*Welcome to the first review for DEADPUPPY horror reviews!
COULROPHOBIA – noun – Kuhl-rho-foe-bee-uh: A specific and irrational fear of clowns.
Clowns are innately creepy, yeah? They are probably one of the most feared circus/party animals on the planet, and ultimately get a bad rapport solely for trying to make children happy. They have cute face paint, big ole shoes, and a wide inviting smile…well, some of them. These guys have traded in their honky noses and polka dots for something a little more sinister and the aim of their party game isn’t to turn your frown upside down, but to cut it off your face completely.
Clown Town (Tom Nagel; 2016), centers on “a group of friends that get stranded in a seemingly deserted small town and find themselves stalked by a violent gang of psychopaths dressed as clowns.” Well, that’s how IMDB.com describes it. RottenTomatoes.com is even more vague and casual with “No results found” which means we have ourselves a bonafide, low-budget, ain’t-nobody-done-seen-it-nor-will-see-it, gem on our hands (Don’t ask me how I stumbled upon this treasure trove but it was Putlocker.is). It opens on a daisy-duke clad babysitter (go figure) as she receives threatening phone calls from an unknown caller. The tension ramps up nicely as the babysitter gets more and more scared but is cut short *SPOILERS BE NEAR* when one of the kids that was supposed to be asleep dresses up like a clown and BAM! Butcher knife to the stomach. Sounds cool right? It would have been if the practical effects were more than a plastic butcher knife and some ketchup (and if they would have given us a little bit more hang time on the climax). There was no tearing of the shirt, no skinetration (*TM mother fuckers); just a couple of hacks, some screaming, and wonky editing that cuts to black every half a frame (you’re not fooling us, we know these low-budget tricks). Anyways, on we go.
Starring the one and only Brian Nagel whom you may know as Katy Perry’s boyfriend in the “Roar” music video (I didn’t I totally had to look him up), some short film actors, and a couple scream queens, Clown Town Focuses on Brad (Nagel), his best friend Mike (Andrew Staton), his girlfriend/hopeful fiance Sarah (Lauren Compton), and Mike’s girlfriend Jill (Katie Keene) as they drive their way through bum-fuck southern Ohio on their way to an unspecified concert in Columbus they’re really excited for for another unspecified reason. Brad thinks this may be the perfect time to pop the question and present the ring he’s been carrying around in his pocket for weeks but first they need to get there. Along the way Jill loses her phone (gosh, Jill!) and they follow it to this unspecified town off a “shortcut” to the main highway the guy who answered it told them to go to. Upon arriving they find it abandoned, totes creepy, and not a bar of cell service nor person in sight. To pass the time Jill begins to smoke a smokeless, unlit joint and doesn’t even offer it to any of her friends (must be one of those vape pens). They finally decide to bounce when night falls and this is when the sub-par acting/writing starts to ramp up a little into something worth watching.
SURPRISE! The car won’t start. Why? Because an ominous clown standing blatantly yet unnoticed in the background snipped some wires. Once noticed, big strong Mike confronts him not to ask about their car but to ask where they can go to get help even though the clown is probably the culprit and he should be asserting his masculinity all over his painted face right now. The clown disappears into the darkness of the alley and the kids decide to walk their way out of town to find the highway or some bullshit. Jill is almost hit by a truck and they introduce two more characters who hence forth will be referred to as Rando #1 and Rando #2 due to their complete lack of purpose/character development aside from upping the kill count (which is quite impressive, might I add).
*SPOILERS BE NEAR* Shortly after introduction, Rando #1 is hit over the head by a clown with a crowbar who proceeds to douse him in gasoline. This is where it gets good. The clown then pulls out a handkerchief, lights that on fire, then drops it on Rando #1. What a party trick. Anywho, right after that Jill is abducted while looking for a hiding place and a couple other clowns are introduced such as Smiley Clown (main evil creepy wide grinned clown looking like Marilyn Manson circa the “Sweet Dreams” era and carries a baseball bat), Girl Clown (likes to paint the girls’ faces to make them “pretty”), Tophat Clown (wields an axe), and Strong Man Clown (who as you can guess, swings a heavy mallet of doom). They do their best to separate, abduct, trick, and ultimately kill off each character one by one. Along the way Brad realizes that fighting back is always an option seeing as how the clowns attack one at a time for half the movie and they start to gain some traction (and we get even more kills!). As you can guess it ends with an epic search and rescue mission to find Jill and ends in a pretty decent bloodbath. Throw in some town history and BOOM! You got yourself a somewhat adequate slasher film. That being said, here’s what did it for me.
I love indie horror, and pride myself on watching all these no-name movies in the hopes that one day someone will watch one of my movies and allow me the same lenience (and mainstream horror is so much miss nowadays I honestly just enjoy seeing what people can come up with on low budgets; it’s almost inspiring). But in order to accomplish low-budget effectively, there has to be another aspect of the film besides production value that the audience can cling to. A saving grace, if you will (usually the writing). I can often ignore crappy acting if the words behind it are thought out and unfortunately this is where Clown Town falls on it’s big red nose. The dialogue between the characters feels forced and completely unrealistic in the given scenarios. The entire opening of the movie drags on with cliche after cliche, and I’m all for a good cliche if it’s clever or more homage or even super over the top campy, but this film is more of a dry cliche which reflects the somewhat lazy or rushed writing of Jeff Miller; and the main actors, unfortunately seem as if they rehearsed maybe once while the grips were setting up the lights. They don’t seem to really hone into their characters aside from the surface value of the one to two tones they portray throughout the movie. Luckily for us there are 10 kills, most of which were entertaining to watch (not the babysitter though, that was rough), to distract us from the blah blahs in between.
I wouldn’t say this movie is horribly awful, but I do think the majority of people who would appreciate such a film would have to be die-hard low-budget film junkies who are just trying to watch something off the path and interesting. I wish there would have been more clown related deaths, or gags, or jokes, or something to make us laugh while we cringe because as we established earlier, clowns are scary and that’s the driving force throughout the entire movie (and Smiley Marilyn Manson clown is probably the best part). Oh yeah, there’s a twist at the end that makes the dialogue almost forgivable because it actually draws everything loosely together so at least there’s that.
Kill Count: 10
IMDB: 4/10 (220 votes)
Rotten Tomatoes: “No results found”
DEAD🐶PUPPY: 2 Homicidal Clowns / 5