Friday, September 23, 2016

Class of 1984

Ah...the 80s…movies from this era are near and dear to my heart, bringing nostalgia and a bit of longing for those days when I lived at home with my parents.  I don’t know how many times I had sat on that sofa in our family room and put on a video rental of a film from that decade.  Maybe hundreds…?  Hmmm…it boggles the mind.  So many silly, yet awesome, horror movies were seen on that small television…I just couldn’t get enough!  Just about every day, before the Blockbuster Video craze—and WELL before DVDs were a concept—my brother, sister and I would go with our mom to the local video rental store and rent a few movies—usually a couple of videos for the family to watch and one or two (horror or sci-fi flicks) for me. 

I’ve never stopped that journey, that drive to see so many films—either newer ones or trying to see if there are any gems I’d missed in my youth—and I don’t think I’ll ever stop chasing that dragon.

Usually, I think about films I’d seen in my teenaged years that I remember as pretty good, but not good enough to own on Blu-Ray or DVD, and how I’ve forgotten the plot or if it was a better film than I’d remembered. 

Besides my patronage of Netflix, there’s a company that has been doing the Lord’s work with films from the 80s—as well as other eras—and that company would be Shout! Factory.  Their subsidiary department, Scream! Factory, has been securing home media rights (actually, I’m not sure how that process works, so don’t quote me on that aspect of it) and has released some excellent special edition Blu-Rays.  I’ve purchased quite a few from their catalog of releases and I know there will be so much more I’ll be tempted to purchase, so I’m always checking.  I implore you to take a look at their web site and take it all in.

Not too long ago, I think it was just last year, Scream! Factory announced the release of Class of 1984 and it immediately brought me back to the days of high school, spending my weekends in front of the TV as I’d go through a marathon of movies.  I hadn’t seen the film since it came out on VHS back in the mid-80s, so I decided to place it in my Netflix queue to familiarize myself with it again before purchasing this classic. 

With that, let’s get into the summary of Class of 1984

A new teacher, Andrew Norris (Perry King), transfers to a troubled inner-city high school and soon ends up clashing with the delinquent leader of a punk gang, Peter Stegman (Timothy Van Patten) who runs the school.

Okay, I’ll get it out of the way, now, since it’s such a minor piece of trivia.  Michael J. Fox has a very small part here as Arthur, one of the students of the high school.  This was before his notoriety on the hit television series, “Family Ties,” and a few years before his fame as Marty McFly in Back to the Future.  He’s barely in this movie and really doesn’t add anything to it besides a minor subplot, so don’t think you’re going to get some sort of lost Michael J. Fox feature.  Okay, I’ve said it, it’s out of the way…let’s move on.

I remember back in 1982, when this film was in the theaters, that I’d thought it was some futuristic film…the previews I’d seen scared me a little and made me wonder if that was how high school was going to be like by the time I’d get there.  But even though it was 1982, it seemed like so far away to be talking about 1984 or starting high school.   Anyway, I’d been too young to see this film by myself and didn’t get to see this in the theater, but finally had gotten to watch it when it was released onto video.  

As I’d mentioned that I had been thinking of this movie as some ultramodern dystopian story, it had been hammered further in by some of the scenes witnessed just in the first part—namely, at the beginning where we see the students enter the school building through metal detectors.  Now, maybe there were metal detectors throughout the school system in the Los Angeles area at the time, but for me, a kid growing up in such a utopian city of Santa Clara, that appeared to be something out of a science fiction flick.  Looking back, however, I can believe it…hell, my wife’s high school now has metal detectors and has steel-barred gates to keep students in and other people out.  So either Class of 1984 made a bold prediction of the future or it was something very commonplace that opened the eyes of my 14-year-old self.

So about the movie…

Class of 1984 is a common trope we’ve seen in plots for many years by the time this movie was released.  From 1955’s Blackboard Jungle to 1997’s One Eight Seven, there have always been films with the teens-versus-adults theme and that’s exactly what we have here.  The extremity of what each side has—or feels they need—to do is pretty dialed up here and that’s what makes this film interesting.  It goes from a high school drama (by today’s standards anyway) to a horror movie at times and it’s a really interesting time capsule to witness in any case.  The dialogue is pretty well-written and, speaking from experience, what you see in this film feels like the days of high school in the 1980s.

