Dead Clowns
Dead Clowns

Posted by Maggot Man
Released on: 2003

First of all, I deny the rumor that I've spent the last year as ingénue prison bitch in the local jail following some misunderstanding over Internet usage and free speech. I mean, who woulda thought it was now illegal to express a desire to be the meat in a Bush Twins sandwich thanks to one of those Presidential Signing Statements? Well, I know it now. Uh, but I categorically deny that I haven't been posting my reviews because I was defending my virtue in the prison shower. I was, uh, dead. Yeah, that's it—I died and came back as our token reviewer zombie.

Which is apropos since the first of this month's Doctor Cinema offerings was a piece of DVD snake scat called "Dead Clowns". A better title would have been "Dead Careers". Here is the plot in a nutshell: Because the community of Port Emmett failed to acknowledge condolences or culpability over the loss by drowning of an entire circus train during a 1950s hurricane, the clowns of that ill-fated troupe come back from the dead during another hurricane to wreak havoc upon the terrified populous. Knowing that, you can pass on the movie and the rest of this review and be wiser for doing both.

There were moments of cinematic brilliance, though that's like saying Paris Hilton displays moments of talent not involving swallowing the sausage. By and large, however, this movie was a dull plod thru a sunless land. The dialog sounded like it had been mumbled into a box, the slicing and dicing of various victims looked like Iron Chef outtakes, the special effects mostly lame or glossed over with grainy filtering, the character selection inexplicable and the de rigueur "solution" for warding off said dead clowns en mass completely contrived. Most disappointing to YASZ, who spent the entire evening revisiting the issue like a fat middle-aged housefrau returning to where she first got laid in junior high, was the fact that these zombie clowns had no clown car to pile out of. He just couldn't let go, reading and rereading the advertising blurb about a carload of clowns drowning in the hurricane. Get over it, YASZ—they meant TRAIN car, not CLOWN car.

We were left with a whole lot of questions. Why did the director pass up the obvious opportunity to satirize the hurricane television ritual of sending a reporter out into the storm by offing the weatherman on screen? Why was an Aussie cast as a councilwoman and tasked with the formulistic exposition upon the clown curse? Why did the producers think we wanted to see mostly old people slaughtered? Why did they think the audience would automatically identify with, and buy an emotional stake into the survival of, a priest killing goth couple, a coke-snorting shopping mall guard, a wheel-chair bound vent-crawling coward or a twenty-something broad in an oversized sweater who looked like she'd normally be spending the evening curled up with a Häagen-Dazs container reading Emily Dickinson. Why did the movie miss the very obvious chance to have the hot blonde with big tits utter and act upon the line every red blooded male movie fan was aching for: "There's a terrible hurricane outside. I think I'll take a shower and slowly run a sponge over myself." How can the same movie that had reasonably good rotting zombies and an acceptable eyeball chomping murder give us nothing else but stock special effects. Why did the editor not recognize there's a difference between building suspense and building tedium? Were there too-clever-by-half homages to Emmett Kelly with the town name and to clown noses by selecting the distinctly beaked actress who played the distaff half of our Natural Born Killers duo? Was by having so many old people eaten by zombies a subtle dig at senior citizen besetting all-you-can-eat buffets? Why didn't lion tamers, or ringmasters or side-show freaks come back from the dead as well (and don't tell me it was because they couldn't get "Dead Clowns and Lion Tamers and Ringmasters and Side-Show Freaks" on the movie marquee ‘cause this had direct to video written all over it)? Why drop the time displays that popped up on the screen for the pre-hurricane part of the movie? Why did we watch this entire movie when by the first killing it had descended into Fred Thompson-like somnolence? And why did YASZ know the line the mall security guard was snorting was made of sugar?.

And why NOT a clown car?.

Rating: My rating on the 2007 NFL Season scale (Worst equals the Miami Dolphins, best equals New England Patriots, (oh-excuse-me-did-I-say-the-New-England-chokin'-Patriots-I-meant-the-New-York-Giants))—St Louis Rams.

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