Saturday, November 14, 2015

On Second Viewing: Dead Clowns (2004)

When I do the whole "On Second Viewing" thing, I tend to dread it. That's because it's usually for movies that I have reviewed in the past and didn't care for when I first saw it. That being said, I was actually shocked to find myself enjoying the last entry in this series, "Neon Maniacs". Little about the movie is actually good, but the sheer stupidity and all around unintentionally goofy nature of it really left me happy. Did I get the same feeling out of watching "Dead Clowns" the second time? No, I did not.

The plot-well, what there is of one-deals with a town that is preparing for a hurricane. However, said town had a tragic incident that occurred fifty years earlier-a hurricane that hit the town caused a circus train accident that killed many a clown. Now, said clowns are back as zombies, and they want revenge. Why? Because the town has largely forgotten about the incident. Yeah, how dare those townspeople try to move on? The audacity of them! What follows is a micro-budget mix of "The Fog", the "Blind Dead" films, a Lucio Fulci zombie movie and a killer clown movie. Sadly, it isn't as fun as that description may imply.

Revisiting the movie, I remembered this about the movie-the thing, at the very least, has tons of atmosphere. That and it's gory as hell, and the make up and splatter FX are all pretty good. Said gore scenes also have a tendency to drag on for a long time, which diminishes the impact. Also diminishing the impact is that nobody in the movie is the least bit interesting, have little to no backstory and tend to act and behave in a manor that is alien to even the dumbest of horror movies. The movie really just feels like it was written by someone who not only doesn't understand how to write dialogue, but doesn't understand basic human interaction and behavior. 

Then there is just the fact that the movie is really fucking slow, and really fucking boring to boot. The whole movie moves in a snails pace, with little of what occurs feeling like it doesn't have any consequence, and that characters only exist to be killed by zombies. Speaking of characters, this is a movie that casts scream queens Brinke Stevens and Debbie Rochon, then fails to do anything with them. Hell, Rochon has proven in the past to be a good actor, but here she isn't even given any dialogue. Now let's talk about how there are zombie clowns-and that's it. Outside of being dressed like clowns, there is nothing really specific about them. They are just your typical zombies in a horror movie. At least put a little imagination in the zombie clown aspect of your movie.

This movie, BTW, was released by my old nemesis Lionsgate-a nemesis because of the amount of dreck they dump straight to DVD. While they still do this, they are also more of a studio proper nowadays, thanks to the likes of "The Hunger Games" and "Divergent" series. Nowadays, they aren't the kind of studio that releases micro budget, seemingly shot on video bullshit like this and "The Maize". 

Have their standards gotten better? Hell no, they released "Mortdecai" earlier this year. However, nowadays, they aren't going to release something like this, and I'm amazed they did in the first place. This is the kind of thing you expect someone like Brain Damage films (who have released work from the films director, Steve Sessions* in the past) to release instead of a major studio.

*Sessions has been directing, writing and scoring micro-budget horror for years, with directorial credits including "Cremains", "Hellbound: Book of the Dead", Torment" and "Malefic". 

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