Triskaidekafiles

Triskaidekafiles is a love letter to cheesy cinema from the 80s and 90s, with the occasional dip into other eras.  if you're a fan of MST3K, Elvira, Joe Bob Briggs, or just bad horror movies in general, Trisk is the place for you.

Killjoy (2000)

KILLJOY

WRITER: Carl Washington

DIRECTOR: Craig Ross

STARRING: Angel Vargas as Killjoy
    Vera Yell as Jada
    Lee Marks as Jamal
    "D" Austin as Monique
    Jamal Grimes as Michael
    Corey Hampton as T-Bone
    Rani Goulant as Baby Boy
    Arthur Burghardt as Homeless Man
    William L. Johnson as Lorenzo

QUICK CUT: A young man dies before his time, and a year later, the instrument of his revenge is called forth from beyond the grave, paited in white makeup, and somehow manages to not be Brandon Lee.

THE MORGUE

    Michael - The poor kid who has the crush on the wrong girl, and pays the price for it.  But not before he uses dark powers to summon forth the demon, Killjoy.

Jada - The object of Michael's desire, but she's involved with a local drug pusher who isn't into sharing.

Lorenzo - Jada's occasional boyfriend, a drug dealer, and generally not very nice.  He has T-Bone and Baby Boy always nearby to do his dirty work.  A whole jolly club with jolly pirate nicknames!

Jamal - Jada's current boyfriend after she leaves Lorenzo, and occasionally the only voice of reason in the whole movie.

Killjoy - A malevolent spirit summoned by Michael to do his bidding and take care of his enemies.  And with very vague and ever changing rules.

 I have something to give you. I don't want it anymore. 90 minutes of pain all at once, all for you.

I have something to give you. I don't want it anymore. 90 minutes of pain all at once, all for you.

THE GUTS: Since summer is starting, it seems like a good time to celebrate carnivals and fairs, and dig into the trope of killer clowns!  I mean, clowns are awesome.  How scary can they be?  Oh...right.  Pennywise.  Well, Killjoy can't be any worse, right?

The movie starts off innocently enough, with Michael asking Jada out to the homecoming dance, even though doing puts him at risk of being hunted down by her boyfriend.  Which is of course Lorenzo's cue to drive up.

Lorenzo is understandably upset at someone else hitting on his girl, so he has his boys literally kick Michael's ass.  And sides.  And front.  And face.  And legs.  And pretty much everwhere else that can possibly be kicked.  And a few new places they discover.

In the wake of his savage beating, Michael turns to the one thing he can; dolls.  Because what is a Full Moon movie, without dolls?  And black magic.  He uses his arcane powers to summon forth Killjoy, and I appreciate getting right to the point with that.

 The clown is his link between the land of the living, and the realm of the dead.

The clown is his link between the land of the living, and the realm of the dead.

Before the doll can pull a Charles Band and scamper around cutely, Michael gets called out by a friend, who was only posing as a ruse to get him outside.  That way, Lorenzo could drive by, kidnap the guy, and finsh up the beating he administered a few hours ago.

Apparently 'finish the beating' means put a gun to Michael's head, and really finish the job.  Fortunately for Michael, Lorenzo just wanted to put some fear into him for never listening to his warnings to stay away from Jada, and the gun isn't even loaded.

Or, it's not loaded, until it is, and Lorenzo accidentally shoots Michael when he wasn't really intending to do so.  Remember kids, always check your gun.  We learned this from The Crow.

 Look at what you've done...to my shirt...

Look at what you've done...to my shirt...

We catch back up with the plot a year later, where Jada is studying with another boy, who is very interested in her.  Someone should probably warn Jamal what happened to the last guy not named Lorenzo that wanted to kiss her.

Elsewhere, Lorenzo and his cronies are getting high, until the two pals hear the ice cream truck and go to feed their munchies.

They discover the ice cream truck is manned by a guy in a clown suit, the same clown suit that Michael's Killjoy doll was wearing.  What took him so long?  Did he have a long queue of revenges to get through before coming after Lorenzo's goons a whole year later?  The clown claims he's there to sell drugs, and would like the boys to come in and check things out.  And they must be high, because they think this is a good idea.

 People once believed that when someone dies, a clown carries their soul to the land of the dead.

People once believed that when someone dies, a clown carries their soul to the land of the dead.