So the antagonist of the story, Peter Stegman, played by Timothy Van Patten, is a good character study of a typical high school bully, but turned up to 10.  Though there’s really no answer as to why he is how he is, considering he displays intelligence and comes from a well-to-do family, it leaves no reason except to deduce that he just wants to be immoral.  Of course his underlings are here in this film just to be background characters and remain unimportant, but they do help build up his character just by the fact that they’ll do whatever he tells them to do—that’s what makes him frightening in this film.

Perry King, as the teacher that wants to make a difference—Andrew Norris—was really good in this feature.  Even though this film is the typical revenge story, it easily could’ve been an archetypal teacher-that-makes-a-change flick where he’s able to change the troublemaker to end the film on a high note.  Though the film does go through those motions at first, it’s more of a high note for a fan of horror by the end of the movie.

I can’t let this piece of information pass—the awesome Tom Holland (writer of Psycho II, writer and director of Fright Night and Child’s Play) penned this script, so it makes this movie just that more special for me.  He definitely had a handle on how the angst-ridden teens of the 80s acted and knew how to write the perfect dialogue for the characters in this flick.  Holland made this believable and relatable, never writing anything that would make the audience laugh when they shouldn’t.  I don’t think this movie would be as memorable if it weren’t for him and it could’ve easily went that way as Mark L. Lester was the director who had helmed this movie.  Lester is known for making quite a few movies that are in the so-bad-they’re-good category, like Commando and Showdown in Little Tokyo.  He had returned for the semi-sequel to this film, Class of 1999, but that film is not as notable as this one.

So…like I’d mentioned, Scream! Factory has done it again, releasing a distinguished film from the 80s with awesome artwork and great extras within.  The package includes the Blu-Ray and the DVD, with some cool bonus footage.  However, I was just a little bummed that there wasn’t an episode of “Horror’s Hallowed Ground” with Sean Clark giving us a tour of the filming locations, but that’s just a minor disappointment (I guess you really can’t call this a horror movie, so maybe that’s why he hadn’t created an episode for this film).  Do yourself a favor and not only purchase Class of 1984, but go through the long list of their discs to see what else you can pick up…you won’t be let down.

I’ll leave you with a little trivia about an act in the film: Within the film, Andrew Norris teaches the group of students—who actually want to learn and behave civilly—music and is getting them ready for a school concert.  In one key scene, Stegman walks in and decides to show off that he can play the piano, performing a wonderful concerto that impresses Mr. Norris.  The music that the actor performs in the classroom was written by Timothy Van Patten himself.

My final “bit” on Class of 1984?

Travel back to 1982 and see what was so remarkable about that decade of movie-watching.  The film is a great popcorn movie, lots of underrated acting from the leads (especially the great Roddy McDowall as Terry Corrigan, the teacher who goes a little nuts).  With all the back-and-forth between the antagonist and protagonist, the film ends on a high note and you’ll love where the story goes.  The movie looks beautiful with the clean-up Scream! Factory has done with this collector’s edition Blu-Ray.  If you haven’t seen this iconic 80s flick, go out and get it.

Thanks for reading!

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Friday, September 16, 2016

The Gallows

Living in the Central Valley of California, the cities in this region are basically notorious for a couple of things: extreme heat in the summer and lots of fog in the winter…and Alan Autry (Bubba from the “In the Heat of the Night” television series) was mayor of Fresno from 2001 to 2009.  Really, there’s not much else the area is known for, so when word had gotten out last year that a Hollywood film was being shot in and around the city of Madera—as well as a few establishing shots around the Fresno area—it became a pretty big deal. 

Even though I’d heard about the film production and knew it was to be a horror film, I couldn’t help but think of the disdain I have for most horror movies released these days.  Knowing that the movie was going to take place primarily at a high school, I couldn’t help but think of the worst—teens with cell phones, talking about the latest fads or music, speaking in their cryptic tongue, and just taking me out of the movie altogether.  When the movie was released, I had no intention of going to see it and didn’t think much of it until I’d seen some of the television spots.

If I remember correctly, I think the studio used the same tactics that Paranormal Activity used before it, showing parts of the trailer mixed with shots of the audience’s reactions to some of the scary scenes.  Though this method of advertisement worked with me and had me interested, I had resisted and only planned to see the movie when it was released to DVD.  But some of the scenes that were shown from the movie were pretty downright scary…still, there were doubts.

So…the day had arrived and I had Netflix send me the disc.  The synopsis of The Gallows?

