Year of Release: 2009
IMDB Rating: 2.7 / 10
Level of Awful: High
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Oh sweet baby Jesus, what just happened? A bit of time has passed since my last z-grade clown movie, so I thought it was time to revisit my coulrophobia. Unfortunately Geraldine Winters, the fool behind Clownstrophobia, didn’t take 5 minutes to do a Google search to find out what the actual term for a fear of clowns was. It was all downhill from there really: the clown is quite frightening to look at but the actors are wooden, the storyline is so convoluted that Tolkien would have been confused and for the most part I’m hoping that Winters was on crack so that there is at least some excuse for this awful mess. I’m not entirely sure what was happening or what the whole point was meant to be, but if it made sense then it wouldn’t have earned its place here on the B-Horror Blog 🙂
We begin our odd and confusing little tale in a mental hospital where one of the new nurses is being given instructions on how to care for Patient X, a female patient admitted to the hospital after she was found outside a carnival. Dubbed ‘Patient X’ because no one knows her name, this woman has repeatedly tried to commit suicide, believes she was a member of the circus and that the hospital staff have stolen a child that no one has seen. The new nurse’s job is to make notes on Patient X while making sure that she doesn’t further harm herself. In another ward in the hospital is Snuffles the Clown, another psychotic inmate who brutally murdered his parents when he was just a teenager. As a side thought, for a genuinely creepy clown, ‘Snuffles’ strikes me as a rather daft choice for a name, but if it was actually frightening the movie might have made a little more sense and the director seems to have tried her hardest to avoid that. Anyway, Snuffles’ irritating and whiny psychiatrist has decided that it’s time to give the clown a little more room to wander, the thought being that this will help him in his recovery. Nothing can go wrong with this plan…
The only surviving member of Snuffles’ murderous rampage was his sister, who has now gone on to become a psychiatrist. Ironically her own psychiatrist is the same one as her brother’s, something that no one appears to think might be a conflict of interests. Since drugging herself with 5 horse tranquilisers a night doesn’t seem to be curing her of her past she decides on a more alternative form of treatment. In an attempt to fix herself she invites a group of juvenile criminals to her country estate who all share her clownstrophobia. The treatment plan? Lock everyone in the house, have a dinner of doughnuts and exchange creepy clown stories with one another. Since it isn’t the most orthodox plan in the world there doesn’t seem to be any intended outcome, but this doesn’t seem to be the point of doing it in the first place. Somewhere along the way between the good doctor tranquilising herself and the kids smoking pot Snuffles has managed to break into the house (how he did it or why no one noticed he escaped from the asylum are left unanswered) and is getting ready to play.
So now we arrive at a point where there’s so much going on that it’s virtually impossible to keep track of it all. Back at the asylum Patient X is progressively becoming more agitated after once again slitting her wrists and seeing fat, hairy clowns where there aren’t any. Worried for her career the nurse doesn’t want to tell anyone that it happened on her watch and is desperately trying to calm the woman down. Back at the estate Snuffles is very quickly making his way through the kids and harvesting them for their organs which he stores in a jar. Dr Weathers has come out of her near-comatose sleep to don clown lipstick and stand in a doorway telling the kids not to leave until they are cured of their phobia. Oh yeah, and Patient X is begging stockings off of her nurse.
In the last 2 minutes of the movie a desperate attempt is made to bring all of this together in some semblance of order, but the possible interpretations of events are too numerous to list. Watch for yourself, if you dare, and let me know if it made any more sense to you than it did to me 🙂
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- You should always wear sunglasses when electrocuting someone.
- Half of all patients in a mental institution will have worked in a carnival at some point.
- Juvenile delinquents should always be escorted by juvenile policemen.
- You can land up in juvenile court for switching a girl’s shampoo with hair remover.
- Mental patients are often pitted against one another in cage battles for sport.
- A victim wrapped in the right wrapping paper will never escape.
- Nurses in mental hospitals aren’t trained to understand that their patients REALLY don’t know what reality is.
- Giving someone your heart metaphorically is romantic. Giving someone a heart literally is f*cking weird.