Once they enter the truck, it must be a TARDIS in disguise, because inside is a giant, abandoned warehouse.  I don't see a console though, so who knows?

Since they'd like to escape whatever literal, interdimensional hell they've found themselves in, the two punks split up and go wandering through seperate doors of the funhouse.  They are just full of bright ideas, aren't they?

They each find their own versions of the clown, and just as I think there's going to be fun, trippy chasing through a TARDIS-like hellish funhouse, one of them gets immediately mowed down by Killjoy in his truck.  And the other is quickly taken care of when he just suddenly bursts into flames.  Well, that was a bummer.

 Fire it up! Fire it up!!

Fire it up! Fire it up!!

While his crew get themselves perished, Lorenzo is busy banging his new girl, seeming to not have as much interest in Jada as she still has in him.  The new girl grabs a shower, leaving Lorenzo to hear things outside his place, and go investigating the noises.

Outside, he finds some tracks in the hallway, and follows them.  They lead him straight to the ice cream TARDIS, and he gets yanked right into the funhouse too.  Well, at least this revenge scheme isn't taking too long.

 Great. A guy shows up looking like a mime from Hell and you lose him right out in the open.

Great. A guy shows up looking like a mime from Hell and you lose him right out in the open.

Killjoy confronts Lorenzo with the corpses of T-Bone and Baby Boy...don't any of his street-demons have real grown-up names?  They encourage their leader to ice the clown.  I'm not sure that's exactly what the clown wanted them to do, but he doesn't seem bothered by this turn of events, either way.

Lorenzo is not one to deny his more base urges, especially when he's being threatened, and he puts a few bullets into the clown.  And by a few, I mean, 20 or so.  I'm not entirely certain his pistol actually should have that many bullets, but considering we're dealing with an undead clown in an interdimensional pocket, I'll allow it.

And since he is borrowing liberally from the Crow's playbook, naturally the bullets don't harm him.  But he at least has a few new tricks up his sleeve when he borrows from the Mask and spits the bullets, and then some, back at Lorenzo, killing him too.

 What are you supposed to be, a clown or something?

What are you supposed to be, a clown or something?

So uh, that should be the end of the movie, right?

According to Summerton's Law, you would think so, but no.  Lorenzo's latest girl goes looking for her boyfriend, following the trail of blood, right up to the creepy ice cream truck.  A glob of red stuff is dripping out the back, but it...it COULD be strawberry syrup for a sundae...right?

Nope, it's Lorenzo's blood, and Monique is also confronted by Killjoy on top of that.  And he decides to have some fun with the girl.  Okay, you had your revenge, and while she was mean to Michael, now you're just being a dick.

Monique calls up Jada, and she rushes over with boyfriend in tow.  When they arrive, they are greeted not just by Monique, but a creepy guy we saw lurking around the start of the movie.

Captain Infodump insists they hold hands and close their eyes so he can transfer the exposition telepathically.  And using old footage from the start of the movie.

WeSawThis.jpg

At least Captain Infodump has an awesomely deep and serious voice.  That helps make the sharing of stuff we already know at least bearable.  And seemingly important.

He tells us how the magic didn't kick in soon enough, and after his death, "Many, many people died, including Lorenzo."  Um.  Three.  Three people died.  Tone back the hyperbole, exposition dude.

Captain Infodump wraps things up by saying that only Jada can kill Killjoy, by destroying his heart.  ONLY destroying his heart will stop him.  Oh, and destroying the doll.  That too.

And with that, Captain Infodump literally disappears.  No explanation of who he is, how he knows any of this, and how he knew to come and spew his knowledge now.  Thanks!

 Stop me if you heard this one: Jesus Christ walks into a hotel...

Stop me if you heard this one: Jesus Christ walks into a hotel...

They go find the ice cream truck, and Jada is understandably reluctant to believe any of this.  But she gets swayed by the argument that if the clown killed Lorenzo's gang, he must be coming for them next.  Which...makes no sense, since the clown has no reason, other than random chaos.

Heck, Jamal should be all, "Screw you guys, I never even KNEW Michael, I'm going home."

But no, he sticks around, and they all climb into the truck.  He then offers up the brilliant plan that never works, that they all split up.  Because it's the only way.  Before I can yell at him, Monique does it for me, "Fuck that!  I'm not going anywhere without you guys!"

Smartest person in horror movie history, right there.

