Killer Klowns Kotton Kandy Ice Cream

Sometime during my childhood, probably sometime around the peak of Joe Bob Brigg’s Monstervision, I remember catching a movie late one night featuring cartoonish yet malicious clowns that turned people into cotton candy and sucked the insides up through crazy straws.  I would later discover this film, in its entirety, to be Killer Klowns From Outer Space.  It’s one of those drive-in B movies that’s so bad it’s amazing.  Deaths by shadow puppets, popcorn kernels that morph into monstrosities, tracker balloon animal dogs, and any other twisted clown trope you could imagine in bright candy colors.  Right up the alley of something that would grace the space of Monstervision on TNT.  While I’d long forgotten most of the antics, the imagery of the cotton candy corpses never left me and I revisited the film recently, sparked by reading the news of International Clown Week.

killer klowns

killer klowns ice cream

Also last week began a seven day streak of high temperatures reaching over 100F, and this in conjunction with Houston’s notorious humidity has marked an uncomfortable summer.  Ridiculous heat and coulrophobia spoke to my muse, I suppose, because I was inspired to recreate those cotton candy pods..just in a cooler format.

I don’t have an ice creamer maker, and frankly don’t want to purchase one.  So instead I concocted a super fast no churn recipe that uses only four ingredients.

Killer Klowns Kotton Kandy No Churn Ice Cream

-1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

-1 Tablespoon cotton candy flavoring (I used Lorann’s, which can be found online or at Michael’s)

-2 cups cold heavy whipping cream

-Fluorescent pink food coloring (I used Betty Crocker’s Neon Gel)

Steps:

1) Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and set aside.

2) In a medium bowl, mix sweetened condensed milk and cotton candy flavoring.  Stir in food coloring.  For this part, you will add a LOT.  It needs to be dark to get it to that bright pink from the film, and this will lighten considerable in the next step.

3) In separate, large bowl, beat the two cups of heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form.  Then fold in cotton candy mixture until combined.  Be gentle in this step.

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4) Pour mixture into loaf pan, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the freezer.  Freeze for 6-8 hours and enjoy!

Notes: No churn ice cream is a lot more fragile than regular ice cream.  It will melt very quickly and is a bit more fragile.  Also, feel free to add more or less cotton candy flavoring.  Personally, this stuff is strong and anymore than a tablespoon starts to give it more of a bubblegum flavor.  Don’t like cotton candy at all?  Sub in vanilla extract instead.

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This stuff is so creamy you’ll hardly notice it’s made differently.

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International Clown Week

Apparently, this is a thing.  From August 1st to August 7th, clowns world wide celebrate, promote, and inform.  This year’s celebration kicked off in Showmen’s Rest in Woodlawn Cemetery, located in Forest Park, Illinois. This particular Showmen’s Rest is actually a mass grave for Hagenbeck-Wallace circus employees killed in the Hammond circus train wreck in 1918.  Because many of the bodies were unidentifiable, their graves are marked with their stage names, such as “Smiley” and “Baldy.”  Five elephant statues marks the Showmen’s Rest. Kinda weird, eerie, and moving all at once, right?

hagenbeckwallacecircus

Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus Sideshow

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Showmen’s Rest marker

You can find more information about International Clown Week here, and browse through their pages on coulrophobia and fear of clowns, as well as other extensive topics such as clown college.

In the spirit of coulrophobia and international clown celebrations, I leave you with this international horror movie trailer for Indonesian horror flick “Badoet.”

The entire world shares similar feelings on clowns, it seems.

Why Clownhouse (1989) is Terrifying.

clownhouse-1989

I’ve recently been gifted with a pile of retro horror films.  Among them was 1989’s Clownhouse.  I’d been really excited to watch this, confusing it with another film from the 80’s featuring a girl and her creepy clown doll.  Popped it in, recognized the director’s name but couldn’t immediately place it, but moved past quickly when I spotted Sam Rockwell’s name in the opening credits.

The premise is rather silly.  Three young brothers are left home alone for the night and must fend off a trio of escaped mental patients masquerading as the circus clowns they’ve murdered.  The eldest brother, played by Sam Rockwell in his first feature role, is a teenaged jerk appalled that he’s stuck with babysitting duties.  The youngest, Casey, has severe coulrophobia and nightmares that cause bed wetting, instilling a maternal instinct in middle brother Geoffrey.

When nothing on screen sparked any memories of having seen this prior, I sought answers from Google. First, I found that the movie I’d actually been hoping for was 1988’s Ghosthouse, not Clownhouse.  Second, that director Victor Salva actually went to jail for events transpiring off screen between himself and the film’s 12 year old lead actor, Nathan Forrest Winters.  Victor Salva, roughly around the age of 30 at time of production, had been molesting the boy and filming it. WHAT?

