about watching this movie. From hearing about what that pig monster Victor Salva did. The disturbing acts that took place on set. However... I am trying to review this movie from a strictly unbiased standpoint. So, let's just focus on it as a film.
Clownhouse is a unique movie. It feels like an episode of Goosebumps that went a bit too far. It doesn't have a copious amount of blood. But it doesn't really need it. It's actually pretty tame, to a degree. But damn is it scary. Sometimes it feels like it was made for television. Not that it looks poor or anything. It just has this feeling. At the end we get a title:
"No man can hide from his fears; as they are a part of him, they will always know where he is hiding."
I always thought it was convenient that the psychopaths knew where to find Casey. The boy thought he was safe with his brothers but the clowns knew just where to find him.
I recommend this movie to those that want to watch it. Without the controversy we have a really good movie on our hands. Think of it like that when your watching it and I guarantee that you will have a good time. Or you'll be scared. It depends on your level of fear based in the clown horror genre.
Director: Victor Salva
Style: Clown Slasher Horror
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