In 2010, a faux trailer for Clown surfaced online claiming to be Eli Roth’s next movie. However, it was a publicity stunt by then unknown filmmakers Jon Knotts and Christopher D. Ford to garner some exposure, but, impressed by their ballsy move and trailer, Roth agreed to produce it, then, in 2012, Clown entered production. The rest is history. But was it worth the wait?
The film begins with the startling news that the clown for Jack’s (Christian Distefano) birthday party has been double booked. Not to fear though, as his daddy Kent (Andy Powers) just happens to have found a conveniently placed clown suit in the basement of an old house where he’s doing a job. So, like any good father would, he puts on the suit and heads to his son’s party to entertain the children. However, there’s a problem with the suit – it doesn’t come off because it’s actually the skin of an ancient child eating demon. Kent tracks down the previous owner of the suit, Karlsson (Peter Stormare) who informs him of the curse and a solution of beheading. After a failed suicide attempt, Kent starts to transform and lose control of his humanity – and appetite – so it’s up to his pregnant wife Meg (Laura Allen) to find a solution.
To say that I had high hopes for Clown would be an understatement: Like little Jack in the movie, I’ve loved clowns from a young age too, so it always enthuses me when I discover a horror movie where they murder children. The need for Clown in my life was further enhanced after I watched co-writer Christopher D. Ford’s directorial debut Robot & Frank (2012), which was one of my favourite movies of that year. Jon Knotts and Christopher D. Ford are 2 filmmakers I have high hopes for, but Clown wasn’t the masterpiece I thought it was going to be.
The film is still a lot of fun, however, and, as a dark comedy it really delivers: The scene where Kent blows his brains out only to survive unharmed due to the powers of the suit is hysterical, and it’s not the only scene to muster up a few giggles. Furthermore, Peter Stormare chews scenery as the hirsute and unhinged Karlsson, providing copious amounts of entertaining eccentricity when he’s on-screen.
My only fault with Clown is I found it to be rather tame, despite the subject matter. By that, I mean I wanted to see the children murdered and eaten. Most of the horror was off-screen or cut away from. However, I was still entertained throughout and found the story and mythology of the Clown’s origins interesting. I hope they expand it to a franchise in future, because the potential is there.
Overall, Clown is a solid effort that’s worth your time. Some great atmosphere, an interesting mythology, regular laughs of the macabre variety and great performances all across the board make for a satisfying cinematic endeavour. 7/10
John Knotts & Christopher D. Ford