WARNING: Spoilers lie in wait.
Kent was just trying to be a good dad. His son’s birthday party needed a clown. So Kent needed a clown suit… and he found one. Little did he know he had donned the skin of the Kloyne, a cave-dwelling demon from the mountains of Europe. And once put on, it cannot be taken off until the wearer has killed and devoured no less than 5 children. So much for being Father of the Year…
Just the inclusion of a clown in any scary movie and you’ve got my unadulterated attention. From Tobe Hooper’s (not Spielberg’s!!!) Poltergeist (1982) to Joe Dante’s The Hole (2009). As grown-ups we’re all cynically chasing that slowly fading high of those first few horror movies that scared us when we were kids. For some of us, that search can take years. For most of us, it began with the “beep, beep!” of a certain sewer-dwelling Pennywise, as one of the holy grails of that journey is to find a truly kick-ass killer clown movie.
So now the question remains, is Clown one of them? Not far off I’d say, but not for the reasons you’d expect. The costume itself is neither colourful, nor memorable. In fact, it’s possibly the least intimidating clown suit I’ve ever seen. Our villain doesn’t even have a trademark laugh. But then again neither did Art of All Hallow’s Eve (2013), who remained steadfastly mute throughout his gory endeavours.
What makes Clown so unsettling is that it walks the line between body horror and monster movie, coupled with the fact that Kent did absolutely nothing wrong to deserve this curse. He is hardly the ambitious Christine Brown, who foolishly shamed a poor old gypsy woman in Sam Raimi’s Drag Me To Hell (2009), nor is he the skeptical Dr. John Holden, who attempted to expose a satanic cult leader in 1957’s Night of the Demon. Holding onto his humanity and innocence for as long as possible as his transformation escalates.
Even the trigger for poor Kent finally giving into to his demonic hunger is the product of a rather bizarre freak accident. His second victim is also a safe choice: the kid that terrorizes his son Jack with school bully taunts, such as ‘faggot’. Unfortunately from then onwards it’s every little dude for himself as the Kloyne’s possession of the loving father takes control.
In terms of the bloodletting, I found the Kloyne’s dispatching of the children to be respectfully executed whilst maintaining a satisfactory balance of gore and tension. If A Serbian Film (2010) has needlessly reaffirmed anything for this horror buff, it is that I will never be entertained by the unnecessarily savage treatment of our young folk, faux or otherwise.
This sadly isn’t the best killer clown movie out there, but it definitely makes the top 5. Is that elusive grail still out there? Have we already seen it? Only time will tell. For now, the search continues.