Monday, November 30, 2009

Issue #2: Purvos (2004)

For those just joining us, this is the 2nd installment of Spawn of Bozo, in which I review a creepy clown film. Why? Because creepy clowns are awesome!

You know how the pictures on the packaging for frozen dinners look nothing like the stuff inside the box? The picture shows a delicious plate of shrimp primavera, but what you get is two tiny bay shrimp, six pounds of red peppers and snow peas, and a little packet of ick to pour over it.

Take a look at the DVD art for Purvos. Cool, right? This is a movie you can't wait to watch. Well, if you're into creepy clown films, and I am.

Not so fast. Despite his enticing exterior, Purvos is like that cute guy you dated who turned out to be a total loser with no job and bad personal hygiene. Also, stupid. With a hairy back.

I'm tempted not to even waste a column on this puddle of ooblek. But I watched it, so not trashing it would make me feel that it won the battle, and I can't have that

Here's the plot in a nutshell. "Purvos" is really Uncle Max, who was raised by some circus freakshows whose hobbies were incest and cannibalism and generally being unpleasant. His father was apparently a clown. Now Uncle Max is a loon who giggles all the time and slaughters prostitutes in their bathtubs because his dead mother tells him too. All while dressed like a clown. Sort of. More on that later.

That's how the movie starts, with a prostitute in a bathtub. She's apparently made a date with Uncle Max and is expecting him at any moment. Why is she letting him come to her house? I'll tell you why. Actually, I'll let her tell you why. This is what she says to the friend she's talking to on the phone while getting her bath ready: "He said he wanted to meet me in some motel, but I told him that would not do. He can meet me here just like a real person would. After all, I'm not some crack whore spreading her legs for twenty bucks."

Nobody puts Baby in a corner. But Purvos does slit her throat in the tub. He also kills a dominatrix not long after.

But killing hookers isn't really much of a plot, so the writers decided to throw in a lot of nonsense about researchers at a sleep deprivation clinic where women are dreaming about being murdered by clowns. I think. Anyway, one of the researchers is a homely woman (Stacy) with regrettable hair who is writing a book about -- oh, it doesn't matter.

What does matter is that the other doctor at the clinic tells Stacy he has the perfect candidate for her to write about. There's just one tiny problem, the candidate is Stacy's ex-lover! And she's a she! And it all ended badly because somebody was married and it was a total movie of the week starring Meredith Baxter-Burney and Bruce Boxleitner situation.

So now we have some angst-ridden lesbians who are still in love with one another. (We know this because they make out.) Oh, I should also mention that the ex-lover, Kathy, happens to be Uncle Max's step-niece and last living relative. And he wants to kill her. I don't know why, because she's not a prostitute, but there you go.

Kathy has one great line in the film (although not the greatest, which I've saved for later). Discussing Uncle Max with Stacy, she says, "He's my uncle but, God, he creeps me out on the phone." We've all been there, Kathy. You're not alone.

Wait. I forgot something. Before this all happened Stacy called a former professor of hers, a crazy old guy into vampires and UFOs and that kind of thing. His name is Professor Jessup. The actor who plays him is named Conrad Brooks. Why do I mention this? Because Conrad Brooks has been in some of the greatest B movies of all time, including Ed Wood's Glen or Glenda and Plan 9 from Outer Space. That's him with Vampira in the photo on the right.

I'm sure the filmmakers thought it would be great to have an icon of schlock in their little movie. You know, as an in-joke and to give it some cachet. But no matter how many pink bows you put on an ugly baby, it's still an ugly baby.

Anyway, back to Professor Jessup. Stacy asks him if he'll help her out. How? By looking up everything he can find on--and I quote--"unsolved mysteries involving women and peculiar circumstances."

Way to narrow it down, Stacy.

Okay, so eventually Stacy gets the bright idea to lure Uncle Max to an underground parking garage so they can kill him or capture him or I don't know what. Only when he shows up (dressed as Purvos) he manages to disarm her by basically tapping her on the shoulder and making her drop the gun. Then ensues the world's slowest chase ever through the garage and up a stairwell, where the women pause at every landing to wait for Purvos to catch up, because that's apparently what you do when a psychotic giggling clown is chasing you.

The ending is as boring as the rest of the film. Purvos corners Stacy and Kathy. A knife is produced. Kathy screams. Stacy gets the gun that Purvos has dropped and bang, it's all over.

Only it's not. Do you know the rule of theater they call Chekov's gun? It says, "If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don't put it there."

The director of Purvos apparently reads Chekov, because he totally does that. Throughout the film there's been this humpy security guard (played by Jacob Ennis) who wears sunglasses and shorts and lets the doctors in and out of the sleep clinic. You kind of wonder why he's there, as he never really does anything. Well, now he's put to use.

See, the people who fund Stacy's research are none too thrilled with her killing a psychotic clown on their dime, so they pull the plug on her. As the film ends the other doctor is packing up the office. (Stacy apparently has had a nervous breakdown or become a roadie for Lilith Fair or something.) One of the things he packs is the mask Purvos wore. He hands the box to Mr. Humpy and tells him to get rid of it.

Only he doesn't. Instead he takes it to Professor Jessup, who apparently has paid him for it. The old guy picks the mask up and begins laughing hysterically. No, I don't know why. Maybe he's supposed to be Purvos's dad. Maybe he has a clown fetish. Does it matter?

Now that I think of it, Professor Jessup is kind of a Chekov's gun too. Maybe this film is deeper than I thought.

No, it isn't. And you know what the absolute worst thing about it is? PURVOS ISN'T EVEN A CLOWN. I know you've been wondering why there haven't been any pictures of Purvos. I didn't want to say anything before because I didn't want you to be disappointed, but he is so not a clown. His mask is a big rubber skeleton head with a couple of black lines spray-painted on it. They try to fool you with this lame costume made out of a sheet with some red duct tape trim on it, but he's not a clown.

I know. Rude. It's an insult to creepy clowns everywhere. Don't worry. I've written a letter. (By the way, I totally snagged this picture from director/writer Jerry Williams's Facebook page, so keep it to yourself.)

There is one good thing about Purvos,and that's the soundtrack. I'm not kidding. The theme song is called "MoFo." It's by the band OEdipus Rex (yes, they capitalize the OE and yes, that's dumb) and it's completely brilliant in a sleazy bar filled with drunk, horny rednecks kind of way. They contribute a couple of other equally entertaining songs, some of which you can listen to here. Should you want the whole album you can get it for $15, which is about three times what you'll pay for the DVD itself on ebay.

Other than that, there's nothing here you need to see. See the pain I spare you?

You're welcome.

Favorite line: "Pretending to be your mama is freaky, freaky, freaky!"

Rating (out of 5):