Year of Release: 2003
Genre: Horror / Thriller
IMDB Rating: 5 / 10
Level of Awful: Surprise! – Low
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
I’ve had a very long internal debate with myself about how to rate this movie. It has a lot going for it: there are some genuinely frightening moments, it has a fair amount of suspense, Vigdis Anholt is brilliant in the title lead and the reworking of the Little Red Riding Hood folktale is fantastic. What brings this movie down is the way the storyline unfolds: it’s not the kind of movie where you don’t know who he killer is and you know why she’s doing it (or at least what the trigger behind it is) so a lot of the focus is placed on Peter, Teddy and Sean, three guys who write for the college paper, and their lecturer Paula Sheffield who tries to help them draw up a psychological profile of the killer on campus. It works, but it seems a little forced and if it didn’t take up so much of the movie it wouldn’t be a problem. That being said this is the only bad thing I can say about this movie and in the end I did enjoy watching Little Erin Merryweather stalking campus in her spectacularly red cape 🙂
A small New England college campus is being stalked by a killer: a killer in awesome boots and red cloak with the tendency to disembowel her victims. The first murder takes place in the forest adjacent to the college and leaves the teachers saddened and the police baffled. Peter and his friends Teddy and Sean, however, smell a story that would be perfect for the little university newspaper and Peter desperately tries to convince Teddy and Sean to help him out. His friends don’t seem overly keen in interfering with a police investigation but Peter, undeterred, decides to follow the policeman in charge around in hopes of finding out some more information. As luck would have it one of Peter’s lecturers, Dr Paula Sheffield, once worked with the FBI or police or some similar organisation and is qualified to help make psychological profiles of murderers. By following them around Peter learns that not only was the other student murdered but also disemboweled and his stomach filled with rocks.
It’s here that we are introduced to our killer, seemingly meek and timid Erin Merryweather who, ironically, is taking the same psychology class as Peter. Peter finds Erin very captivating and, since she also works at the library, enjoys spending time gazing at her longingly. Sadly Peter doesn’t know Erin’s back story: as a child Erin was abused by her father while reading Little Red Riding Hood to her and, as an escape from reality, began to mesh her own life with that of Red Riding Hood’s with her father taking the role of the Big Bad Wolf. For those unfamiliar with the more grownup version of the fairytale Red eventually kills the wolf by filling his stomach with rocks so that he can no longer chase after her. Erin now has a trigger that reminds her of her father and when she comes across another man with the same thing her other personality kicks in in all its red-caped glory and goes after the victim in question just as Red went after the wolf.
When another student is decapitated with hedge clippers and the police can’t figure out who might be behind it (possibly because their only tactic seems to be to scream at people) Peter, his friends and Dr Sheffield decide to take matters into their own hands to try and figure out who’s behind the killings before someone else lands up with a stomach full of stones. Being the clever one Peter figures out the connection between the murders and the Little Red Riding Hood fairytale and passes along the information to Dr Sheffield before going on a coffee date with Erin since he has been forced to get over his shyness when Dr Sheffield gave the two of them the assignment of profiling one another for her class (again with the irony…) Eventually, after both Sean and Teddy land up being killed, Dr Sheffield and Peter separately figure out who the killer is, Peter through profiling and Dr Sheffield through seeing a storybook Erin has drawn for one of her other classes showing the murders she has committed in a manner similar to a fairytale book. Now all that’s left for the two of them to do is survive when Erin comes after them…
THINGS I’VE LEARNED:
- Thursday is not Friday.
- Men never wash their hands.
- You won’t find drug users at a college in a small New England town.
- According to police you can’t be murdered unless you have a criminal record.
- People with bad teeth who like to stay up at night might as well be werewolves.
- If you know who the serial killer is you should never phone the police; rather go catch her yourself.
Little Erin Merryweather Trailer
Year of Release: 2004
Genre: Horror / Thriller
IMDB Rating: 3.4 / 10
Level of Awful: High
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Oh dear. Words escape me a little with this one. When I reviewed Dead Clowns I made a point of emphasising how slow-paced the movie was because of a lack of story. Well here we are, another movie about a killer clown, but this time it’s long and has far too much story. Not that most of the story actually ties in with what’s happening, but it’s there none the less. The sad thing with this little piece of cheese is that, had it been done properly with actors who could act, it would probably have been quite frightening. Sadly this was not to be and instead we are left with this attempt at frightening and suspenseful that lands up being confusing and a little boring but delightfully cheesy anyway.
Lynn Blodgett is an up-and-coming artist in Baltimore that has developed a reputation for her pictures that depict the darker side of clowns. A series of flash backs tell us that she has had some traumatic experience with a clown as a child, but the movie doesn’t seem interested in explaining this, and has subsequently developed a severe case of coulrophobia which serves as the inspiration behind her paintings (according to the plot synopsis – movie doesn’t really make this clear either). This fear may also tie in with the trip to the abandoned amusement park that she makes later in the movie (movie doesn’t explain this either). Anyways Lynn has an art exhibition opening at the local Craig Flinner Gallery but, on the day before it starts, the neighbours of the house she’s looking after are murdered by a rather muscular and shirtless clown (apparently based on one of her paintings, according to the plot synopsis, but there are no paintings of him until she does one after seeing him). Lynn does not seem perturbed by this and continues with her plans for her exhibition where she meets Tucker, a roller coaster designer who pays $ 8000 for one of her paintings. Now there seems to be an uncut and longer edition of this movie that I don’t have because one moment Lynn and Tucker are at his office and the next she’s at home telling one of her friends on the phone about the how the evening was one ‘long story’ and she seems a little distressed. Perhaps the longer version would have filled in the blanks. While she’s on the phone Shivers the Clown appears at her door and frightens her so much that she passes out.
