Mechanical Candle (ersatzinsomnia) wrote,
Mechanical Candle

"Everybody Happy?"

Ladies and Gentlemen! Welcome to the greatest Movie Night on earth! We've had man eating lions! We've had contortionists! We've had parades, fish people, carnivals, music, strong men, fat women, magicians, illusionists, and wild animals of every shape and size! Plants from outer space! We've even had a Hobo with a Shotgun and a display of Freaks! Is there anything under this great big top that we've overlooked?

Well, yes. Yes there is.

Let's not forget that king of all merrymakers... that figure who fills prank squirting flowers with acid and pops up to reassure that we all float down here. The ones who find magnets miraculous. The pallid face, the drunkard's bulbous red nose, weirdly applied war paint, and the garishly colored clothing of a flannel factory gone through a combine. That wide, red, soul eating grin. Hey everyone! Break out the greasepaint and your best oversized shoes! This week we're going to be Clowning Around...

The Seltzer Bottle: Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988, 96 minutes) True "camp classics" are among the rarest breed of films you'll ever encounter. Those that don't try hard enough come off as films too lazy to be bothered to be serious. Try too hard, and they overreach into sly-winking-to-the-camera territory that just denigrates everyone... the actors by putting them in an admittedly trash piece, and the audience by bothering to pay money for it. Killer Klowns is the rare film that falls into the Goldilocks zone of being outrageously stupid without being insulting. Made forever famous for its seemingly infinite rotation on early HBO in the summers of 89-90, it purposefully apes the concept of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but putting everything in clown makeup. A series of hideous, rubbery, malicious clowns start making forays into town following the appearance of a mysterious Big Top just outside of city limits. Agressively low-budget and amateurish, the simple absurdity of every scene somehow works, and continuously drives home the point that you're watching a movie about clowns from outer space... and enjoying it. So who, exactly, is the joke here? Great fun, if a touch bloodless and nonsensical.

The Whipped Cream Pie: Stitches (2012, 87 minutes) An interesting thing happens when someone earnestly tries to update the 80's slasher, and does so without either ridiculing them or being too beholding to them. When done with a touch of skill, you discover how universally the formula still works. This derives from two things: the timelessness of the concept (wronged figure returns for revenge), and the timelessness of the setting (adolescence and high school still royally suck). Another in the recent rise of honestly amusing Irish horror films (Grabbers being another notable addition), it has everything you could ever want in a living-dead-clown-attack film. We have a secretive cabal of clown crypt keepers, we have a Leprechaun-like punny approach to the material, a menaced set of children-who-grew-apart, horny teens, house party, and a coulrophobic hero. The centerpiece, though, is genuine splatstick of the highest order. This film contains one of the greatest gore gags (emphasis on the joke) I've ever seen, and innumerable lesser additions. (I should note a startling, excessive inclusion of a Black Sheep/Feast moment that comes out of flippin' NOWHERE.) The film even includes the thing with the eggs. This isn't a horror film breaking new ground or inspiring deep introspection. It's about an undead clown. But it is damn funny.
Tags: horror flicks, movie night
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