Three maniacs escape from the local funny farm, clobber some clowns and swipe their get-ups. Bad news for all, but especially bad news for Casey Collins (NATHAN FORREST WINTERS) who suffers from coulrophobia, the fear of clowns. Like ants to cotton candy, the trio of lunatics finds their way to Casey’s house and there proceed to terrorize him and his two brothers, one of whom is portrayed by a young, already commanding SAM ROCKWELL. This is one compact bloodless thriller that really gets under the skin. The sense of dread is palpable, and it perfectly captures the spooky/excited feeling you get as a youngster when you’re left at home alone for the first time. It also makes an earnest attempt to get to the roots of a child’s fear of clowns. Casey explains that it’s their fake painted on smiles that freak him out, and that you “never really know what they (clowns) are thinking.” Sentiments like that make it hard to watch CLOWNHOUSE without seeing it through the filter of director VICTOR SALVA‘s conviction for the molestation of its youngest star. It coats the entire predator/prey angle of the film like a thick layer of grease paint. Luckily, I did see this film before such information was made public, and I can remember clearly how scary I thought it was even without that knowledge. (SALVA went on to direct the JEEPERS CREEPERS films that have similar telling themes throughout.) As sad as the film’s regrettable history may be, there’s no way around the fact that it does truly work wonderfully as a bare bones horror film (I’ll even throw in my biggest compliment, it recalls early CARPRNTER), and no discussion of good killer clown movies would be complete without its mention.indelible scenes

  • Scariest gypsy lady ever committed to film
  • Attack of the clown’s tent
  • The brothers screaming, “The clowns are coming!” not realizing they actually are
  • The first time Casey sees the clowns outside playing with the noose in the tree
  • The walk to the store to get popcorn while clowns trail behind
  • Most inept 911 call ever
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
15 years ago

Wow — I thought my brother and I were the only ones who’d seen this flick. Two of my worst fears (mental institution escapees and clowns) in one movie made this a one-time viewing. Kudos on the walk to the store for popcorn. I can still see the clowns slinking behind them.

13 years ago

I have that movie recorded on a VHS tape somewhere.  I’m gonna have to look for it ’cause I thought it was great!  I love scary clowns!