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One of Craig’s most vivid memories from childhood involves stumbling across this chiller on late night TV. Clownhouse isn’t going to win any awards for the best film around, but it’s Sam Rockwell’s very first feature, and it provides some decent scares if clowns freak you out.

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Clownhouse (1989)

Episode 9, 2 Guys and a Chainsaw

Todd: Welcome to another edition of Two Guys and a Chainsaw. I’m Todd

Craig: I’m Craig.

Todd: And today we watched the 1989 film Clownhouse. Craig, this was your pick. You must have it. It’s 

Craig: true with this model. I do. And I don’t know if I need to apologize, uh, for picking this in advance. I hope not. Um, I do, I, I picked this one, not because I think it’s a classic film, but this is a movie that I saw.

As a kid. And I say that I re I, I, in my memory, I was really young, but the movie came out in 1989 and I saw it on cable. So I had to at least have been 10 or 11 years old, but my, I was on a vacation with my family. When we were young, we used to visit family a lot. And the grownups sometimes would go out at night and leave us kids at home.

Um, which was fine. You know, they left us pizza money and stuff. It was all good. We were old enough, but, uh, my sister and I. We’re just, you know, watching TV late night and this movie came on Showtime or HBO or something, and we caught it from the very beginning and we sat and watched it the whole way through and we were terrified, terrified, and that was the only time I had seen it until I was an adult.

And I think that I just was, you know, trying to figure out what that movie was and I eventually tracked it down and I found it on Amazon or something and I ordered it and watched it again. And it hasn’t aged as well as I would have thought from my memory. 

Todd: Well, this is not the movie to watch when you’re a kid and you’re being left at home alone.

Right. It’s essentially a home invasion film. 

Craig: And I don’t know, scary clowns, you know, that’s a, it’s kind of a thing now. I, I, I don’t remember it being so much of a thing when I was a kid kind of, when I was a little kid, you know, clowns were fun and Ronald McDonald and the circus was fun. Um, and then. I am certain that I saw this movie before I’d even heard of Stephen, King’s it.

But of course, eventually. That came around and I think ruined clowns for everybody 

Todd: forever. Yeah. Yeah. That was the turning point. Before that clowns, the whole freaky clown thing is really just the last few decades growing up. Ronald McDonald was specially nobody. Nobody was really that afraid. I mean, probably there were people Aggrey whatever who were afraid of clowns, but it just wasn’t a thing.

And then I think it was the one you’re right that came along and that many series on TV terrified all of us. And then. Nah, then you started seeing all these scary clown movies coming out and it’s just been a total pop culture thing where horror films have pretty much been responsible, absolutely part and parcel for Oh yeah.

Craig: Yeah. They’ve destroyed it for kids. I don’t know any kids who were into clowns anymore, but you know, we were sitting here watching this movie and, uh, I, you know, I was kind of gauging your reactions and whatnot, but I have really just been. Really interested to hear your take what’d you 

Todd: think? Oh, altogether.

Yeah. You know, honestly, it wasn’t a bad movie. I’ve seen, I’ve seen worse films. I’ve seen cheesier films, I think more than anything. This was your sort of paint by numbers. Horror movie. Yeah. Like pretty much every. Thing that you would expect to happen happens. Right, right. From the beginning to the end, I don’t think there really weren’t any surprises except it did still keep me kind of on the edge of my seat.

Wondering what was going to happen to these kids. Right. I mean, it falls the three brothers. Sam Riley, very young Sam Rockwell and his 

Craig: first film ever. 

Todd: Is that right? Oh my gosh. He is quite a character in here. He’s the oldest of these three brothers. His name is Randy. And then there’s Jeffrey. Who’s a little younger.

Who has the glasses on like your typical middle brother? And then you have the youngest kid whose name is Casey. And he’s the one who’s terrified of clowns, which is 

Craig: established right from the very beginning. Casey. Didn’t like the circus last year. It scared him. 

Todd: Yeah. And their relationship with each other is pretty interesting.

Like we’ve talked about in previous podcasts, w neither of us had brothers, but we both had younger sisters. And so we don’t probably get the whole relationship between the boys at home. That, that it, it seems more. More rambunctious to me. 

Craig: And you know, the funny thing is this is kind of what I’ve expected having brothers would be like, you know, it’s kind of a neat, you know, it’s antagonistic, you know, they’re always picking on each other, calling each other names, uh, smacking each other around.

Yeah. But there are moments in the film too, where they’re kind of like little tender moments between them. They are brothers, they, you know, they care about each other. Even if you know, the big brother is really kind of the big jerk, uh, of the group and, and Jeffrey, the middle one is kind of the sensitive one.

Who’s looking out for everybody. And Casey’s the little innocent one who needs looking out for, and it is 

Todd: like your stereotypical oldest, middle child, youngest child. Right? The oldest guy, Randy is like, Intensely brutal. He’s just the biggest jerk. Oh yeah. He’s a total jerk, 

Craig: but that’s kind of like, I imagined if I had an older brother, that’s what he would have been like, you know, especially in those adolescent, like high school years where they’re totally into girls and the little kid stuff is, you know, little kid stuff now.

