By Dr. Zaius
Friday, October 7th, 2016 at 3:59 pm
Clowntown DVD | Amazon Video
Director: Tom Nagel
Writer: Jeff Miller
Starring Brian Nagel, Lauren Elise, Katie Keene, David Greenhouse, Chris Hahn, Ryan Pilz
Theatrical release date: September 30, 2016
Release date: October 4, 2016
Distributor: ITN Distribution
Put on your local news and you may hear reports that sound straight out of horror movies: menancing clowns haunting the streets throughout the United States. As many as 12% of adults in the country suffer from coulrophobia, AKA the fear of clowns. For many, it starts as children. It did for me. I hated the circus growing up and NEVER wanted my face painted at carnivals or birthday parties. And then in 1990 Stephen King’s classic novel IT was turned into a two-part TV-movie and a new generation was exposed to a crippling fear thanks to Pennywise the clown (Tim Curry). Clowns have been a staple of the horror genre for years, and this Halloween season, there is a new film ready to feast on the fears of movie watchers: Clowntown.
Clowntown is written by genre veteran Jeff Miller (Axe Giant/Head Cheerleader Dead Cheerleader) and directed by first-time full-length director Tom Nagel. It is a story that is tried and true in the horror genre. A group of young friends are traveling to a concert when a missing phone and a broken down car lead the group to a mostly abandoned town where — you guessed — scary clowns haunt the streets. While the plot and style are straight formula, the tension involved comes from the clowns, who are excellent.
The three main clowns in the film are almost totally silent and yet silence leads to menacing. Played by Ryan Pilz, David Greathouse, and Chris Hahn, the clowns are easily the most effective part of the film, particularly Greathouse who reminded me of Marilyn Manson, if the rocker went even crazier. Aside from the clowns, there really isn’t much there to be excited about. The acting is wooden. The script lacks in explanation and the backstory barely makes sense. Also, for a film called Clowntown, there could’ve been more than a handful of clowns. A legitimate town filled with clowns might be my greatest fear on Earth, and this unfortunately was not that.
In the end, the title will sell you on this film. If you love IT, Stitches, Killer Klowns From Outer Space, and movies of that ilk, then check out Clowntown to fill your face-painted maniac plate. If you’re seeking the next great horror masterpiece, then recommendation to avoid. But horror fans more than other genre fans are willing to sit through schlocky fun. You can catch Clowntown at the upcoming FEARnyc festival from October 21st to October 27th or right now on DVD and Video On Demand.