Twenty years after a horrific accident during a small town school play, students at the school resurrect the failed show in a misguided attempt to honor the anniversary of the tragedy—but soon discover that some things are better left alone.

Film buffs, critics, and general audiences have argued the merits and shortcomings of found footage for quite some time now.  A lot of people think it’s already jumped the shark, but quite a few think it still has a spot to fill in today’s cinema, especially in the horror genre.  Since 1998, when The Blair Witch Project popularized this style of film, I have found myself on both sides of the argument, thinking that it fits in some films and sometimes it just doesn’t.  My overall opinion about it is if there is good reason for it to be in the film, then I’m okay with it.  An example of a good reason to include found footage in a film, in The Visit, the two children in that story are meeting their grandparents for the first time, so the eldest child—aspiring to be a documentary filmmaker—decides to film and record the visit on video.  A bad example (and even though I love the movie), in Cloverfield, it really tests your acceptance of the whole ordeal being recorded because most people in a state of panic and wanting to make themselves safe would probably not be video recording the situation—they’d be thinking of staying alive, running, and getting away from the huge monster that’s endangering their lives.

With that said, I’ll say it upfront, here, before discussing the movie that the choice to have this a found footage type of horror movie was probably a bad choice.  Much like Cloverfield, the constant recording of the characters’ surroundings doesn’t seem realistic or logical.  But again, like that monster movie, you’ll soon forget about how unnerving it’d be for someone to be constantly video recording when the shit hits the fan. 

The horror movies I enjoy watching are typically the slasher or monster type of films that I’d seen as a kid during the late night “creature feature” flicks that were presented by a charismatic host, like the late Bob Wilkins who’d presented those gems throughout the 1970s.  I guess he could be the reason for my love of horror movies because those were my formative years, growing up and watching those eerie and creepy movies on television. 

Sorry for the digression, but the horror movies that never really unnerve me is the supernatural kind, the ones that feature ghosts or hauntings.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m able to have a blast with them, but I can’t really say that they scare me.  It’s funny, because if I were in those situations in real life, I’d probably piss myself. we get into this movie, and after a little flashback of the accident that happened at the school years before, The Gallows starts off as a found footage montage of life in high school, albeit with a douche bag bully being the one that’s recording everything.  At this point of the movie, I was tempted to eject the disc and go on to watch something else.  However, it does give you some character build-up, but at the cost of having to hear this guy, Ryan (Ryan Shoos) get on your nerves.  Once the decision is made for he and his friends—Reese (Reese Houser), Pfeifer (Pfeifer Ross), and Cassiddy (Cassidy Spilker)—to meet after dark to trash the stage for the play’s revival, the movie starts to get interesting.

Now I know I’d said that the choice to have this a found footage subgenre was a bad one, but it still helps with the frightening tone of the film.  Because what it adds to it is a sense of being in the video recorder’s body as they see what’s happening around them through the viewfinder as if you’re watching with your own two eyes.  Of course, for that to work, you have to forget that there’s someone that’s constantly video recording everything instead of dropping the camera and trying to run from danger.

Much like The Blair Witch Project, the movie goes with the no-way-to-escape horror movie theme as the friends are stuck in the school with all the doors and windows locked, giving the movie a sudden claustrophobic tone to it.  Entrances that were easy to get into suddenly become locked, areas of the school turn maze-like, and the mood of the film changes to a sense of unease and being trapped.

My final “bit” on The Gallows?

Though the film takes a while to get going—with the excruciating addition of having to listen to the drivel of the jackass holding the camera—once the story moves into the school after dark, that’s when the fun begins.  The scares and deaths that we see are pretty terrifying and the directors, Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing, knew what they were doing when they staged these scenes.  I had really liked that opening where we see what happened—through a convincingly primitive video—of a high school actor that met his death because of a horrible accident during the play twenty years prior.  A lot of the situations are enough to get under your skin and really work to create terrifying tensions for the characters, conveying it brilliantly to the audience.  The reasoning given at the end for everything that had happened throughout the story may seem a bit paper thin, but the overall presentation here makes for a nice horror movie.  I wouldn’t miss this if I were you.