And, uh, it’s, it’s a burden to have to kind of take your brothers around to things when you’ve got other things, you’d be more interested in really, you know, the quality as far as production and stuff of this film is, is not really great. The acting is, is really uneven. I mean, good parts. The three boys hold their own.

I think very well, but I mean, even then, you know, there, there’s still some times where it’s maybe a little cheesy, a little bit laughable. It can all sit together. We can all hold aunts. I bet you’ll need someone to hold your hands. Not afraid of the stupid circuit. So shut off all 

Todd: of them 

Craig: lightened up.

Maybe not the lion. Sankeys the elephants or the fat lady strong 

Todd: man. Shut up chase. Go ahead. What about 

Craig: toes clowns? You think of ever gonna forget you running from that stupid clown? 10 ones ever knock it off. I get invested in the kids. Like you said, you know, I want to see what’s, what’s going to happen.

And there are moments in the movie that I find still really creepy and spooky. 

Todd: No I’m with you. I was sort of expecting to be kind of laughing throughout the whole thing, you know, just kind of making fun of it most of the time. And of course there are plenty of models for that, but I was emotionally invested.

I wasn’t taken completely out of it. I was really curious to see who is going to live, who is going to die. And maybe cared more so than most, because really there really are only three characters in this film. There’s the mother who’s acting absolutely horrible. Yeah. We 

Craig: fortunately she’s gone after the first five minutes.

Todd: Oh my gosh. She’s gone real quick. And then they go to that. The Jonesborough. Is it the 

Craig: Jones? No, the jolly 

Todd: brothers circus circus. And it’s a small town circus. It looks like it’s set up in their park, this little tent. I mean, the production value of this movie really shows in that they’re trying to make this small circus seem 

Craig: like a big deal.

And the production value shows throughout, throughout. I mean, this had to have been shot on a shoestring budget. It just had to, and we were making fun of the, uh, uh, the logo for the production company. What was it like commercial productions or something? Um, it’s really low 

Todd: budget that I’ve never seen, uh, outside of horror movie.


Craig: you know, you accept that and you try to look 

Todd: past it. Well, we’ve seen worse, we’ve seen much worse. Um, he goes into this fortune tellers thing at the carnival. She looks at his Palm into something that ends up becoming sort of a recurring theme, which is this fortune teller this again, paint by numbers, fortune teller.

What arise is like is like cloudy. She speaks in this horrible accent, right. You know, she walks in and the whole tent is filled with. Animals and dead animals and things hanging and whatnot. It looks at his lifeline and says, uh, suddenly is it’s sort of freaked out by his lifeline and starts reciting something and rhyme to him about how his line is broken and he needs to be careful or what 

Craig: you must take.

Great care. Let’s go with

Todd: those, the flushes and the hot 

Craig: strong. Precious, like cannot enter the home when dad gets 

Todd: mad, go on, get out of here. And so that freaks them out. The fact that even has to be here. This carnival freaks him out because he’s freaked out by the clowns. And that gets established by a dream about clouds earlier on, I mean, this kid is obsessed with this clown problem right now.

Craig: And I asked to go, I mean, they, they forced him to go. I mean, this is like traumatized. He’s begging not to go. The mom has to go visit an old aunt or something. He begs to go with her. Oh no, that’d be super boring. Go to the circus. Mortified. It’ll be fine. They do. They go to the circus and whereas, you know, the production is low and you can tell there’s still, I thought atmospherically, it was pretty good.

And part of that was kind of the lighting and the way that it was shot, I guess. And you know, more about that than I do. But as, as you may laugh at this, but I thought that the music was a. Was kind of effective in places. I mean, it’s this very eighties synth music, which 

Todd: I have soft spot in my heart. Oh, big time.

Yes. No, I do. I like, I hear that as soon as that soundtrack fired up. Um, and I think it just kicked right in at the beginning when he was in his bedroom, having that dream, I was like, Uh, at least I’m going to enjoy the music. 

Craig: Good. I’m glad we agree on that because I did think that for whatever reason, it’s just kind of a screechy kind of long a natural sound, and it really does kind of establish it.

It’s it it’s spooky. It makes shivers run up and down. 

Todd: And they’re interesting moments in the, in the score too, like, well, when they go into the circus and, uh, He has this sort of run in with a clown that tries to pull him out of the audience for some act and he doesn’t want to. And so he in front of the whole town, embarrasses himself by tearing out of there in the meantime, there’s a point where the clowns are taking off their makeup.

And there are some guys outside of the tent. And the clowns are in there. Again, these horrible accents that are trying to sound French or foreign or something like that, and are obviously totally put on, there are some people outside the clown tent, as the clowns are taking off their makeup who are peeking in and, uh, you know, doing that horror movie villain kind of thing, right.

There’s noise outside. Who’s that 

Craig: right. And there had been some really clunky exposition leading up to this, like when the boys are on their way to the circus, they happened to. Pass by the loony bin. And that’s, I guess, just in there and the crazy house, the crazy house, they see a police car speed by with its sirens on, and they have this little brief conversation who I wonder, what’s going, maybe they’re trying to break out, you know, like woo.


