Nathan Winter

Clownhouse (1989) - Victor Salva

I for one am kind of afraid of clowns. At least I used to be. This movie would have scared the crap out of me back in '89. It still did a good job today. It wasn't spectacular but it did the job. My friends Grandmother had a series of pictures in her house that were about 10.5 x 13. The pictures were half mirror and half picture of a Norman Rockwell type clown's face. They were terrifying. At night, you would just see clown faces floating in the hallway. It was really disturbing. This movie was kinda like that.

The film is about an escaped group of disturbed mental patients that murder an entire circus. Assume the identity of a group of clowns. Then proceed to terrorize the one kid that is deathly afraid of all the clowns, and his brothers. The clowns actually seek to murder these boys that are staying alone in a really big house. It is an Old Dark House film that uses the clown style really well.

Sam Rockwell, Nathan Winters, and Brian McHugh had a really good amount of screen time. It helped develop their characters really well. Everything happened so naturally and nothing seemed forced. If your going to make a B-Movie at least make it a good one. The film is really practical, in that the murders and plot all practically move forward at a believable pace. It is a good example of a scary flick that needs very little blood.

The film has a strange overtone knowing about the disturbing acts that took place on set. However, I am trying to review this movie strictly from a unbiased standpoint. It is a shame that what happened, happened. But this is still a horror movie and I need to treat it as such. That being out of the way. This movie was really scary. It was surprising really.

Clownhouse is a unique movie. It feels like an episode of Goosebumps that went a bit far. It doesn't have that much blood. It's actually pretty tame. But damn is it scary. It's funny it attempts to almost explain itself with an odd little thing at the end that says;

"No man can hide from his fears; as they are a part of him, they will always know where he is hiding."

I always thought it was convenient that the psychopaths knew where to find Casey. The boy thought he was safe with his brothers but the clowns knew just where to find him.

I recommend this movie to those that want to watch it. Without the controversy we have a really good movie on our hands. Think of it like that when your watching it and I guarantee that you will have a good time. Or you'll be scared. It depends on your level of fear based in the clown horror genre.


Victor Salva




Clown Slasher Horror

Did ya know...

The film was released on VHS and Laserdisc in 1990, and on DVD in 2004. This was Sam Rockwell's first film. On the door to one of the older brothers bedroom is a poster for Something in the Basement (1986), the first film/short by Victor Salva, which also starred Nathan Forrest Winters and Brian McHugh.