With the fourth entry of Killjoy we have perhaps the first time in cinema history that a live action “killer clown” character has been featured in four separate films in the entire history of cinema, finally beating out “The Joker” who has been featured in three Batman movies thus far. A meaningless statistic, I admit, but I have to struggle to tie this particular film into some sort of rational real world statement of fact, somehow justifying its existence in my usual intro. Of course, most folks who would knowingly buy a film about a magical killer clown are likely not largely critical or discerning when it comes to their film tastes and such ponderous film trivia tidbits are likely wasted upon them. yet considering this film largely is small, shrill and vapidI have to struggle to write a meaningful forward for this particular title.
For those of you who haven’t seen all the volumes in this series (myself included) this film is the continued wacky, madcap exploits of the clown “Killjoy” an evil harlequin who was borne from an ancient urban myth into a living, laughing, goofy demon who uses clown inspired tricks, gambits and weapons which he used to torment and kill young teenagers.. So far so good, and not worse than anything else considering the sub-genre of B movie horror that spawned it. Truth be told, I kind of liked Killjoy 3 reviewed here, especially the acting of Trent Haaga, whose over the top portrayal of the savage monster in silly makeup made it watchable and enjoyable at least for reasons of basic visual absurdity. I am not so old, where I can’t occasionally enjoy a simple film, provided it is goofy enough to where its absurdity is true, solid and carefully tailored to the strengths of its own zany premise..
KILLJOY GOES TO HELL is not just the title of volume four, it pretty much sums up my feelings toward this franchise after watching it to completion. I should have known something was up when they didn’t put a number “4” in the title, which experience has taught me is usually the exact moment when any franchise releases one sequel too many in a series, which is doubly questionable in this case as this film seems to take place moments after KILLJOY 3 ends, (usually a very bad idea for a sequel).
As the film starts Killjoy himself is sequestered to hell to face trial for not being “evil enough”. His lawyer “Skid” is another, even more intolerable clown than he himself is and the bulk of the movie is spent with Killjoy behind lock and key preparing for the trial which could potentially erase him from mere existence should he be found “innocent”. Through some evil clown trickery and some perseverance he is able to summon his three evil “partners in mime” from the last film, Batty Boop, Punchy and Freakshow and they eventually return to the surface world and free the only living survivor from his last (film’s) rampage as a character witness, a girl names Sandy who is being held in a mental institution because no one believes her story about the actual death of all of her friends by a killer clown in a plotline device which seems lifted exactly from HELLBOUND: HELLRAISER II. Of course, so much about Killjoy and his entourage of lesser demon clowns always has seemed reminiscent of Pinhead and the boys from a certain famous Clive Barker franchise, (at least to me).
Despite the charges against him, I suppose that the most “evil” thing about Killjoy in this film is that he is somehow able to successfully convince these others who have no reason to help him whatsoever (if you remember the last film) to actually return to his trial and actually testify to his moral crapulence.
Of course the trial goes horribly awry and Killjoy must prove his freedom by engaging in trial by combat against his own oafish attorney who has been secretly working against him all along. His nemesis Skid has the ability to morph into a much more evil clown, using what resembles the exact mask from a better clown film: “Fatso” from KILLER CLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE. The ending is a madcap melee featuring an entire bag of dark clown trickery, yet as this is a horror movie that took forty five minutes to actually kill anyone, it is my “verdict” that Killjoy himself should been have ultimately judged to be “too tame for release” (not unlike this film).
The one shining spot in this film is Trent Haaga, the man who plays Killjoy himself. He is in top form as the joyless clown curmudgeon and yet he spends 95% of the entire film locked in a cell. It’s almost too stupid for me to contemplate how someone could make a film about an insane demon clown and keep locked in a cage for the duration of the running time. (Imagine a Batman film where the Joker was confined to Arkham Asylum until the last ten minutes?) Also, the trial proceedings were conducted by various demons who were every bit as goofy and surreal as Killjoy was in his own right, which completely destroyed any attempt for this character to pull off any wacky, murderous or cruel behavior against “silly mortals” which was his shtick if not the very lifeblood of all previous volumes in the series.
I wanted to like this film. I really did. Full Moon and I go way back. Yet this film is a complete mismatch between protagonist and setting, a pairing that destroys both of them. Any time you are watching a horror film that features an evil, sadistic, magical clown protagonist who justifies how bad he is by pleading for his life in a court of law and engaging in lengthy, heated legal arguments instead of just flattening everything with a giant fucking clown hammer while laughing madly, you can see how this latest installment of KILLJOY was a sad circus indeed, that still somehow still lived up to its name.
Extras include “the making of” and some Full Moon Trailers.
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