Clown may not be a new movie, but it is a recent release. Released last month on June 17, 2016, Clown was originally shot in 2012. The film is written by Christopher Ford and Jon Watts (Watts also directed), and overall this is a solid film. The acting is solid, there gore and clown make up f/s are well done, and the story itself is also damn good. But there’s one problem. This isn’t an original film at all!! Clown is a scary, gory, and at times has dark humor, but we’ve seen this story before. No seriously, we’ve seen this exact story before. Let me back up for a moment.
Clown is a pretty simple premise. Little Jack (Christian Distefano) is having his clown-themed birthday party. The clown his mother Meg (Andy Powers) hired no shows, so the father, Kent (Andy Powers) finds an old clown costume and makeup and becomes the birthday clown. Jack is thrilled, but at the end of the night when it is time to get out of the costume, Kent finds that he ca’t get the wig and red nose off, and the costume itself seems to be stuck to his body.Kent tries to cut the costume off to no avail, and he even realizes that the clown wig has fused with his real hair.
After Kent does some sleuthing, he tracks down a lea for a previous owner of the suit, Karlsson (Peter Stormare). Over the phone, Karlsson tells him not to put the costume on, but when Kent tells him he already did, you can hear the hidden tone of panic in Karlsson’s voice. We get a cool (made up) history of where the modern day clown comes from. According to Karlsson (and this really isn’t a spoiler since we get this explanation within the first thirty minutes), the original clown was a demon with “snowy-white skin and a blistered red nose” that lived on the outskirts of town and who lured children to its cave. It killed five children every year–one child for each month of winter. Now it seems whoever dons this particular clown costume slowly turns into this demon-clown and even acquires the taste for the flesh of children.
Now let me take a step backward and describe another film to you. This new film is actually a short film that was part of the Scary or Die anthology, and is titled, “Clowned.” In it, a father puts on a clown costume to entertain his kid for his birthday and finds later that he cannot remove the costume. The dad in this short film comes to realize that he is transforming into a demon and craves the flesh of little kids.
“Clowned” is written by Bob Badway and Michael Emanuel and is directed by Emanuel. As far as I can tell, the writers and directors of each of these projects don’t overlap at all. This means that one of two things happened. Either this is one helluva coincidence that these two project have exactly the same story, or Ford and Watts (the writers of Clown) aren’t telling us the whole story.
Putting aside the mysterious origin of Clown, this is a pretty fun movie. We get solid performances, fantastic make up f/x, and some genuine scares. I was curious and a little worried how the filmmakers of Clown were going to stretch what was a short film into one hundred minutes, but they did a great job. This film never drags and I never felt the writers including pointless sub-plots to pad out the story. Best of all, though, was the makeup f/x for the clown. Lets face it, there have been more than a few killer clowns over the last few years, and the filmmakers here probably felt a lot of pressure to create a fresh looking evil clown. Mission accomplished!! The titular clown here is creepy and downright disturbing. Kudos to the designers of the clown.
Despite its curious origins and influence, I’m definitely recommending Clown. With a fun story and some great makeup f/x and gore, Clown is sure to please and disturb even the most jaded horror fan. After watching this film, you must check out “Clowned” in the horror anthology, Scary or Die, and then tell me where you think the writers got their influence from.
Director: Jon Watts (& co-writer with Christopher Ford)
Plot: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Gore: 6.5 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer