‘Killing Giggles’: It’s a mad, mad, mad ones world
At Mad Ones Films, they’re not clowning around.
Well … OK, maybe they are.
But they’re also knocking ‘em dead. Clowns, that is.
Hot on the heels of the blockbuster Stephen King adaptation It, but seasoned with the manic merriment and cinematic creativity of filmmaker Jaysen P. Buterin & Company, Killing Giggles is the short-film precursor to Buterin’s maiden feature, Kill Giggles, which is currently in pre-production.
The teaser trailer for Killing Giggles can now be viewed on YouTube (by searching “Killing Giggles proof of concept teaser trailer”), and the actual short will have its world premiere at the MystiCon Independent Film Festival in Roanoke, Virginia, in February.
The film stars Michael Ray Williams (a long-time Buterin friend) in the pivotal role Tommy dos Santos, your basic psychopathic serial killer with a vicious vendetta against clowns. In this case, clowns aren’t the monsters, they’re the victims – and Tommy won’t stop slashing, sawing, or slaying until he confronts the mysterious clown king known as “Giggles.” As the Mad Ones Films press release notes, “While all the world may love a clown, no one ever said it had to be alive.”
According to a promotional video, (that he made with editor/cinematographer/producer Jesse H. Knight) “I’ve been terrified of clowns for many, many moons now,” Buterin admits.
It wasn’t so much Stephen King’s best-seller It – “although the literary incarnation of Pennywise was very scary to me” – or the 1990 mini-series, or this year’s blockbuster feature (to which the sequel will be released in 2019). It wasn’t Insane Clown Posse, it wasn’t the 1988 cult classic Killer Klowns from Outer Space (which Buterin has never seen), and it certainly wasn’t the 1992 schlock shocker Dr. Giggles, which failed miserably in trying to launch another horror franchise.
No, it was the clown marionette that terrorized young Oliver Robins in the 1982 blockbuster Poltergeist. “That unhinged me,” he said. “Everything became unglued – including myself. I blame it all on Poltergeist.”
Buterin counts Psycho (1960), The Exorcist (1973) and Halloween (1978) as his favorite horror films and fans will no doubt remember that Michael Myers (Will Sandin) was dressed as a clown when he killed his sister in the opening sequence of Halloween.
Given the worldwide rash of clown sightings that preceded the release of the big-screen It by remarkable (and perfectly timed) coincidence, it’s clear that clowns are on people’s minds, “and I’ll completely cash in on that,” Buterin quips.
Now, being the auteur behind such popular short films as A Killer Christmas Carol (2011), Between Hell and a Hard Place (2014), and the three-part The Gospel According to Booze, Bullets & Hot Pink Jesus series, it’s safe to assume Buterin will bring his irreverent sensibilities to the project.
“It’s an entire movie about killing clowns, so most certainly!” he confirms. “As an ill-advised, self-administered dose of psychotherapy to get over my own fear of clowns, there’s little loony bits of me dripping down all the walls. Just the opening first few minutes alone is one of the weirdest things I have written, as I’m not sure ‘kinky kooky clown sex scene’ should ever be on any screenwriter’s bucket list – but there it is, and oh, does it shine on screen!”
The Killing Giggles short was filmed in Winston-Salem in May. “It was really important to deliver an accurate sense of what we’re planning to accomplish, which can be difficult when we haven’t actually filmed anything yet,” Buterin said. “We were lucky to have the same cast and much of the same crew for the short film as we will for the feature, so what was captured on film turned out absolutely bloody brilliant. I think it’s going to give festival audiences an off-the-wall horror hint of the movie magic to come, and hopefully, leave them wanting more. I am beyond incredibly pleased with Killing Giggles and I cannot wait to get the chance to do it all over again on a much bigger, better and bloodier scale!”
To that end, Buterin is throwing everything he’s got into Kill Giggles, including “quasi-biographical” characters, events and bits of dialogue he’s experienced or said. Along with “light-hearted levity,”mayhem and murder, Hitchcock homages, a clown death montage and, with the grace of the film gods, a celebrity cameo or two.
“Shockingly enough, the graphic nudity and profanity aren’t anywhere near as rampant as it maybe should for a horror movie,” he said. “I’ve certainly strayed a bit from the topless taco-bar roots of my Hot Pink Jesus days, but I think Kill Giggles is going to excite, delight, and probably perplex the hell out of some people.”
For all the gory details, visit www.madonesfilms.com/ or visit the official Facebook page: www.facebook.com/SendInTheClownsToDie.
See Mark Burger’s reviews of current movies on Burgervideo.com. © 2017, Mark Burger.