Movie Review: “Killjoy Goes to Hell”

   Although I may sometimes seem cynical when I talk about the more modern movies from Full Moon Features, and, with good reason, I always want to stress that I go into each film in good faith. I have never believed in ‘so bad, it’s good,’ and I am always rooting for Full Moon Features to conjure up some of the full moon magic they had in yesteryear. And, if they can’t do that, I would like to see them evolve into something of a new Full Moon. For that reason, I am always in search for that unrequited gem from the 2000s that will climb to the upper half of a Nightmare Deck, like Head of the Family and The Creeps did before it. The third film in the Killjoy series, Killjoy 3, wasn’t that film, but, at the same time, was an absolute step in the right direction. The new, more comedic Freddy Krueger style approach from Trent Haaga’s portrayal brought a new sense of identity and character that was missing from the last two movies. By having him reprise the role now, in Killjoy Goes to Hell, it also adds a new sense of continuity and consistency that most modern Full Moon franchises don’t often have. 

   Killjoy Goes to Hell is directed by John Lechago, who directed Killjoy 3, but also went onto direct Blade: The Iron Cross, making him a rather prolific part of the current Full Moon lineup. Early on, everything feels pretty good. There is a real sense of forward momentum with the pacing, and that is something Full Moon, especially modern Full Moon struggles with. We see Killjoy summoned by an evil witch, which ultimately leads to the reveal that Killjoy will be put on trial for his sins. In only four minutes, we are introduced to our core concept of the film, and title sequence for the film, which follows the Full Moon way of being long and drawn out, actually feels pretty slick, stylish, and ultimately, beneficial to the vibe of the movie. 

   The acting is suitably melodramatic on the human side, with the tone of the Killjoy character not perfectly aligning with the presentation of Killjoy. Thus, it can bring some accidental funnies when you see a stone faced, delivering a (very rehearse sounding) speech to a surviving victim of Killjoy. The second they are on the screen was the second I lost interest. Thankfully, that interest returned the very second Killjoy was back on the screen. It is corny and as much as Killjoy makes me nostalgic for the MTV age Freddy Krueger, it every much makes me think of the lackluster, groan-inducing humor of Little Nicky (ironically, a film about Freddy going to Hell was actually canceled because the under performance of Little Nicky). Killjoy’s surviving victim and her super giggles (which she uses as a defense mechanism against Killjoy) get old very quickly. 

   Basically, Killjoy is imprisoned and stripped of his powers, locked away in the depths of Hell to stand trial. It is a different kind of premise for a film. I like different. Still, I can’t help but wish they would have ironed out all the kinks from Killjoy 3 and given us an alright slasher film first, but Full Moon Features almost never does what I think makes sense. This is pretty goofy – so, basically, Killjoy has to stand trial in Hell on the crime of not being evil enough, which is dumb but, again, fun. I love the makeup and appearance of Killjoy in this film. It vaguely reminds me of the makeup for Freddy in Freddy vs Jason (obviously, on a much, much, much smaller scale). I mean this, specifically for when he isn’t wearing the black wig. We have Killjoy’s lawyer doing an impression of what reminds me of the Clown from the Spawn movie, Batty Boop doing her impression of Harley Quinn, and the cartoon-y Killjoy. 

   Actually, I think that is the best way to approach Killjoy Goes to Hell, and I mean this, favorably. This is a live-action cartoon. The humor is playful, slapstick, and like something you would expect from the Loony Tunes. The Devil is a cartoon caricature of the Devil brought to life, and the trials goes on, he menacingly erases names from a list (of all the known aliases for Killjoy over the years), meaning to erase Killjoy from history. As this happens, on Earth, a detective sees the names of the killers’ aliases disappear off his clipboard. It isn’t as funny as a good episode of Animaniacs, but most of the jokes feel like throwaway jokes you’d hear from an alright one. Of course, it is a B-movie Full Moon film, which means it has some level of nudity and adult humor. 

 I dig the vibe – if I had to describe the Full Moon “charm” of the 80s and 90s, it’d be to compare it to old school Goosebumps brought to an R-rating, with all the changes being rather minimal. Full Moon is Goosebumps with nudity and blood, essentially. It has a lot of episodes, and most of them are low-budget schlock, but some of them, and some of its characters, just really stick with you. This film feels like it follows the same line of reasoning, but applied it to old children’s cartoons. 

   If I am honest, Killjoy Goes to Hell is a little bit of a mess when added up for the sum of its parts. The subplot following the main-protagonist and the Detective’s on the real world dragged and failed to ever even begin to capture my attention, whereas the main story with Killjoy and his court case never makes the most of the concept. It is a comedy movie though, and for Full Moon Features, it is easily the most fun film in the catalog I have seen since the turn of the millennium. Is it as good as Full Moon’s best? No. However, it is better than anything from Full Moon 2000 and onward, with the closest thing to a movie that truly almost works. Taken not as the sum of its parts, but by the little bites it can offer, I had fun with it. The characters are fun. Trent Haaga as Killjoy is fun. It’s fun, and if trimmed down to a short film proper, I think this is a pretty good episode of Full Moon Universe.

Rating: – 2.5 out of 5.0