Where this movie does stand out amongst all of the others that I’ve reviewed is that the amount of time you spend looking at a half-naked man as apposed to a completely naked woman is greatly above the horror movie average: there is only one naked woman in the whole movie and absolutely no sexual content while Shivers is shirtless throughout. Now while our half-naked clown is out murdering people our plot line becomes more involved and confusing when Lynn discovers that her husband that she is divorcing has been out of work for six months and she is later commissioned to do the portrait of a man’s father for $ 20 000. She is conflicted, however, because it turns out that the man’s father was a convicted child molester that got off of some of the charges when there was insufficient evidence against him (I’m not sure how he’s a convicted criminal if this is the case). Absolutely NONE of this, however, has anything to do with the rest of the story and serves as a rare case where a movie creates plot holes for itself where none would have existed if they had been left out.
As the story plods along and several of Lynn’s friends are killed the police eventually decide to take her seriously when she tells them that a killer clown is after her. The plot continues to become more complicated when it is revealed that her soon-to-be-ex-husband is trying to have her killed (ironically, by having a man dressed as a clown break into her home and shoot her). Somehow the husband also seems to know Shivers and even visits him and, although this does kind of tie into the story, it again serves as even more plot-filler. Eventually, as Lynn and Tucker become closer (despite the implication that he’s actually stalking her – something else that the movie doesn’t care to elaborate on) and the killings get closer and closer to home the two of them must put on a united front in a locked movie theater in order to avoid landing up like Lynn’s friends and being left in pieces all over the lounge floor.
I would like to give the movie credit, however, for the single little shot of a policeman guarding Lynn’s house and reading a copy of Stephen King’s It. It’s just a pity that nobody cared to actually read it and see how a killer clown storyline is done properly.
THINGS I’VE LEARNED:
- You can hear people fainting over the phone.
- $20 000 can buy a lot of bandwidth.
- Research shows that single men with cats are bad news.
- It can still be sunny close to midnight.
- FBI agents always stand in profile when knocking on people’s doors.
- Scary clown art is an incredibly lucrative niche market.
- Blurred vision and blindness are virtually the same thing.
- When victims describe the killer clown that attacked them to the police it is important that they fail to tell them that he is muscular and not wearing a shirt.
- When private investigators describe the killer clown to their clients they can mention everything about them except the muscles and lack of shirt.
Fear of Clowns Trailer
Year of Release: 2007
IMDB Rating: 4.5 / 10
Level of Awful: Medium
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
I had an internal debate with myself about how to rate this movie. For the most part I was inclined to give it a ‘Low’ rating, mainly because the film is cohesive, it does deliver a few good scares and the clown is frightening as hell. I ultimately settled on a ‘Medium’ rating, however, for several reasons: the movie relies on more than the average amount of horror clichés and, for the most part, feels like a combination of Killer Klowns from Outer Space and I Know What You Did Last Summer. It is more predictable than most b-horrors (watch for about 15 minutes and you’ll have figured out what’s going on) and the killer swaps between being human and something more supernatural a little more than would be regularly admissible. Despite this, when all is said and done, the movie is very watchable provided you can ignore some of the inconsistencies that creep in and Leighton Meester’s singing.
Hella-Burger is the biggest fast-food chain in the city of Blanca Carne (Spanish for ‘white meat’ – clever right?) and its mascot, Horny the Clown, is a town institution. Unfortunately for the town’s teenagers the drive-thru speaker has grown a body and has started going on a killing spree. The clown has amazing speed, a giant meat cleaver and a demonic metallic voice that all adds up to being a rather cool and effective horror villain. While he’s taking out the 2 town wiggers and their hos Mackenzie Carpenter (Leighton Meester) is having a little house party to celebrate her and her friends’ upcoming high school graduation. As most of the people begin to leave the party Mackenzie, her boyfriend Fisher and their inner circle go upstairs to partake in a little weed smoking and playing with a Ouija board. When Mackenzie and Fisher are alone the board begins to write all on its own and the two are left to try and decipher what the meaning of the board’s message is.
Unfortunately for Mackenzie messages from the beyond begin to appear in more and more places and, after escaping Horny’s attacks once, she needs to try and figure out who is communicating with her and who is next on Horny’s hit list. And all of this needs to be done while Fisher constantly tries to get into her pants. As the killings become more elaborate and closer to home Mackenzie begins to see a pattern in Horny’s murderous rampage and realises that a dark secret lies beneath this sudden outburst of clown terror. The police don’t believe her, her parents are obsessively worried about her and her friends are constantly high and wanting to split up to go and look for the killer. Despite these odds Mackenzie needs to quickly come up with a plan to stop Horny before her head lands up on his delightfully evil chopping block.
THINGS I’VE LEARNED:
- In a town called Blanca Carne you aren’t going to see a black person anywhere.
- Due to the absence of black people 50% of all white teenagers are wiggers.
- The other 50% of white teenagers are all stoners.
- When placing your order at the drive-thru if the speaker gets it wrong, leave it alone. Otherwise it might kill you.
- When a Ouija board starts to write things on its own, take very little notice. It probably isn’t that important.
- A plastic tent stake is not an effective tool against a demonic clown.
- Police never trust the one person who actually knows what’s going on.
- When a demonic clown is on the loose killing people it’s an ideal time to set up a haunted house.
- Lying with your face in boiling oil is not an advisable exfoliation method.
- Fast food kills. One way or another.