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Friday, September 9, 2016

The Boy

I've always had an aversion to horror movies featuring the haunted subgenre aspect, which I'm sure I've communicated in the past.  Very few have been able to produce any frightening reactions from me and I've always seemed to be bored by them.  Nowadays, the ghost story type of films continuously go by the numbers and almost seem to follow a checklist of necessities to include.  It's as if the filmmakers go down the listdark and moody, check...slower than normal burn, check...jump scares every half-hour, checkand all these films end up like cookie-cutter copies of each other.
But, you know, there's always a gold vein out there that I must chisel out and if I have to chip away through dozens of films before finding it, so be it.
Although I don't speak much about television (this is Cinema Bits after all), one hot commodity out there is "The Walking Dead," which so happens to be a favorite of mine andas a side noteI can't wait for the new season to start.  The series has gone through six seasons and they're about to start their seventh, with most fans eager to find out what had happened after the cliffhanger ending of the last season's finale.  But one star from the show, Lauren Cohan (otherwise known as the character of Maggie), is one of the popular and likable of all the cast members, so she's very recognizable to most fans.  Of course, that can be a detriment to an actor or actress, as the more your face is associated as a character of a series, it makes it harder for movie audiences to distinguish the person from the persona they've created and made their own for many years.  So, I couldn't help but say to myself, after seeing the trailer for 2016's The Boy for the first time, Oh, that's Maggie from The Walking Dead!
All that notwithstanding, and speaking more of my initial viewing of the trailer for this film, I was far from being overwhelmed and had no inclination to travel to the local theater for a looksee when this was released.  See, my first impression of the film's premise was that it was an Annabelle rip-off and I just did not want to see another haunted doll flick.  However, I did give it to them for creating a doll that definitely had the creep factor about it, but I intentionally decided to wait to see it on DVD from my handy-dandy Netflix account.  So the occasion had come around the other day and I sat to watch The Boy.
Cue the synopsis...
While traveling to the United Kingdom from America, Greta Evans (Lauren Cohan) is hired as a nanny by Mr. And Mrs. Heelshire (Jim Norton and Diana Hardcastle, respectively) but is shocked that the English family's boy, Brahms, is actually a life-sized doll.  After Greta violates a list of strict rules, disturbing events make her believe that the doll is really alive.
Now, there are a few things in here that are reminiscent of classic horror movies, like the huge manor where the story takes placeit's a cathedral-like Victorian mansion, with many rooms and not enough light to penetrate every space, giving the film an already spooky feeling.  Also, this huge manor is in the middle of nowhere with no other buildings in sight.  In addition, being that the rest of the cast are from the UK also gives you that feeling of seeing a scary movie from yesteryear.
For the setup of this story, as Greta is brought in to the mansion and finally meets the Heelshires, I thought it was typical how the filmmakers kind of show Mrs. Heelshire as a mean-spirited snob.  She's introduced to us as sort of callous and hardhearted towards Greta, not to mention the standard Brit-who-loathes-Americans character she's made out to be at first, and I'm with the movie so far.  Even as we have our introduction of the doll, as the Heelshires present it as their son, Brahms, I was totally understanding Greta's reaction as she starts laughing, thinking this was some sort of joke.  What I hadn't gotten is why Greta stays when it's quickly brought to the forefront that the Heelshires appear to really believe that the creepy doll is their son.  A list is even discussed on how Greta is supposed to read the doll poetry, play music for it, change its clothes, so on and so on.  If it was me, I'd be asking to borrow the phone to call a taxi to bring me back to the city.  Nevertheless, there is a plot point posed later that sort of explains why she stays-more on that later.
Another character in this film is Malcolm (Rupert Evans) and I took this character as being a red herring throughout.  Quite a few times there was mention of how he's known the family for a long time and how he's the same age as the Heelshire's son who'd passed away years before.  But he's here from the beginning of the story, explained as the Heelshire's grocery delivery person, and I thought that was kind of thin and thought there had to be more to him than that.  Without giving important plot details away, I really thought Malcolm was going to be a turnaround character in the third act of this film.  As a nod to the actor, it was nice to see him again as I hadn't seen him in any film (not that he hasn't worked)that I remembersince seeing him in Hellboy years before.
Now, the plot point that I'd mentioned, regarding the reason why Greta doesn't leave when she finds out that she's going to be a nanny for a doll is that she's basically running away from her problems back home.  Through her telephone conversations with her friend back home, the exposition is given to us that she has an abusive boyfriend back home that she's hiding from after leaving him.  I felt it was kind of thin, that maybe this aspect of the story could've been fleshed out a bit more in the writing.  But it hints at a bit of a love triangle as her boyfriend, Cole (Ben Robson), shows up and seems to size up Malcolm.  Nothing comes to a head with this dilemma, however, and I felt the filmmakers missed the mark to make this whole situation more interesting.  Instead, it just seemed like an unnecessary plot thread that goes nowhere.
Director William Brent Bell has been around the block with horror movies, seemingly an auteur in the genre, with The Devil Inside being his last big studio film before helming The Boy.  He does well with establishing the scenes, giving us the right amount of ambience and mood, never going over the top or going too much into the clich├ęd movie-making tropes.  Bell does what he can with this story, which has some merits but comes with some problems and plot holes, and gives us a slightly above-average scary movie.  Speaking of the story, the screenplay was written by Stacey Menear and if you've never heard of the name, you're not alone.  According to IMDb, Menear has only three credits under her name, all as a writer: The Boy, Mixtape, and Dennis the Menace.  The last two have not been released yet (apparently, the last title is going to be, yet another, remake), so this film was her first writing credit.'s not's not great.  I'll just say she gets an 'A' for effort in her first outing as a writer.
To sum it all up, I'll have to say that I'm sorry I couldn't go too much further into the story, but I really don't want to give any part of it away, so let me give you my final "bit" on The Boy.
The film starts off strong and I was never really bored, nor was I ever wanting to shut it off after starting it.  There were quite a few eerie moments throughout to unnerve the average moviegoer and the designer of that doll should win an award.  The movie moves you in one direction throughout the first and  second thirds of it, changing direction quite forcefully and mysteriously while giving the film a whole other genre in the process.  Speaking of that, I found it to be a very strange decision on how they came to elect upon this facet of the story and I'm not quite sure on how I feel about that.  On one hand, it shocked me and explained everything rationally, but on the other hand it was sort of a cheat.  That aside, the direction and acting surely was top notch, there weren't too many instances that ever came up to make me think that the characters were acting unlike someone would in real life (besides not running out of that mansion when unexplained ruckuses start happening), so I'd recommend you all give this a look.  Certainly nothing I'd purchase for my collection, but it was enjoyable nonetheless.
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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Clown (POST NUMBER 200!) I 200th post! 

