Clownhouse is a film that takes me back to my childhood. I can clearly remember renting the video, that’s right VHS, on a Saturday night and being thoroughly freaked out enjoying every second. Back then I wasn’t aware of the issue surrounding the films writer/director Victor Salva. He was convicted of molesting the the films young star Nathan Forrest Winters, who also stared in Salva’s Something in the Basement, and the incident has really tarnished what the film could have been. All that aside Clownhouse itself is a great 80’s film switching up the direction of the usual slasher flick of the time.
The story follows three brothers Casey, Geoffrey, and Randy who attend a local circus taking place in their town shortly before Halloween. Casey is the youngest and has an extreme fear of clown to begin with making the circus a nightmare event. As he’s taunted by his older brother he gives in and goes. Little do they know three mental patients have escaped, murdered the real clowns, took their make-up and costumes, and will be putting on the show instead. Once the kids leave the circus is when the real horror begins, as they were followed home by the psychotic killers still donned in the costumes. The kids have to forge together and find a way to survive the worst night of their lives.
For me Clownhouse is a great 80’s horror film. If you can put all the behind the scenes issues out of your head then the film itself is very enjoyable. It has a certain creepy feel all over it making you feel slightly uneasy the whole way through. The atmosphere really puts this one over the edge for me. Yes it looks old when watching it but that’s part of the charm. The grainy look just adds an extra element of horror making this one very underrated in my opinion. If you’re a fan of the clown horror type films this one is a must. I think it set the tone for them all, but they just can’t seem to duplicate it.
About Clownhouse (1989)
Starring: Sam Rockwell, Victor Salva, Kate Haefke, Nathan Forrest Winters, Anne Tomin, Brian McHugh, Sondra Utterback, Michael Jerome West, Emily Haefke, Byron Weible, Karl Peters, David C. Reinecker, Kurt Peters, Timothy Enos, Andrew P. Swan, Frank Diamanti, Karl-Heinz Teuber, Brenda Cox Giguere, Viletta Skillman, Pam Sperring, Gloria Belsky, Tom Mottram, Erika Young, Jasper Watts, Bobby Salem, David E. Gehringer, Gail Rouse-Haefke
Director: Victor Salva