Todd: It’s not obvious at 

Craig: all. And then, uh, after, you know, the Casey, the little boy, his first run in with the clowns, I mean, these are just the regular circus clowns, but even when the regular circus clowns are introduced, I mean, this first clown kind of. Appears from out from behind like a post or something.

And first you just see his white glove kind of come around the post and then his face slowly emerges up above it. And yeah, it’s 

Todd: scary. It is scary. And he starts making faces, Adam, and he’s doing the clown thing, the peek-a-boo. And of course, he’s just doing it for this kid because everybody is turned looking the opposite direction at the three ring circus.

And this clown is on the wings. Sort of doing all this goofy stuff for him who can take his eyes off of him the opposite way. And then of course, Casey turns around and it’s like, wait a minute. Am I the only guy? And it turns out there’s a little kid behind her that the guy’s actually miming with. And 

Craig: so, but even.

Though it’s supposed to be innocent. I mean, these are just the real clowns are just doing their job. Even when they go to try to grab Casey to pull them out, you know, they, they, they’re looking for a volunteer. I mean, this is supposed to be fun. It freaks them out, even though it’s supposed to be innocent.

I was sitting here thinking it really is not hard to make a circus. Nightmarish. Yeah. 

Todd: And, you know, as a person who’s never been afraid of clowns. Who’s never really bought into that fear. And I, and it terrified me, but it didn’t really turn me against it. And I’ve always thought it was kind of, I don’t want to offend anybody, but I always felt it was kind of silly to sort of be afraid of clowns.

Okay. Yeah. Clowns can be demonic, blah, blah, blah. But generally they’re not. Yeah, you’re right. It takes this typical clown in the circus smiley face on his face. Uh, bright lights, everything action going on. And does find a way to twist it into that spookiness and it sets you off guard, right? Because you think, Oh, this is the clown that we’re going to be afraid of.

These are the clowns that are going to be messing with us. And it’s not, till later when those clowns get jumped, the guys who escaped exactly the 

Craig: crazy, the crazy folks who made their way to the circus. Kill the performance clowns, um, 

Todd: their next around, right. That seems to be the app. Yeah, 

Craig: absolutely. And, uh, you know, the, the clown’s very clever, you know, it’s, it’s these interesting shots of just these, the hands, you know, rummaging through all the clown’s makeup and whatnot, but.

Eventually they land on this white pancake makeup that they kind of become fascinated with and you see them start to apply or, or the central one CISO, uh, the clown, you see him start to apply it. And it’s all, uh, you know, in a big close-up on his eyes and he’s got these kind of big. You know, wide, crazy eyes and him smearing the grease paint underneath his eye.

So it was a spooky image to me. Yeah. And, 

Todd: and, and they did a really good job too, of not showing you very much of their faces before they put on the makeup. Right. So they were very sort of mysterious guys and putting on this mask became their character. You didn’t see that full on transformation of here are these guys who escaped from the mental hospital.

Now they’re clowns. All you see is this sort of. Sinister in the shadows figure. And now they’re clowns. Right? Which I think just that little bit of not showing you all that psychologically, I 

Craig: think has an effect. Yeah. And you know, you said you didn’t want to offend anybody. I am kind of afraid of clowns.

I mean, not, you know, it’s not a rational fear. I don’t really think clowns are gonna come get me, but the image of them is spooky and, and, and Casey, the, the boy even kind of talks about that. He says that the reason that he doesn’t like clowns two faces with big happy eyes, Smiles

for know what they really are. And by having these three escapes, lunatics, you know, they don’t have any backstory. They, we don’t know anything about them. They don’t have names, even aside from the clown names that they stole from the circus performers. They really just are. A menace, you know, they are, they are evil, they are danger.

One of the things that I think that the film does well is have them always kind of lurking where you wouldn’t expect them to be lurking or maybe lurking where you would expect them to be lurking, but kind of in the background. And it’s just a, yeah. Yeah. 

Todd: And it’s not psychopaths that put on makeup. I mean, it is, but it’s not presented that way.

It’s evil personified, right? They’re not talking. No, they don’t no dialogue. They don’t make a sound. They don’t stream. They don’t screech and we’re out or anything. It’s completely silent. Just like a clown, right. They really take on that clown persona full and foremost in the sense that even throughout the movie, they’re toying with these kids, like a clan would toy with you.

And so you forget that they are lunatics escape from an asylum. They are. Evil clown. Right. 

Craig: And they’re toying with them and they’re taking great joy in it. You know, like they’re, they’re smiling and kind of rubbing their fingers together. Menacingly, like they’re really enjoying, messing with these kids, but we, you know, we’ve seen them kill three people.

And then I feel like they, they felt like they had to throw in another murder for some reason once they were in clown makeup, there’s just kind of this random store guy that, uh, gets. Offed by the clowns too. 

Todd: Again, I just had to say just like hilarious portrayals. I mean, this was, I don’t know, probably shot in LA.