(cue the fanfare!)

What’s more terrifying than clowns?  I can fully admit that, to this day, anyone dressed like a clown will creep me out.  Actually, I can’t see why any child would find the notion of an individual with a painted face entertaining.  From fictional accounts like Pennywise the Clown in Stephen King’s adaptation, It, to the real life documentary of Pogo the Clown (otherwise known as John Wayne Gacy), it’s the makings of a living nightmare…an unnerving part of culture that lives on mysteriously.  Starting in the UK not too long ago, a clown was seen often, standing on the side of a road and holding balloons in the dead of night or wee hours of the morning.  Lately, that disturbing trend has made its way to the USA, with multiple clowns mysteriously showing up in odd places and at weird hours during nightfall.

On the flipside to that, and as an avid prankster, I’ve got to admit that I would probably do something like that if I had the time, means, and dexterity to do so.  More than likely, the one thing that’d stop me from performing a prank like that, however, is the fact that somebody just might open fire on me…especially in the part of California where I live.

The point of all this is that clowns are scary and strange, making them the perfect subject matter to include into any horror movie.  But you can’t just have a story where someone dresses up like a clown and goes on a slasher rampage, can you?  Well…that’d actually be a movie I’d watch.  Though, here, we have an interesting concept and it’s one I’d gravitated towards, especially after watching the trailer for this flick a year or two ago. 

For the sake of Cinema Bits formality, let me go over the synopsis of Clown

A loving father, Kent (Andy Powers), finds a clown suit to wear and entertain at the birthday party for his son, Jack (Christian Distefano), only to realize that it’s not a suit at all.

In a peculiar sense, this film reminded me of Santa Clause with Tim Allen going through some of the same things you see the main character of Clown go through here in the beginning.  Just as Tim Allen gains attributes of Santa Claus that becomes a part of him in that film, the main character here acquires traits of a clown—colorful wig, makeup, and suit that all becomes connected to him.