He spent only 15 months in jail after confessing to five counts of sexual relations with a 12 year old boy, and having videotaped said relations.  Nathan Forrest Winters has no further acting credits to his name, and can anyone blame him?  Shockingly, Disney hired Victor Salva to direct 1995’s Powder, and the director relates the lead character to his personal life and the time he spent in prison.  Powder flopped, however, in part by Nathan’s public boycotting of the film.

Hollywood has a short memory, though, and Victor Salva found favor again with 2001’s Jeepers Creepers.

Now, of course this is old news, and I’m sure most people are already aware.  Hell, Victor Salva’s name held vague familiarity because I’d remembered some kind of sexual misconduct news tied with his name when Jeepers Creepers was released.  However, reading this news while watching Clownhouse gave the film a whole new context that was both horrifying and heartbreaking.

Casey’s frail and scared demeanor took on a deeper meaning.  That he spent the film scared of the grown men relentlessly pursuing him just felt icky.  The tone no longer felt like silly kids horror.

I’m behind the times on this one, and I feel terrible for that.  But I, too, will join Nathan Forrest Winters on his boycott of Salva’s films.

Clown Motel?

Clown Motel

Between Reno and Las Vegas lays the small town of Tonopah, Nevada. In the 2010 census the population was 2,478. The discovery of silver in the early 1900 lead to the founding this small mining town. Being in the middle of a desert, you can imagine the list of things to do runs on the small end.

Um..no thanks. I pass.

Um..no thanks. I pass.

But maybe you’re a mining history fanatic? Or maybe you’d just like to test your bravery? Want to face your coulrophobia head on? If you answered yes to any of these, then make sure you book a stay at Tonopah’s Clown Motel. A motel smack dab in the middle of the desert, decked head to toe in clowns. As if that’s not enough nightmare fuel, the motel’s direct next door neighbor is a century old cemetery.

Clown Motel cemeterToponah Cemetery

I’d love to add this to my bucket list, but I have to be honest- deserts scare me. Maybe I’ve watched too many horror movies, but the isolation just gives me the willies.

Are you brave enough to visit?

Clowns are creepy.

Remember that fake trailer that hit in 2012?  The one that had Eli Roth’s name attached though it had nothing to do with him?  Well, Roth liked what he saw and signed on as producer.  Flash forward to 2014, we have an official trailer.  And it looks awesome.  You can view the trailer here.

There’s a reason coulrophobia is so common; there’s something seemingly deranged and ominous behind the make-up and cheer.  The trailer got me thinking about all of the other nightmare inducing clowns in horror.  I’ve narrowed it down to the top five:

5. Killer Klowns From Outer Space

KillerKlowns
So the movie itself is a cheesy 80s flick about killer clowns from space.  It’s hard to take seriously.  But you guys, these clowns eat people.  And despite how cheaply made this film is, those faces are creepy.  If you’ve seen Killer Klowns From Outer Space, then you probably were a little leery about popcorn for a while.  Klown Larvae..ick.


4. Amusement

amusementclown
Amusement follows three women being stalked by a killer with a grudge, but the story is broken down into sections as the killer stalks them individually.  The middle section revolves around Tabitha, who goes over to her Aunt’s one night to find her two young cousins in bed and the babysitter gone.  The guest bedroom is filled with clowns, with one rather large clown sitting in a rocking chair.  When her aunt calls, Tabitha answers the phone in the hallway with her back to the room.  She tells her aunt how creepy the large one is her aunt’s confused reply is, “We don’t own anything like that.”  By that time the clown is up and out of the chair, creeping toward Tabitha.  Yup. Creepy.

3. Gacy

Gacy
This movie is terrible.  So why is it number 3 on my list?  Because it’s based on a true story.  The real John Wayne Gacy did have an alter ego known as Pogo the Clown.  He designed the look himself and performed at many fundraising events as part of the community’s “Jolly Joker” club.  This was after he’d served time for sexual assault of a young boy, but before the murders began.  Makes you think twice about the clowns performing at parties, doesn’t it?  So Pogo the Clown deserved to be on this list for the sole purpose of being reality based.

2. Poltergeist- the clown doll

poltergeistclown
Though the entire movie is an amazing classic, this clown forever embedded itself into memory.  Poltergeist effectively built tension when early on Robbie threw a blanket over the doll to hide it from sight.  Well played, foreshadowing.  But when Robbie is trying to sleep and notices the clown missing?  The tension was palpable.  Robbie had more bravery than I would in his situation, daring to check under the bed.  I think I may have curled into fetal position when the doll dragged him under the bed.  This clown freaked me out so bad he was nearly number one, but….

1. IT- Pennywise

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Remember this guy?  Yeah.  He wins hands down.  Tim Curry made Pennywise the Dancing Clown the stuff of nightmares.  I imagine Pennywise gave many a complex about storm drains; I know I give them wide berth.   What makes Pennywise more terrifying is his intelligence.  The clown isn’t his true form, but it’s his favorite one as many children are lured to their deaths by it.  He knows what your deepest fear is, and he will exploit it to trap you.  What’s scarier than a demonic pointy-tooth clown that hunts you using your weaknesses?