It’s sort of your standard low budget portrayal of some country folk, you know, like people who have never actually been South or been to the Midwest, overplay the sort of, uh, accent, the country store, and they have a bar and out the back and this barn. Clearly serves no purpose because all that’s in this barn is stack upon stack of empty crates from floor to ceiling.

I mean, it’s 

Craig: obviously a set dressing, you know, they had to work with what they, they, they had, uh, apparently, and it’s kind of goofy in moments. But again, I think that the clowns did a good job of being missing, especially the central one. There’s three of them.  and then there’s  CISO is. Genuinely frightening.

I think now a bit Bo and depo kind of just play his henchmen. They’re not as in the forefront. And I was noticing, I had never noticed this before, but as we were watching the, as the credits were rolling, I said, it said that a psycho CISO was played by tree. I don’t know what that means, but I would guess that this.

Guy, whoever it was that played that central clown CISO was some sort of performance or cloud, right. Be a clown in real life because he, he captured 

Todd: it really well using the classic clown named tree. 

Craig: Right. Maybe it’s just because he’s really tall. I don’t know. Maybe that exists. That’s his nickname. I don’t know.


Todd: the startup just like the Tim Curry clown, you know, there’s sort of those clown styles. There’s the hobo clown. There’s the sad clown. There’s the bozo, the clown look, which is kind of what he had the hair that kind of comes around the side up and, you know, the high arched eyebrows and stuff. And then, um, Beepo and Depot kind of looks similar in that they have those more of the traditional triangular clown hats, and just to kind of a small button nose and you know, that, 

Craig: that right.

Yeah. And, and, and all three of them are, you know, they’re kind of a scary little group and, and what happens is after they, the boys come back from the circus, then they basically just have a night at home. Uh, you know, they, they’re gonna. Tell ghost stories after they all bathed together. 

Todd: Again, it was a very odd scene in the bathroom where the one kid is just taking a bath and the other one’s sitting on the toilet.

And then the older kid, Randy is standing there and just basically insulting them all the whole time. 

Craig: I’m trying to figure it out. This is a whisker or a zit. You guys want to show you really got some air 

Todd: Casey. 

Craig: You don’t want to show you really got here where Kevin I’ll actually have more to say on that later, but let’s, uh, but as far as plot is concerned, they’re in the house and they’re telling ghost stories and, and of course the ghost story surrounds clowns, but you know, Casey’s kind of getting into it too.

They’re playing around, uh, and at the climax of the ghost story, they’re flipping the lights on and off to make it look like. Uh, a storm and that’s what draws the attention of the psycho clowns. And from that point on the clowns are around. Casey sees them first, but he’s been so freaked out throughout the whole day.

I guess he kind of thinks maybe he’s imagining 

Todd: it. He’s not sure. Right? Because there are moments throughout the movie where he closes his eyes. He’s just faced head on with one of these clowns. Either they’re standing in the path or they’re poking out from around the corner. They’re looking through the window.

He just closes his eyes tight for like a few seconds. Way too many seconds. Right. And it opens them. And of course the cloud still it’s like, sort of like his test, 

Craig: but yeah. Yeah. I guess like he’s trying to and overcome his fears, you know, he’s trying to grow up, you know, he doesn’t want to be a little kid anymore and be afraid of these things and, and the clowns, you know, I’m sure that it’s all in the cinematography, how it’s shot, but they do a really good job of, you know, being sneaky, you know, being somewhere where it seems like they’re going to be revealed and they’re going to be found by the other brothers, but then the camera will pan and they’ll all of a sudden.

Be gone, you know, they’ve, they’ve quietly and quickly hidden and now they’re concealed. And that goes on really for kind of a long time. I could see how, if you were trying to be critical of the film, you might say that there’s a little bit of a lag there. Um, in the second half, when it kind of seems, I still find it atmospheric and spooky because I still find the, you know, the lingering creeping clown spooky, but it’s kind of the same shtick for a while.


Todd: it really is. Um, they’re poking in the window. They’re kind of peeking around. And then there are these moments, which actually I think were executed very well. Uh, these moments where it’s the standard horror movie moment, where you see the person and they’re sort of, you know, with their back to a window when you see the clown behind, right.

And then as soon as they turn around, the clown has just sort of disappeared. There’s another really interesting bit where Randy runs across the windows and the clown mirrors, the clown, which is outside the window, just mirrors his run across almost like a reflection. And even he sort of stops. And kind of backs up and looks wondering, was that my reflection or not, and that’s what he gets it.

Right. But what a cool moment. Yeah. 

Craig: Oh, I really liked that shot. I mean, it was, I’m sure they had takes to choose from, but it was just timed really well. It was surprising to me the viewer too. Uh, and you know, I kind of would, I think in the same situation like Randy, I would have paused, but. What the hell is that, you know, he kind of goes to the window to look.

And that, that really is the first time. See one of the things that I was wondering the whole time I was watching this movie is it kind of has a feel to it. And we’ve talked about this before, where it almost seems like it’s a movie made for kids. And, you know, and we talked about this before in the eighties, there were these movies that really were legitimately frightening.