So, as we get into Clown, it doesn’t wait to give us the main crux of the story, how a man finds a clown suit and decides to wear it to his son’s birthday party after the clown that was scheduled to appear can’t make it.  Right away I felt that the story was pushing it, not giving us any character build-up and making it very easy to start the plot.  It was just a bit too convenient that the father is a real estate agent who’s cleaning up a house that’s ready to sell and just as he gets a call from his wife about how the scheduled clown had to cancel their son’s birthday party, he finds a clown suit in the closet of this house he’s getting ready to sell?  A tad opportune, isn’t it?

All that aside, I’ve got to ask, are there really any kids out there who’d want t a clown to entertain their birthday party?  There’s even a passing statement by the sister of the boy’s mother, asking the same question, saying that clowns are creepy.

With the handiness of the beginning plot point forgotten, and as the movie moves along, I’ve got to say that this story is interesting and had me seated until the end.  The trailer gives it away that this suit started to bond with Kent, leaving him unable to remove it and changing him to an evil individual.  I just won’t give away why that is and what needs to be done.

Enter the character of Karlsson (Peter Stormare) and his inclusion to the story, making the film even more attention-grabbing.  He’s the exposition of the film’s backstory, much like Dr. Loomis in Halloween, as he explains why the events in this film are happening to Kent and how it can be stopped.  Stormare’s part is a bit small—showing up at the second act of the film for a little bit, then disappearing until the third act.  But what little he adds definitely helps this movie.

Andy Powers as Kent wasn’t played out too well, making him a weak link of the story at first.  It seemed a little ridiculous, primarily, how he didn’t even try to take off the clown suit and it left me sitting there in disbelief.  I’ve worn that type of makeup for Halloween and, embarrassingly enough, one time at a job where I was working as a waiter for a hotel and a company had a banquet where the theme was science fiction, having all of our faces painted to look like aliens…I try to forget that ordeal, but I can’t.  The point is, the moment Halloween was over—or when I’d gotten home from work that day—I went straight to the bathroom to wash that crap off of my face.  It’s just hard to believe, here, that this character leaves the clown getup on—even the red nose—and falls asleep on the couch.  With this aspect of Clown, you’re going to have to suspend disbelief.  However, once the evil clown persona takes over, little by little, the film attains the horror phase and takes the film out of the fun zone and more into the gross out stage.

The film certainly isn’t afraid to delve into the taboo facets that most other horror flicks stay away from—namely, killing kids.  At that point of the film, it’s difficult to see Kent as having his original protagonist character retainable as he goes to certain antagonist reaches in the story where there’s no turning back.  But it’s understandable to a point because of what has taken over his body and you still wait to see if there’s salvation for him by the movie’s end.  Although there are no big twists to the story, the ending will have you satisfied, though there was something else alluded to from the beginning and I think the writers missed the mark on that.  Perhaps they will entertain that concept in a sequel…?

I haven’t said much about the character of Meg (Laura Allen), Kent’s wife and mother of Jack, because she really doesn’t do much here.  She plays the worried wife at home as Kent leaves and goes into hiding during most of the film, but earns her pay here by really showing us how to end a film with a bang.

Although Eli Roth’s name is seen on the poster for the film, he’s only one of the producers, with John Watts as the director.  That tidbit of information is interesting because Watts is currently at work with Marvel’s next big budget superhero film to be released in 2017, Spider-Man: Homecoming.  Seeing as how Clown—although interesting and a bit scary at times—is just a paint-by-the-numbers horror movie, it makes me worried that he’s going to helm the next MCU film which features my favorite comic book superhero.  I saw nothing in this film that made me stand up and shout, seeing that Marvel has made the right choice in hiring him for their undeniable tent-pole film of 2017.  But his writing credit (along with Christopher Ford) is something for all to take notice.

So what’s my final “bit” on Clown?

The concept here is awesome, but I think there was some trouble getting it to work on film.  It could’ve been the editing because the beginning seems a bit clunky and maybe some scenes were missing as the story is kind of thrown at you from the word go.  However, as the plot moves along, the vibe becomes creepy and as the backstory to the suit is explained, the story becomes more ghastly and entertaining.  Without giving this much away, I like where they went with the story, wishing they could’ve explained something that had to do with Stormare’s character and his involvement with the evil clown getup.  The performance of Andy Powers is the weak link of this film—he seemed a bit goofy and aloof during the commencement, but improved once his character was taken over by the suit.  I wouldn’t give this film an ambitious endorsement, nor do I see myself purchasing this film on Blu-Ray, but I recommend seeing it at least once and enjoying it for what it is…which is a good-creepy-clown-time.

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