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Undead clowns

From the sublime to the ridiculous…

Technically, they're UNdead clowns

Such a promising combination–the twin horrors of z!o!m!b!i!e!s and c!l!o!w!n!s–and such bitter disappointment.

This thing is execrable.

The script is nil–hell, it’s practically a silent film–and what dialogue there is is mixed so low that you can barely hear it over the sound effects and the wretched score. There’s just enough to convey the background of the story (circus train knocked off its tracks and into the drink by a drunken tugboat captain who hits the bridge it’s crossing in the middle of a hurricane 50 years ago–all clown souls on board perish).

And it’s prolly just as well, since nobody in this film can act his or her way out of a paper bag.  

We don’t get to know any of the characters well enough to even give a shit when Bozo the Zombie or Oopsy the Undead shows up on their doorstep with a ticket to the Big Top In The Sky.

as unfunny undead as alive

You’d think that if somebody were writing a film about undead clowns that the script’s tone might be one of a rather satiric bent. Alas, not this time. It’s basically a revenge story as the clowns come back to wreak vengence on the town that never bothered to bring their bodies up from the bottom of the bay where they died, constructed out of a series of set-pieces–all of them roughly the same… Clarabell the Walking Corpse shows up and dispatches Hapless Victim. Hapless Victim, weirdly, doesn’t really try very hard to get away/is lousy at hide-and-seek/doesn’t fucking scream when s/he catches sight of a dripping, drooling, putrefying zombie clown shuffling towards ’em.

It obviously had a miniscule budget (the stock footage is obvious, the sets are spare, the sound is awful, and the zombie makeup is laughable), but there’s nothing wrong with that. Lotsa cool films are made on small budgets. This just ain’t one of ’em.

There is potential here. If somebody would take the film in a different direction, this could be quite good. I mean, there are ground-level shots of the clowns advancing on their victims: ground-level shots of big floppy shoes. Now, picture that. In a film that is out to make you laugh as much as scream, that could be a real money-shot, couldn’t it? I mean, it could be fuggin’ hilarious! But not here. Sadly, this thing is without wit and without scares and I actually fell asleep before the end. Good grief.

The trailer’s more fun than the movie…

At least I was awake for the shout-out to Lucio Fulci’s classic of the zombie genre, Zombi 2, when–in extreme close-up–one of the characters gets very slowly poked in the eye with a very sharp stick.

Which is roughly the same treatment this film gives its viewers.

(Incidentally, while we’re on the subject, here‘s a t-shirt for you, ZombieKillah.)

→ originally published 2007-09-21


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