But you kind of got the sense that they were for kids. I mean, this one almost kind of has like a spooky after-school special. It really does feel to it. And maybe that has something to do with the production, but throughout the whole thing, I kept thinking, you know, what is going to happen? Or are these boys really endangered?

Like, is the film going to go there? Is it gonna, is it going to kill one of these boys or all of them or any of them? Wow. And there are parts where it’s 

Todd: suggested it is. And I mean, it kills two people already. Um, so you’re right there. That question is always there. It’s not like it’s been a safe ramp up until right until now we’ve got two people dead with their next or four people that I guess with their necks twisted around, but still not bloody.

All the violence either happens like in a shadow or sort of offscreen, or, you know, somebody gets thrown out of a window and you don’t see them land. Right. You just see them fly. Even as far as blood, uh, very little like a drop of blood comes on somebody’s hand or something 

Craig: like that. Very fine. Spray of missed blood in the, in the clown.

When the psycho people kill the real clowns, there’s a tiny little spray. Um, but very little Gore and, and 

Todd: that I think was co was clearly a conscientious choice. I mean, even if for a low budget film, Especially in 1989, even if you don’t have a ton of money to do crazy Gore effects, you can squirt blood everywhere.

And people did that a lot and it would look, you know, sometimes find it was sometimes it would look cheesy, but clearly they were going for a bit of a Tamer rating. 

Craig: It seems that way. I don’t even know. I assume it’s rated PG 13 because the boys are kind of potty mouth. Um, that’s about it. 

Todd: Yeah. But other than that, even the Goonies.

You ever watched the goonie? Oh yeah, absolutely. I mean everything, but the F-word I think in the Goonies all the time, those kids are swearing and cursing, and this is about the same time a couple of years later, but it was just a D 

Craig: you know, it was a different time. 

Todd: Isn’t that true? That back in the good old days back when, back when they actually made movies with kids talking the way they actually it.

Right. Exactly. 

Craig: But we were talking about how, you know, that scene, where the clown and Randy run across, and then Randy kind of looks out the window. And the clown busts his hand through and grabs Randy. And you don’t see what happens, but you know that, you know, you see the clown, pull him through the window, you know, his face bust through the window and he gets pulled through.

And that was kind of jarring to me because I thought, wow, maybe they are going to go there. And, uh, maybe these kids didn’t know who was, I mean, 

Todd: it was kind of, again, you didn’t really see it, but it was a brutal thing. Like to get broken, pulled through a broken glass window basically is what happened. And I thought, wow, that was a bold choice.

Randy’s gonna. Randy’s dead. And it was exactly what I was thinking. 

Craig: And then, you know, the other boys, first of all, they don’t, you know, they think Randy’s playing a joke. You know, they hear the con the commotion downstairs and really Grandy was trying to scare them. He was, you know, setting them up for a dressed himself as a clown.

Um, but that’s when he, uh, got pulled through. And then, so Jeffrey and Casey kind of look around a little bit. And the clowns appear behind them. Casey turns around and sees them, but kind of tries to pull that close my eyes, make them go away thing. And, uh, Jeff turns and sees them and is kind of frozen in fear for a minute.


then it’s the chase for the rest of the firm. And we don’t have much left at that point, but it’s a chasing. 

Todd: Yeah. It just sort of becomes your home invasion film where they’re chasing them through the house, the kids. And again, it hits all the beats. The kids are making all the wrong moves. They’re going upstairs when they should be going there, they go to the front door.

And for some reason, the front door is lockable from the outside. Somehow it’s one of those silly things. Oh, they did something we can’t get out, you know, and they kind of run back and then there’s sort of a scene where they get out of the house finally, and they’re standing there. And one of the things that we’ve sort of seen throughout the movie was this sort of running thing about this Halloween decoration, apparently it’s two weeks before Halloween, right?

A giant new sat in the front that, uh, in the very beginning of the movie, Randy had set up with a dummy and mom said, take that down. It’s not Halloween yet. And so he took it down, but the news was still there. And then we see the dummy back, but it’s really a dummy and it’s. Uh, you know, earlier was Geoffrey scaring, Randy, and then there’ll be, he’s gone.

And then now they walk outside and they, they see something again in that noose and they think it’s Randy 

Craig: and he’s supposed to, I thought it was Randy two. And this is really funny time because before I saw this again for the second time, when I was just my memory from when I was a kid, I remembered that it was like, I, that was the image that stuck with me, that that was their brother hanging there in the tree.

And that really got to me as a kid. And I remembered in my mind that it was him. In fact, it’s not when, uh, when I watched it again, the second time I was like, Oh yeah, there it is. They, they hung Randy. And in fact they didn’t, which introduces 

Todd: the mystery. Oh, maybe Randy is alive. And then they go back inside against all reason.

Right. And save 

Craig: their brother. Casey wants to save his 

Todd: brother and they, and that’s the point at which Casey really turns around and starts to get brave. 

Craig: Casey, what the hell are you crazy? You can’t go back into that house. We’re going to get out. Okay. Listening to me. 

Todd: Yeah. It’s interesting that it’s at that moment where he’s suddenly concerned for his brother, the same brother that has been basically picking on him and beating him down and teasing him this entire time.

Obviously he still doesn’t want to see him brutally marae by clouds and he gets some guts and he runs inside against Jeffrey’s wishes. Jeffrey’s like, dude, we need to run. Yeah, he’s the practical, he’s the smart one. And they go inside. Sure enough. They find him. I thought he would be dead there too, but apparently he’s still a little 

Craig: alive.

Well, it’s left ambiguous, and I kind of wonder, you know, they, that he falls out and I mean, it’s Sam Rockwell. It’s the actor. It’s not like it’s a dummy or anything. I mean, you can tell the kids alive, but they don’t win. When he falls out. What they say is, I think he’s dead. But then they say, let’s get him to a safe place.

And then Jeffrey pulls him into the din, which is black. He pulls him into this, you know, this darkness and here Jeffrey and a low tone say he’s locked, but then that’s it. We never see Randy again. So, 

Todd: you know, hearing that, it made me wonder if that wasn’t added in post. 

Craig: Yes. It made me wonder that too. And this I, it was killing me the whole time.

I wanted to ask you. Was all of the audio in this movie? 

Todd: I think a lot of it was, Oh, clearly a lot of it was, um, the, the, the part where they’re toward the beginning, where the three of them are walking along just before they see the police cars that was clearly dubbed and they did a decent job of it. But you can tell.

The audio that is clearly recorded in a studio when it’s a lower budget production like this. Cause it’s just a little too clean. Everybody sort of is about the same volume. Whereas if you’d had a mic there and these three kids, they’d be sort of, some would be a little quieter and a little bit louder than others and it wouldn’t be as clean you’re right.

It, it got a little distracting were certainly 

Craig: times where the audio didn’t match up with the video too. You know, somebody would be talking and it wouldn’t match up altogether. Yeah, or there, right. Or there was one time that, uh, Randy and Casey go to this store. That’s where the other guy that we talked about gets murdered eventually.

But, um, there’s one point. This store lady, the lady who’s running the store says something. I don’t think her mouth moved at all.

And there were, you know, And it seemed like it seemed like the three kids, it seemed like the actors who portrayed the kids did their voiceovers too, but I didn’t get that sense necessarily from the other actors. Like the, especially the people in the store. I don’t know that I was convinced that those were those, their voices at all.

It seemed like it was something that got added in post. I’ll be heading out at home then LA go on then night boys. JCL man, slow down. You’re 

Todd: here. You’re probably right. And honestly, that would make sense. A movie with this low budget, so much care was paid to the visuals. You would think that the audio would be as good, but quite frankly, there’s a lot of interesting camera angles.

There’s a lot of movement going on. There’s a lot of no extra noise and stuff that could get in there. Could, they could just ruin that audio or make it difficult for you. Find a good place to break, to put a mic. And so. I wouldn’t doubt if a good majority of the audio was ADR totally 

Craig: after the fact and the video, like you said, there some really interesting, I think there are some really interesting shots, you know, interesting uses of color, really kind of haunting imagery, kind of some interesting, um, like there was one part where, uh, Randy is in the attic and he’s sweet.

He’s changing. Fuse. And when he’s changes the fuse, the light flickers and there’s this strobe effect, and one of the clowns moves quickly across the frame in the background. And, you know, just kind of, that was a little stuff like that 

Todd: brilliant moment. That was very, very cool. 

Craig: And there are moments throughout like that, but there are also moments where the video quality gets a little bit low, you know, Focus sometimes.

Um, so you’re not going to go into this movie and see a cinematic 

Todd: masterpiece. No, but you’re not going to see a total hack job either. I mean, it was well lit and like you said, they were great moments. There was a lot of care done to this movie script wise. I say it’s and I think you agree, it was, it’s very much a paint by numbers kind of story.

Yeah. The, the, the plot is paper thin. It really is. And it’s, again, it’s very predictable up to the point where there’s just some really, there’s some silly laugh out loud silliness in here. Like when they go out to get popcorn and they go, Oh, why don’t we, you go that whole Jones row. 

Craig: And then they pay into old Jones road and it’s this dirt road with a wooden 

Todd: sign, post old Jones.

It’s like, like a signpost that doesn’t exist in any, any city. I don’t care how small it is since 1932. Yeah, absolutely. And, uh, of course I’ve mentioned the country store people and stuff, and being a little too bumpkiny for the, uh, for, for what it really is. And then at one point the kid says, uh, uh, suggest calling the police and he says co-ops are friendly.


Craig: and he keeps it, he keeps saying it over and over and it just doesn’t get any less funny. Eventually he does. He calls on the 

Todd: phone officer friendly and you hear somebody 

Craig: kind of mumbling on the other end. Is this officer friendly? Oh gosh. Yeah, definitely. And some real, some funny lines that I think they were trying to be intentionally funny.

I don’t know if they hit their Mark exactly as much as they wanted to, but, um, when, uh, Casey and Jeff they’ve seen the clowns, the clowns are after them. One of the clowns gets a hold of Jeff and is like throttling him on the ground. Casey grabs a lamp and smashes it over the clown’s head and they get up and they’re running away.

And as they’re running up the stairs, Jeffrey says that was favorite lamp. Casey,

I recreated some silly stuff like that the whole time. Uh, you know, a lot of the lines are a little bit corny like that. I don’t know for me, maybe it’s nostalgia. Uh, it’s. It’s a little bit precious to me. 

Todd: Sure. How about when the clown? I can’t remember which, which of the brothers he has, but I think it’s even CISO has got a hold of one of the brothers.

And it was either Jeffrey or it was a Casey who grabs a frying pan, like a literal, like cast iron frying pan hits the clamp on the head twice clown routine, you know, and, and that was, it was, uh, a Testament actually to the w it was a rare moment of subtlety where that was a joke, but they didn’t make it a huge joke.

You know, they just kind of threw that out. That was kind of funny. 

Craig: Well, you said about the script, the script was written by Victor salvage, who was also the director. This was his second feature. The other, uh, film that he had done was called something in the basement. And actually there’s in Casey’s room.

There’s a poster for something in the basement, um, which I’ve never seen. I don’t even know if it’s available on video. I think it was, you know, some real low budget deal, but Victor salvo went on to do some big stuff. I mean, he, uh, his big. Come back and I’ll explain why I had to come back in a second, but it’s come back with powder.

Oh yeah. And then he also directed the both jeepers creepers films and wrote those as well. Uh, which, you know, you haven’t seen the jeepers. I have not. I’ve heard good things about, well, the first one’s really good. The second one’s a, uh, a decent, solid sequel. But Salba had to take a break. And, you know, we were talking earlier about how these boys, um, you know, modesty is not an issue for them.

The three boys, you know, were in the bathroom together. The one is in the bathtub, the other’s kind of drying off. Right? 

Todd: Well, in earlier there was a whole bit of deal of him peeing himself. And the kids are walking around in their underwear quite a bit, and he’s like changing and he’s pulling up and you see his bare button, 

Craig: all.

Ha. Okay. Now we’ll, we’ll bring it to a, uh, a downer. I wanted to get through the fun talk first after the movie was wrapped, it was discovered that Salba had been molesting the young actor who played Casey through your production. Are you kidding me? No, in fact, uh, it, it, it gives me the willies, just even say it out loud, but, uh, salvia, videotaped himself, performing a sex act on the kid.

Um, And it came to light. I think that the, the actor eventually told his parents and, uh, salver um, was tried and convicted and did time in prison, um, for this. Whoa. So I didn’t, I asked Todd not to read anything about this movie before we watched it, because I, I just knew that going in knowing that would leave a bad taste.

In one’s mouth. So yeah, you know, this is something, uh, yeah, I, uh, I teach, uh, literature and this is something that we were just talking about in, in my AP lit class, uh, heart of darkness, um, you know, a classic piece of literature, but it’s been criticized a lot because of its racist portrayal of native Africans.

And some have suggested that because of that, it shouldn’t be taught now that that made me think about this movie. Because I guess my question is kind of a philosophical question for a horror movie podcast, but, you know, does that, you know, what, what impact does that have? I mean, can we still appreciate the movie for Liz without consideration of the ugliness behind 

Todd: it?

And that’s a good question. I mean, Art ideally would stand apart from the artist wouldn’t that most artists want its art to speak for itself. Uh, and even when you know, teaching literature, you have the whole concept and literature of the unreliable Marriott, right. Even though the person telling the story is ostensibly the person writing the story.

That is actually not the person writing the story, the views of the narrator, the views expressed in a story, know where a story goes and what it portrays. Does not at all necessarily reflect the views of the person doing it. They’re putting a piece out there. 

Craig: You can’t make that assumption. And that’s kind of how I feel about literature.

And it’s kind, kinda how I feel about this film. I’m sure that this was, you know, a terrible, uh, trauma for this young actor. And I, I don’t think that he did anything else after this. And so that’s, that’s, that’s sad and I don’t want to downplay that in any way, but yeah. You know, if you don’t know that, or if you can just kind of, uh, appreciate the movie for what it is, salvia did his time, you know, and, and he came back and, uh, he’s had a pretty successful career since then.

I don’t know. It’s just, uh, an interesting bit of context. And now do you see now, I didn’t want you to know going in, 

Todd: you know, it does color it. I mean, it just colors you, it’s hard to get that out of your head. You know, don’t think of a white elephant, you know, good luck with that, but yeah. It is hard to get that out of your head, especially just seeing that the whole movie.

And he, I think he wrote it to today. He wrote it. He edited, I mean, the movie, it was clearly a passion project for him focusing on these three young boys, um, a very good portrayal of three young boys, but then it’s especially sad to think that the one that even in the story is so troubled and tormented and you spend most of the movie watching this kid with this troubled tormented, look on your face.

Craig: Well, and this actor has, he has a youthfulness about him that I think is even, I think that chronologically he’s older than he seems. Um, he seems very kind of vulnerable and innocent and you know, I, I maybe, maybe that’s acting, I don’t know. It makes you wonder. Wow. 

Todd: Well, thank you, Craig. 

