When I heard Full Moon was launching a fund-raising program to make another KILLJOY film, I almost jumped out of seat and clapped. I love the crazy demonic clown and his demented entourage of misfits, and I couldn’t wait to see what kind of mayhem he could drum up next. But then I found out John Lechago was behind the camera again, and I almost broke into full-blown applause. Lechago is a heck of a director, and I’ve greatly enjoyed several of his films, including BIO SLIME, and both of his entries in the KILLJOY franchise (KILLJOY 3 and KILLJOY GOES TO HELL). This new installment, KILLJOY’S PSYCHO CIRCUS, appeared to follow right along with the previous titles in the series, so I expected great things. The fine folks at Full Moon were kind enough to provide me with a review copy of the film, so with great enthusiasm, I sat down to give it a look.
Interestingly, KILLJOY’S PSYCHO CIRCUS is not nearly as good as its predecessors. It’s not a bad film per se, however it lacks the spark that KILLJOY 3 and KILLJOY GOES TO HELL had. I have a theory as to why, which I’ll explain below. But even so, this installment is definitely worth watching, and I will be interested to see where the franchise goes from here.
If you are not familiar with KILLJOY’S PSYCHO CIRCUS, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Full Moon Features:
Your favorite Demon Clown KILLJOY (Trent Haaga) is BACK! Along with his gruesome crew BATTY BOOP (Victoria De Mare), PUNCHY The Hobo Clown (Al Burke), Freakshow (Tai Chan Ngo) and new sidekick HANDY (Tim Chizmar) – they are out of HELL to terrorize Earthly mortals… Killjoy, the demon clown and his gruesome crew – Batty Boop, Punchy and Freakshow have finally made it to Earth! Killjoy has settled in and is starring in his own web series called PSYCHO CIRCUS. But two years down the road, Killjoy discovers that life here on Earth is a drag – filled with inconveniences such as eating, breathing, taxes, immigration and mortal sex! More problems arise as Killjoy’s love interest Batty Boop leaves after a bitter lover’s quarrel, not to mention that Killjoy is now semi-mortal! But the challenges of being famous are nothing compared to the challenges of staying alive. After being tried for letting Killjoy escape, BEELZEBUB can only redeem himself by trapping Killjoy’s spirit and bringing it back to Hell. Killjoy must find a way to unite his gang of clowns to defeat Beelzebub and his Six-Psychos! It all comes together in an EPIC space-battle in KILLJOY’S PSYCHO CIRCUS!
It pains me a bit to write this review because I’m such a huge fan of Full Moon and 99% of their films. Even though this is not a negative review, I find myself down because I cannot fully rave about the movie. Instead, I have to give it a lukewarm write-up instead of a red hot, fiery one.
As mentioned, KILLJOY’S PSYCHO CIRCUS looks good from a production standpoint. The camerawork is crisp, the sets are interesting, and the special effects are fairly tight, particularly the make-up. I love Killjoy’s clown make-up. It is unnerving on several levels, and even more so when he is cracking jokes while butchering someone.
The acting is again great as well, with Trent Haaga reprising his role as the titular psychotic jester. Haaga is perfect as Killjoy, and I love his onscreen presence with the character. He is joined once more by the familiar cast of regulars, including the beautiful and talented Victoria De Mare; Al Burke as Punchy the Hobo Clown; Tai Chan Ngo as Freakshow the Mime; and Stephen F. Cardwell as Beelzebub.
But the plot in KILLJOY’S PSYCHO CIRCUS is where a couple of issues enter. First, Killjoy is emasculated in this film, which is out of character to me. I get the fact he’s been on Earth for three years, which has therefore sorta turned him into a wuss…but I feel like Killjoy never really would have let his new environment sap his desire for carnage and mayhem.
Similarly, his online show is called “Psycho Circus”, but there’s really not much psychotic going on. It’s very tame compared to what I would have thought (even if they do electrocute a guy onscreen). Also, the whole deal with spaceships took me out of the story. That made the plot a bit too hokey for me to enjoy completely.
But still, even with these slight misgivings aside, KILLJOY’S PSYCHO CIRCUS is still fun. Granted, it’s not as entertaining as its two most recent forerunners, but it’s definitely worth the look nonetheless. The film is available now in a couple of formats.