Clowns seem to be a touchy subject for most these days. The fear of clowns, also known as coulrophobia, effects approximately twenty percent of the population today (thanks Google). Whether it was Tim Curry’s fault for scaring the life out of millions as Pennywise the clown, or John Wayne Gacy–who was not only a serial killer and a rapist, but a birthday party clown too–the fear of clowns is as real as that of ghosts or zombies at this point in the game, and I don’t see that changing any time soon. So strap on your party hats, and breakout the balloons as I take you through my experience with the coulrophobic horror film, Clowntown.
Loosely based on the true events of the clowns who terrorized the streets of Bakersfield California back in 2014, Clowntown tells a story of four friends who get stuck in a ghost town haunted by clowns. The concept, to my knowledge, is something that has yet to be explored in the world of evil clowns, but the makers fall short of painting the picture that I believe they set out to create. Are the clowns creepy? They absolutely are. But the film leaves numerous questions unanswered. For instance: why exactly is this town abandoned? They give somewhat of an explanation but not anything that seems even remotely likely. Or most importantly: why the Hell are these people clowns? By leaving these critical plot points up in the air, I was ultimately left bored. I need a little more than creepy clowns and violent deaths. For me, there just wasn’t enough to be extravagant, or even memorable.
What Clowntown does do, is hit the typical horror movie tropes and tomfoolery that you’re accustomed to seeing in most B-rated horror flicks of the past. From nudity less than three minutes into the film to annoying characters that you cannot wait to see get absolutely destroyed; it will indeed fill that void inside all of us which craves trashy, cheesy horror. The score was another example of typical cliche with carousel music that wasn’t nearly creepy enough. I wanted nothing more than to love this film after seeing the trailer as It did a wonderful job of not showing us all the cards. But the film did the exact same thing, and that’s the real issue. I almost feel as if the trailer duped us by showing the spookiest moments and the “prettiest” shots (which were few and far between). If House Of 1,000 Corpses, The Hills Have Eyes, and Clownhouse were all first cousins, then Clowntown would be the incestial abomination of their menage a trois. Is that harsh? Yes. Is it true? Also yes.
Clowntown will be in theaters on September 30th, and VOD/DVD on October 4th.
I needed more than death and clowns to wrap my brain around.