They literally argue over this for several minutes, until Jamal wanders off on his own, saying he'll be back in five minutes, if his plan doesn't work.  Surprisingly, not famous last words.

Jamal and the girls both run into Killjoys, and the ladies literally leapfrog over theirs to get away, while Jamal gets tossed around like the doll the clown used to be.  But even he runs away, and they're right back to the starting zone, where they are met by Lorenzo and friends.

Somehow, they find a box of convenient swords in the warehouse, and Jamal runs Lorenzo through, making him explode into gunk.  Because of reasons.  Do not argue with me!

 Do you know someone named T-Bone? He had a friend who shouldn't have played with knives.

Do you know someone named T-Bone? He had a friend who shouldn't have played with knives.

Lorenzo's two flunkies meet similar fates pretty quickly, so the movie has now killed the bad guys twice in less than an hour, and there is still plenty of movie left to go.

And no, movie.  Quoting the Predator when someone gets a good look at the clown's ugly face does not win you any points.

Killjoy pulls a knife, saying it's time to play, which makes me wonder what the last ten minutes was, but I digress.  Mister lets-split-up continues with his brilliant plans and tackles the clown without hesitation.  Well, now you do get points for not messing around.

He drops the knife, and Jada quickly grabs it.  While the others get in a few good shots on the clown prince of stupid, he dispatches them pretty fast.  He then confronts Jada, who agrees to give him a kiss, as long as he lets her stab him in the face part of his face.

Er, I mean, as long as he goes away!  Shoot, I hope I didn't blow her plan!

 So you're him, huh? The Avenger. The Killer of Killers. Nice outfit. I'm not sure about the face, though.

So you're him, huh? The Avenger. The Killer of Killers. Nice outfit. I'm not sure about the face, though.

The clown actually agrees to her deal, but surprise!  He lied!  He's not going to go anywhere!  And afterwards, the clowniness disappears, revealing Michael underneath.  Man, the shocks just keep coming.

Michael tries to sell us on his sob story of bullying and loneliness to justify his actions, but no.  That does not make selling your soul to the devil, conjuring a clown killer via black magic, and killing people anywhere near the remotest area of okay.  Victims; aren't we all?

He convinces her, or rather he thinks he does, to be his girlfriend, and she does what she should have done while kissing the clown.  She stabs him repeatedly and kinda sorta kills him.  Again.  For a ghost, he bleeds just fine.

The survivors decide to get out of the warehouse, which leads me to the question of 'how', but apparently there's just a door that leads outside.  So...the warehouse has a real location, and isn't some hellish backwater, or interdimensional pocket, or holodeck in an ice cream truck, and is just across the street from said truck?  That's...a bit of a letdown, really.

I am pleased at how many great trope-breaking reactions this movie has.  The movie clearly has yet more runtime to go, and so when someone says it's finally over, and the clown and friends reappear, it's no surprised.  But Jamal's reaction, the one we all make, his exasperated, "Oh, fuuuck me!" you almost start to root for the movie.

Thankfully we have the voice of Captain Infodump to get things back on track, as he reminds Jada that she has to destroy the doll as well.  Always good to have convenient voiceovers to keep the plot rolling along.

 Well, at least he didn't do that walking against the wind shit, I hate that.

Well, at least he didn't do that walking against the wind shit, I hate that.

Our trio runs to the ice cream truck to find the doll, and climb inside, and...uh.  Wait, won't that just send them back to the warehouse they just exited?  And be back in 'his world' where he can't be killed?  His world, which has a convenient doorway to the alley?

But no, they instead are sent to Michael's place, where the doll is sitting.  Um.  How?  Why?  Does the truck not send you where you want to go, but send you where you need to be?  Why would Killjoy's death truck, which sends people into his world, suddenly decide to send them to the one thing that can kill its master?

Stop this plot, I want to get off.

When the doll turns into Michael though, Jada gives pause.  Which continues to make no sense, because she had no problem stabbing him to death not ten minutes ago.

 Aw, this is already boring the shit out of me. Kill 'im!

Aw, this is already boring the shit out of me. Kill 'im!

She of course stabs him, finally and again, and he turns back into the doll.  They wonder why they're still there, and uh, well, the doll isn't destroyed?  It's right there.  You need to destroy the doll, the voiceover said so!  But somehow, things begin to rumble and Killjoy's undead goon squad go poof.  AGAIN.

