Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Killjoy (USA, 2000)

(Spoilers) What a killjoy. Some guy named Michael (Jamal Grimes) really likes his classmate babe named Jada (Vera Yell), but she’s got a gang-banging (and sorta sexy) boyfriend named Lorenzo (William L. Johnson) who doesn’t like old four-eyes invading his personal space. Lorenzo and his buds T-bone and Baby Boy eventually off Michael some night, but not before Michael does what every studious ghetto chil’ does when in need of protection: perform (a seemingly unsuccessful) attempt to raise a demon clown from hell named Killjoy (Ángel Vargas). A year later, Jada has broken up with Lorenzo and is now doing sex ed. homework with some cute dude named Jamal (Lee Marks). (At this point, we knows that Jada is the good girl of the film ‘cause she never gets neked for any of their under-the-cover sex scenes.) While Lorenzo is off getting laid, Killjoy the clown shows up in a decrepit ice cream truck. When a highly stoned T-bone (Corey Hampton) and Baby Boy (Rani Goulant) get into the truck, they are magically transferred to a large and filthy downtown artist’s space and promptly and unspectacularly killed. Before Lorenzo bites the dust in much the same way, the best scene of the whole movie occurs: the bitch he done porked takes a shower and, hey! She got the tits! She got the bod!
Once Lorenzo is done gone, Killjoy’s aim starts getting indiscriminate, but then some bum (Arthur Burghardt) pops up to tell Jada, Jamal and their friend Monique (Dee Dee Austin) all about Killjoy. Before they can say “we gonna die,” all three are transported off to Killjoy’s domain where they learn that Killjoy is actually (sorta) Michael possessed. Everyone runs around too much and the film starts getting real boring but then Michael and Killjoy get destroyed. The heroes would have lived happily ever after if the film didn’t have that predictable, never-lacking final scene needed to lead into a sequel should the film be a hit. This time around, the “twist second ending” scene is of Jada and Jamal in the sheets and partially dressed refining their sex ed. homework. Jamal goes under the covers to taste the taco, but a cackling Killjoy then pops up in his place to laugh and drool on Jada’s screaming face. (This direct to video celluloid turd obviously did well enough, for 2002 did indeed see Killjoy 2: Deliverance from Evil.)
Yo! It is easy to imagine what the producers told the scriptwriter of this film: “Give us some sort of inner-city Freddy rip-off that we can maybe turn into a franchise.” As for Carl Washington, the scriptwriter, he probably saw Stephan King’s IT on television the week before and was suddenly was hit with the truly creative inspiration of taking Pennywise out of Bangor, Maine and into gang-banging Compton with the new name of Killjoy. An aptly named film, to say the least.
Lacking tension, suspense or any real gore, Killjoy is a low-budget body count flick that for a change (but as can be expected of an inner-city exploitation flick) features (mostly) African Americans being bumped off instead of rich and socially advantaged white folks. The concept of an ethnic body count movie is in itself not new but is always a rather nice change of pace, but this turkey is definitely not a high point of the genre.
Killjoy is one of those types of films in which characters suddenly know life-saving information without being told, such as the magic “don’t break the circle.” Likewise, they are just as probable, within a five-minute span of time, to say both “we gotta stick together” and, after they get transported into Killjoy’s personal domain, “we gotta split up to find him.” In itself all this could be overlooked and forgiven if Killjoy were at least well-made, suspenseful or gory, but it isn’t, so jack-shit can be forgiven. About the only reason to rent this film is out of political correctness: we gotta keep them poor ghetto actor kids working and off the streets, so any money spent on the film’s rental or purchase can be seen as going for a good cause, right? So, if you ain’t gonna do any of your social duties like, say, eventually voting the Republicans out of the White House, then rent this movie and feel all warm and fuzzy inside cause you know you are helping our put-upon brothers advance economically! (Fat chance, actually, seeing that Charles Band has his fingers in the pie here.)

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