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Film / Clown

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Clown is a 2014 horror film (released in the US in 2016), produced by Eli Roth and the Weinstein brothers. It is directed and co-written by Jon Watts, who would go on to direct the MCU Spider-Man Trilogy.

Loving father Kent McCoy (Andy Powers) dresses as a clown for his son Jack's birthday, only to discover he can't remove the costume, which slowly begins turning him into a cannibalistic Monster Clown. His wife, Meg (Laura Allen), is caught between her desire to help Kent return to normal and her desire to protect Jack from him. She is aided by the only person who knows the history of the costume, a creepy guy named Herbert Karlsson (Peter Stormare), whom she must simultaneously try to prevent from killing her husband.

The film originally began life as a fake proof-of-concept trailer posted to Youtube by Jon Watts and Christopher Ford, with Eli Roth's name attached as a joke. Roth, impressed by the story idea, bought the rights to the project, bringing Watts and Ford with him.

No relation to the 2010 Danish comedy film Klown.

Clown provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Alien Blood: When Kent tries to shoot himself, he splatters rainbow-colored blood all over the wall behind him, signifying the cloyne's growing hold over him.
  • Alliterative Name: Cloyne the clown is the movie's main antagonist.
  • Asshole Victim: Colton. He well and truly had it coming after bullying Jack at school.
  • Becoming the Mask: Literally, as in the mask turns the wearer into a monster.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The only way for Kent to return to normal is for him to devour five children. Before he can finish off the fifth child, which turns out to be his own son, Meg decapitates him, killing the demon but also Kent in the process. And since the clown costume can't be destroyed, it's last seen being locked up as evidence by the police, meaning there's still a chance, however small, that someone else could put it on.
  • Body Horror:
    • The clown costume causes Kent to transform into a monster.
    • When Kent starts eating children, he leaves behind body parts.
  • Brick Joke: A very dark one. After Meg pulls off Kent's clown nose, it is flung across the room and eaten by the family dog. The dog starts acting agitated and sick throughout the rest of the movie, but it's largely in the background, even as Herbert mentions that even a small part of the costume carries the curse and Jack speculates that the dog might be sick because it ate the nose. In the last half of the movie, the dog gets fully possessed by the Cloyne and attacks Meg, forcing Herbert to cut off its head.
  • Child Eater: The monster into which Kent transforms is a "Cloyne," an ancient folkloric creature that must eat five children each year.
  • Clingy Costume: Kent tries multiple times to remove the clown suit he found in an old trunk, but it won't come off.
  • Clothes Make the Maniac: The Clown suit is cursed and turns the fatherly Kent into a psychopathic killer.
  • Clownification: The basic premise of the movie.
  • Decapitation Required: Karlsson says this is the only way to kill a cloyne.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Kent is the main focus of the first half of the movie, but then it shifts to Meg for the rest.
  • Demonic Possession: Wearing the hair and skin of the cloyne demon allows it to possess the wearer.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: What happens when the kid you bullied has a Papa Wolf who has recently turned into a child-eating monster.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: The Cloyne's voice is demonically guttural and snarling.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Greg's brother saves Greg from being killed by Cloyne, but in the process is eaten alive himself.
  • Heroic Suicide: Intended but never implemented. Kent tries to kill himself a couple of times to stop himself from killing children. (He fails).
  • Horror Hunger: As Kent's transformation progresses, he begins to crave the flesh of children uncontrollably.
  • Humiliation Conga: Kent before the transformation, though this is the least of his problems. Meg makes him drive Jack to school and the kids at school see him in the clown costume, then he has to go to work in the costume. And then the hospital doctor he sees assumes that his regular job is being a party clown instead of a real estate agent.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Meg even tearfully says "I know you're still in there". Sadly, it doesn't work.
  • I Lied: The Cloyne, now in full possession of Kent's body, offers to spare Jack if Meg brings him another child. However we find out he was already planning on eating Jack from the start, and that was just an excuse to distract Meg from saving her son.
  • Mama Bear: Meg to Jack.
  • Monster Clown: The entire point of the movie.
  • Off with His Head!: Karlsson attempts this on Kent for putting on the clown costume. Meg then has to do so to finally kill him off.
  • One-Word Title: Clown.
  • Our Cryptids Are More Mysterious: Karlsson provides some history on "cloynes," reclusive northern European monsters which he says were the original basis for clowns, but much creepier than their modern, non-ironic counterparts.
  • Product Placement: Chuck E. Cheese's, but not in a very complimentary way.
  • Resist the Beast: Kent starts out denying anything is happening to him, but once he realizes the truth, he tries to stay away from anyone he might hurt, before the beast within has completely taken over.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: At first it seemed Greg was this but instead his brother becomes so.
  • Sadist: The Cloyne is this. While it's never stated if eating children it's something he has to do for his own survival, the cruelty and joy he takes in doing it shows that he also likes what he does.
  • Sadistic Choice: Let the Child Eater have your own kid, or sacrifice an innocent random kid as a substitute?
    • Also, you have two ways to get rid of the Cloyne's possession: either you kill yourself or bring to the monster one child for each month of winter.
    • The Cloyne blackmails Meg saying she must bring him a child to eat so that he will release Kent.
  • Scary Teeth: The Cloyne has long sharp teeth, especially in its final form.
  • Slasher Smile: Kent shows one when fully possessed by the Cloyne.
  • Spring-Loaded Corpse: In the end, Meg thinks the monster is dead, but his head isn't completely detached from his spine, so of course there's time for one last Jump Scare.
  • Staking the Loved One: Or in this case decapitating him, as Meg is reluctant to do, right up until the final Last-Second Chance fails.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Regardless of whether or not he knew, the fact the Hotel kid still constantly approached Kent despite the obvious behavior and such is fury-inducing. Not helped as well that he caused his own death by getting the keys to Kent's hotel room and getting killed by the sawblade.
  • Tragic Monster: Kent becomes this, and the tragedy is apparent to him until the change is complete; it remains tragic for his wife and son even once Kent ceases to care.
  • Warm Bloodbags Are Everywhere: Not only is Kent the father of a young boy, but children seem to be actively attracted to him wherever he goes, no matter how messed-up of a clown he seems to be. He hides in the woods, a Boy Scout troop is camping nearby. He tries to hide in a rest-stop toilet, and a school bus pulls up for a potty break. Poor guy just can't catch a break and is trying his damndest to not resort to murder.
  • What Happened to Mommy?: Or in this case, Daddy; it takes Jack longer than Meg to realize what's happening to his father, but he gets there, eventually.
  • Would Hurt a Child: And HOW.
    • In the last third Kent starts eating children at a Chuck E. Cheese's. Also, Meg near the end when she realizes that Kent wants to eat their son.