Craig: That’s why I saved it for the, 

Todd: Oh, what else do I say now?

Right. I 

Craig: wanted to make everybody listen to the whole thing before we got to the troubling part, but really, 

Todd: I mean, let’s laugh more better, officer friendly. 

Craig: And, and I know that there are people out there who will not see this movie just for that reason. And I, I respect that. I understand it. Um, of course I didn’t know anything about it when I first saw it.

I don’t know if it would have changed anything if I had, but, uh, you know, if you’re a horse enthusiast, this is. It’s an obscure movie. Had you ever heard of it before? 

Todd: I’d never heard of it. No, I 

Craig: don’t think a lot people have. And funnily enough, you know, I was reading on IMD. IFDB a lot of people have the same experience that I did.

They saw it randomly when they were kids. It terrified them. They sought it out as adults. You know, if you look at the comment boards, uh, on IMDV, um, you’ll see, you know, the, the topic threads will be, this is the scariest movie I’ve ever seen in my life. It had some impact on some people. If, if. You’re interested in seeing something that’s a little bit more obscure and maybe a little hard to 

Todd: find.

No, we said it’s, it seems to be somewhat geared towards kids if you were not as jaded, I guess, as we are, if you haven’t seen as many horror films as I have, and we’re seeing this for the first time and you still get kind of freaked out by those moments of, you know, the jump scares and the people looking in the windows and stuff.

I think you would find this movie pretty scary. Yeah. 

Craig: I think, you know, we sat here and watched cause we take notes and whatnot. We’re sitting here watching it in a well lit room. I think if you turn off the lights and snuggle up with somebody and you go in with that attitude, that that’s what you’re looking for.

You want fun scares? I think you’ll get it. I think you’ll be satisfied 

Todd: here. We should get a couple lamps in here. Shouldn’t we? Maybe one last thing I did want to mention is that I think there is a sort of. When you read a script, you can often get a different impression of the, of the film or the play or whatever.

Then when you watch the end product and sometimes. A film can sort of transcend a scrappy script because of the acting and things like that. And sometimes the reverse happens. You see a film that’s clearly kind of low budget clearly by numbers, but you get this sense that behind it, inside that script, even if it never came out on screen, there was a certain level of thought, a certain level of philosophy and a certain care that was put into it that.

Sadly is going to be lost to us because we didn’t show through in the final product. And sometimes it’s just pure pretentiousness. And sometimes I think it is, uh, it isn’t. And in this particular case, I was a little taken by the fact that the movie started with this quote and it ended with a quote and it about fear.

And then there were a couple interesting lines in the film. The film, the line that you referenced earlier, where the kid is outside crying. And it’s a pretty important moment. It’s a real, it’s a movie. It’s a moment that the movie really focuses in on and he talks about why he’s afraid of clowns. And he says, well, they’re fake.

You know, they’re big, happy smiles painted faces, but you never know. What’s really inside. That’s a really profound statement for a film like this. It is. And 

Craig: you know, when the film ends somewhat dramatically, I guess, I mean, it’s left on kind of, it’s not left really on a light note. I mean, you don’t know what happened to Randy and Jeffrey and Casey appear to be out of danger.

You know, they’ve killed the clowns, but you know, that’s it Jeffrey kind of rescues, uh, Casey, and then it just pans out to them outside of the house. And we get another quote. Did you write that 

Todd: one? I did. It said the quote is, and it’s not attributed to anybody. So, you know, who knows where it came from or if they just made it up, but it said, no man can hide from his fears as they are a part of him.

They’ll always know where he’s hiding 

Craig: and you know, it’s kind of a silly movie, but it, it seemed fitting. It didn’t seem like they were trying to knock you over the head with some kind of moral. It was more just kind of this general statement that I think. Most of us can probably agree with. 

Todd: Yeah. And it fits in with the theme.

You know, the clowns are putting on the masks. It’s not just being afraid of our fears, but it’s also, you know, talking about hiding from our fears and that we put on these masks to hide from our fears. And maybe that I think is what the kid has sort of positing is maybe that’s what clowns do. These people are people like you and me and they’re afraid, but they put on this happy face.

In order to protect themselves from that in order to sort of shield that to the world yet you can’t escape those fears because they’re a part of you and they’ll always seek you out, which is sort of, again, that then invasion part of the movie. And then I guess now, knowing what you told me, Piling another sort of layer on top of that, knowing a little bit now about the background of, uh, the director, probably not being who he said he would 

Craig: be and who clearly is battling inner demons of his own.


Todd: It really throws a very interesting twist on this, knowing that he wrote the script and probably put those words in the mouth of the boy and on the screen a before and after. Wow. 

Craig: Yup, but it’s a bet. You didn’t expect it to get that deep. 

Todd: Did Jen? I sure did. Well, 1989, check it out. It is a movie we’re seeing, I think, uh, thank you so much for listening to us.

Another podcast. If you enjoyed what you heard today, please share this podcast with a friend. Check out our Facebook page, like us there, or go to our podcast and check out our many other episodes and, and further episodes to come once again. This is Todd and I’m Craig, and this is Two Guys and a Chainsaw.

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