Year of Release: 2008
IMDB Rating: 3 / 10
Level of Awful: High
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
And my love-hate relationship with coulrophobia continues! After watching this I discovered that it’s the brainchild of the same people that came up with Dead Clowns, which helps to explain a lot about this movie. Like Dead Clowns, this movie feels like absolutely nothing is ever going to happen because it drags SO much in places and for its 90-odd minutes of running time five things might actually take place. The acting is pathetically weak (Suzi Lorraine has the approximate acting capability of a plank of wood on an off day) and the whale-song soundtrack that sneaks in every now and then is just daft. To give it credit, and this is something that Dead Clowns didn’t get right, Dissecto the Clown is genuinely frightening. You have absolutely no clue who he is or why he does what he does, but the mask is genuinely scary. Enough of my ramblings though; let’s get on with the story:
Meet Laura, the whiniest and most ineffective heroine b-grade horror has ever seen! Laura’s fresh out the nut house following a few ‘incidents’ stemming from her inability to come to terms with her brother’s death. Laura’s husband Ray decides that the best thing to do now that she’s been discharged, in order for her to get some good rest and help her recovery along, is to take her to a cabin out in the middle of nowhere where there’s no cellphone signal and where several Mormons have recently gone missing. Now Laura, like anyone else in her situation, is still a little bat shit crazy and tends to fly off the handle at the slightest provocation. This makes things very difficult for her when she tries to get her husband to believe that Dissecto the Clown was staring into their house just after she got out the shower. In a way this storyline is Movie A and carries on more or less like this until the last half-hour of the movie with Dissecto occasionally popping up to provide some suspense. The major question the movie aims to put in your head is whether Dissecto is real or just a figment of Laura’s one-sandwich-short-of-a-picnic mind…
Movie B, while being a lot less whiny, has a lot less going on in it. All we’re treated to are shots of Dissecto’s cockroach-infested house (I’m not sure if these are meant to play some part in the story because they’re everywhere) where, before torturing his victims, he treats them to various circus tricks. Maybe if someone had laughed they wouldn’t have ended up dead, but such things are out of my hands. It only really gets exciting towards the end of the movie when, after Roy’s been bludgeoned to death, Laura (nicely drugged) manages to run into Dissecto’s house. It’s here that we either learn how strong Dissecto is or how bad Laura’s aim is because, even with sledge hammer in hand, she can’t get him to let her go. We are then dragged through about 20 minutes of Laura pathetically trying to escape from her loose bonds.
To finish off on a good note I would like to give this movie credit for daring to do what even high budget horror movies would never do: have the heroine go looking for the killer fully clothed 🙂
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- The authority of a map is all-encompassing.
- Bin bags are so durable that a person couldn’t escape from one.
- Crazy people get crazy when you discuss crazy.
- Loony bin regulation underwear has greatly improved in the 21st century.
- You should have at least 3 outfit changes during the day.
- People who put bibles in hotel rooms either look like gnomes or elves.
- Corpses in a freezer will remain frozen even if you leave the lid open.
Year of Release: 2004
Genre: Horror / Thriller
IMDB Rating: 3.4 / 10
Level of Awful: High
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Oh dear. Words escape me a little with this one. When I reviewed Dead Clowns I made a point of emphasising how slow-paced the movie was because of a lack of story. Well here we are, another movie about a killer clown, but this time it’s long and has far too much story. Not that most of the story actually ties in with what’s happening, but it’s there none the less. The sad thing with this little piece of cheese is that, had it been done properly with actors who could act, it would probably have been quite frightening. Sadly this was not to be and instead we are left with this attempt at frightening and suspenseful that lands up being confusing and a little boring but delightfully cheesy anyway.
Lynn Blodgett is an up-and-coming artist in Baltimore that has developed a reputation for her pictures that depict the darker side of clowns. A series of flash backs tell us that she has had some traumatic experience with a clown as a child, but the movie doesn’t seem interested in explaining this, and has subsequently developed a severe case of coulrophobia which serves as the inspiration behind her paintings (according to the plot synopsis – movie doesn’t really make this clear either). This fear may also tie in with the trip to the abandoned amusement park that she makes later in the movie (movie doesn’t explain this either). Anyways Lynn has an art exhibition opening at the local Craig Flinner Gallery but, on the day before it starts, the neighbours of the house she’s looking after are murdered by a rather muscular and shirtless clown (apparently based on one of her paintings, according to the plot synopsis, but there are no paintings of him until she does one after seeing him). Lynn does not seem perturbed by this and continues with her plans for her exhibition where she meets Tucker, a roller coaster designer who pays $ 8000 for one of her paintings. Now there seems to be an uncut and longer edition of this movie that I don’t have because one moment Lynn and Tucker are at his office and the next she’s at home telling one of her friends on the phone about the how the evening was one ‘long story’ and she seems a little distressed. Perhaps the longer version would have filled in the blanks. While she’s on the phone Shivers the Clown appears at her door and frightens her so much that she passes out.
Where this movie does stand out amongst all of the others that I’ve reviewed is that the amount of time you spend looking at a half-naked man as apposed to a completely naked woman is greatly above the horror movie average: there is only one naked woman in the whole movie and absolutely no sexual content while Shivers is shirtless throughout. Now while our half-naked clown is out murdering people our plot line becomes more involved and confusing when Lynn discovers that her husband that she is divorcing has been out of work for six months and she is later commissioned to do the portrait of a man’s father for $ 20 000. She is conflicted, however, because it turns out that the man’s father was a convicted child molester that got off of some of the charges when there was insufficient evidence against him (I’m not sure how he’s a convicted criminal if this is the case). Absolutely NONE of this, however, has anything to do with the rest of the story and serves as a rare case where a movie creates plot holes for itself where none would have existed if they had been left out.
As the story plods along and several of Lynn’s friends are killed the police eventually decide to take her seriously when she tells them that a killer clown is after her. The plot continues to become more complicated when it is revealed that her soon-to-be-ex-husband is trying to have her killed (ironically, by having a man dressed as a clown break into her home and shoot her). Somehow the husband also seems to know Shivers and even visits him and, although this does kind of tie into the story, it again serves as even more plot-filler. Eventually, as Lynn and Tucker become closer (despite the implication that he’s actually stalking her – something else that the movie doesn’t care to elaborate on) and the killings get closer and closer to home the two of them must put on a united front in a locked movie theater in order to avoid landing up like Lynn’s friends and being left in pieces all over the lounge floor.
I would like to give the movie credit, however, for the single little shot of a policeman guarding Lynn’s house and reading a copy of Stephen King’s It. It’s just a pity that nobody cared to actually read it and see how a killer clown storyline is done properly.
THINGS I’VE LEARNED:
- You can hear people fainting over the phone.
- $20 000 can buy a lot of bandwidth.
- Research shows that single men with cats are bad news.
- It can still be sunny close to midnight.
- FBI agents always stand in profile when knocking on people’s doors.
- Scary clown art is an incredibly lucrative niche market.
- Blurred vision and blindness are virtually the same thing.
- When victims describe the killer clown that attacked them to the police it is important that they fail to tell them that he is muscular and not wearing a shirt.
- When private investigators describe the killer clown to their clients they can mention everything about them except the muscles and lack of shirt.
Fear of Clowns Trailer
Year of Release: 2003
IMDB Rating: 2.8 / 10
Level of Awful: High
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Well, the name says it all really – this movie is about dead clowns. Not very good dead clowns, but dead clowns nonetheless. It says something, however, when I suffer from coulrophobia (fear of clowns) and wasn’t even slightly freaked out. The problem with these clowns is that, apart from the bozo outfits and colourful wigs, they don’t look like clowns because their faces are all rotten and decomposed because they’re actually zombie clowns, and everyone knows that the scariest part of a clown is its face – you’re never quite sure what’s going on underneath all that makeup. That being said, this movie’s main failing is that virtually nothing happens – you have 8 or so characters that behave with all the acting talent of a plank of wood. Usually in a bad movie at least one person can let out a good scream. Not here. “Oh. no. it’s. going. to. kill. me.” Who knew that you could be bored when being eaten by a zombie clown?
We start our little adventure in Port Emmett (a.k.a. News ArchiveVille) where a serious hurricane is about to hit. I have renamed Port Emmett News ArchiveVille because there isn’t actually a town to speak of but rather different sequences of spliced-together archive footage of actual hurricanes. While the citizens of News ArchiveVille batten down the hatches and wait for the hurricane to make landfall a woman tells her husband (?) about the events of 50 years ago when a hurricane, very similar to the one they are currently in the middle of, hit the town and caused the bridge over the sea to collapse. On the train was a travelling circus and everyone was thrown into the water. The clown car was never recovered and the town buried the story and purged it from their collective memory. Until now. As the hurricane becomes more intense, the clowns rise from the dead and the deep to take revenge on the town that forgot about them.
This is where the movie begins to concoct a mixture of weird, confusing and boring. Instead of focusing on a single character or group of survivors the movie decides to run around different houses and show how the clowns are going on the rampage. To this end we have the following characters: Blonde Woman, Goth Girl and Goth Boy (collectively, Goth Couple), Boy in Wheelchair and Boy in Wheelchair’s Brother (I think, nothing’s made that clear), Druggie Security Guard, Hometown Woman and Hometown Woman’s husband and Girl in Oversized Jersey. None of these characters are at all likeable, mainly due to the fact that the camera never settles on them for more than 10 minutes. Add to this that they are so pathetic in their survival attempts that you wish the zombies would just hurry up and eat them so we can move on.
The rest of this never-ending story comprises mainly of the zombie clowns slowly staggering around after the members of this little village. Since only two of the characters actually meet it takes an awfully long time before anyone figures out how the zombies can be sent back to their watery grave. I’m also convinced that Steve Sessions, the director, was turned into a zombie during the making of the movie if the speed that anyone goes at is a good indication of anything. On the up side, however, it is incredibly fun to try and analyse the attempt at a subplot with Goth Couple, to try to make out what Goth Couple are saying since the microphone guy couldn’t seem to get up the energy to walk over to them and you can always have a good laugh at the attack scenes since, rather than making contact, it would appear that zombie clowns and humans alike enjoy fanning one another with any weapon they can lay their hands on.
THINGS I’VE LEARNED:
- Snorting sugar crystals allows you to see into the future.
- Small towns purge themselves of any memories to do with a clown-related tragedy.
- Revenge for a clown is really just a matter of pride.
- Insulting a clown’s pride by forgetting about them leads to them eating you.
- Despite being submerged for over 50 years a clown’s costume is always crisp and clean.
- Hurricanes bring clowns back from the dead.
- An unlocked door is not a good defense against an undead clown.
- Your body can be crushed by a piece of drywall.
- Unlike regular zombies that prefer brains, clown zombies go right for the intestines.
- Having a priest’s brain in your hair is a major turn-on for some people.
Dead Clowns Trailer