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