But...but...the doll isn't destroyed.  And how come when he can't be killed in 'his world', the truck, which transports people there, transports them to the doll, but that's somehow NOT in Killjoy's world, and if the warehouse has a door into an alley how is that HIS world and not OURS, and even though the doll is 100% unharmed, and....AARGH.

And all of a sudden, the movie is concerned about them not breaking the circle of candles around the doll.  Even though nothing was ever said about any of that, and that they have to form a new circle of hands?  Where is this coming from??  Captain Infodump isn't even doing this, Monique is just pulling shit out of her ass at this point!  The movie had no plot left midway through, and is literally just making stuff up to ramp up the drama.

Michael, who hasn't been tormented enough in this movie, is then confronted by the demon that is Killjoy, pleading for his life since he didn't get what he wanted really, but instead the clown devours his soul, I guess.  I really don't care anymore.

 Goddamn creatures of the night. They never learn.

Goddamn creatures of the night. They never learn.

The movie can't be content to wrap up here, and has Captain Infodump make one last appearance so he can disappear after they say thank you.  He literally does nothing but reappear and go poof.

And they continue to drag things out as the trio hits up a club to unwind, where Jamal says how glad he is that he can laugh again.  Oh, fuck you.  You had to deal with Killjoy for a whopping hour overnight.  You barely had your schedule interrupted.  What is this despair and horror bullshit you're foisting on me?  It's not like this was an ongoing, drawn out terror.  It wasn't even an entire day.  Get over yourself!

They sit around, talking about how they keep having nightmares and...how did they go from 'lets get a bite to eat' to this seemingly being like...months later?

And why are we introducing new characters now?  Why are they chatting about getting into the club??

WHY WILL THIS MOVIE NOT JUST END ALREADY?!

Oh, but then the new guy turns into Killjoy!  Because it's a nightmare Jada was having!

END END END END ALREADY!

But NO, we still keep going, as Jamal wants sex, and covers himself up with blankets.  Oh, what possible twist could they throw at us now?  Since they have literally thrown EVERY SINGLE TROPE for bringing the killer back at us in the last few minutes, and YEP!  He's Killjoy too!!

AT LEAST THE MOVIE FINALLY ENDS!!

 Quick impression for you: Honk! Honk! Bang! Fuck, I'm dead!

Quick impression for you: Honk! Honk! Bang! Fuck, I'm dead!

AUTOPSY REPORT

Video: Subpar, blocky, but at least the colours are bright, and everything is easy to see.  It could be a lot better, but it could be a lot worse.

Audio: A solid enough mix, with decent sound levels throughout.

Sound Bite: "You guys want to find this clown, or what??"  "NOT REALLY!" Jamal trying to convince the girls to split up.

Body Count

1 - Michael is accidentally shot and killed by Lorenzo 12 minutes into the movie.
2 - Baby Boy is run over by Killjoy in the ice cream truck.
3 - T-Bone bursts into flames and goes the way of the dodo, rather than the phoenix.
4 - Under a hail of spit out bullets, Lorenzo dies as well.
5 - Michael gets stabbed and gets even more dead.
6 - Killjoy doesn't get killed, so much as banished to the black hole.

Best Corpse: Lorenzo probably gets the best send off, as Killjoy spits bullets back at him to finish him off.

Blood Type - C: There's not a lot of blood, outside of when people get stabbed or shot, and not much gore besides that.

Sex Appeal: A little toplessness is spread out here and there, a little something for everyone.

Movie Review: Abashed the Jason stood and felt how awful Killjoy is.  As you can tell, this movie bears just a few passing resemblances to The Crow.  I don't know if that was deliberate, but this movie does not live up to that comparison.  It might even be an okay movie in its own right, but there is no escaping it being compared to the much better movie.  Still, it at least has a coherent plot, and story, and it breaks a few tropes.  But it also is so rushed through its plot by the 30 minute mark that it spins its wheels for the rest of the run time, as well as then giving in to EVERY 'not really dead!' trope at the end of the movie, taking all that earlier trope breaking away from it.  Two out of five ice cream cones.

Entertainment Value: It goes without saying that the Crow comparisons just make this a very fun movie to watch, right?  And to have an all ethnic cast bashing against tropes that usually screw them over is also good, if it was a better movie.  When it wraps things up so quickly, then veers off wildly to drag things out...the movie is quite a trip, I will say that much.  It is way more entertaining than good, so four out of five clown dolls.

It can't rain all the time...