In 2010, a fake preview for a movie called Clown popped up on-line. The story centered on a man who put on a clown costume and couldn’t get it off. What’s worse, it was transforming him into a demon. The preview claimed the upcoming film was directed by Eli Roth. Roth saw the trailer and was impressed by the bravado and decided to help produce a full length version of the film. Clown the film follows the same central story as the trailer.
Kent McCoy (Andy Powers) is a good man, loving father, and successful real-estate agent who finds an old trunk in his newly bought and renovated house he’s putting on the market. He makes the mistake of opening it and finds a clown costume that he puts on to wear to entertain at his son’s birthday party. And then he finds he can’t get it off. His hair changes into a multi-colored afro. His nose is actually a big red ball, and his skin is a sickly white. The film tracks poor Kent’s exploits to try to get the suit off and trace it’s origin. He eventually comes to the unfortunately realization the only way to shed the suit is to decapitation or eat five children to appease the demonic entity possessing him.
I’m not going to say much more because as of now the film has no distribution in the U.S. and I don’t want to spoil it. The idea is really silly and doesn’t seem like it’d hold up over 100 minutes. Somehow Clown managed to keep my attention and I didn’t fall asleep so, I can feel confident in recommending it. The gore fx are pretty nasty and old school; if there was any CGI, I didn’t catch it. It helps sell the “reality” of Kent’s situation as his life and community is torn apart by the end of the film. Andy Powers does a great job as the hapless Kent. The character actor cut his teeth in the prison drama Oz on HBO and has the chops to make his part work. The role calls for a variety of emotions from the guy as he becomes increasingly volatile and he knocks it out of the park.
Another feather in it’s the cap is that Clown realizes how silly it is, but manages to pull it off by injecting some pitch black humor into the mix. One of the final scenes involves Kent hiding out at a Chuck E. Cheese to appease his appetite. This is the only film I’ve seen that contains a stalk and slash scene in a children’s play place. I couldn’t quite pick up if the film was daring me to laugh at it, or giving me the finger for taking it seriously, but that’s part of what makes it work. Horror films work best for me when the situations have that knife’s edge balance of horror and humor where it could easily slide into one or the other but deftly walks the line between the two.
This is the directorial debut of Jon Watts who directs the film with a steady hand and some really great moments of cinematography. He’s got a great eye for detail and framing of scenes. I took a course in film appreciation a few years back and since then I’ve developed an eye for that kind of thing, and we don’t really get enough of it in horror these days. Evidently Sony Pictures also thought that Watts did something right as well. Watt’s is their choice to direct the latest Spider-Man reboot due out in a couple years.
Clown is a film that absolutely should not work and it does. It’s a film that applies the principle of the creator of the Origami Boulder — “bad idea well implemented better than best idea never used”.
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