Sometimes being a good dad really doesn’t work out. Sometimes it turns you into a child-eating demon.

Apparently the fear of clowns is due to the portrayal of clowns in popular media. Nobody found them particularly creepy until Pennywise and the Killer Klowns From Outer Space came around. And of course that freaky puppet from Poltergeist. In truth the Killer Clown sub-genre has not been prolific and many names worth mentioning most people would not have heard of (Killjoy, anyone?).

But perhaps that is the thing about demonic clowns: it doesn’t take a lot of imagination or cultural references to get the picture of that jolly, red-nosed joker being up to no good.

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Yet what if they are actually a child-eating demon? Yup, we’ve been there – Pennywise from It is the ultimate tike-gobbling clown in movies. But I feel the lead monster in Clown would have taken that spot, were it not relegated straight to DVD. Yet this movie was not banished from the big screen because of a lack of quality or execution. No, I suspect many studios simply didn’t want to put this out there with their name on it given the child predator undertones that pop up. That is a pity, because I haven’t enjoyed a horror this much in quite some time.

The movie starts with a birthday party. The clown booked for the event cancels at the last minute and someone’s very attractive wife is moaning over the phone at their husband about the problem. The hubby, name Kent, is a real estate agent and is busy sorting out some deceased man’s house. The man had a collection of costumes and inside one box Kent finds a clown outfit. He puts it on, rushes home and saves the day.

Great job, dad! Sadly, it would be the biggest mistake he’s made.

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The suit and wig won’t come off. Kent’s rather goofy attempts at fixing this are quite funny, but soon enough you are invested in his panic. It really refuses to budge – in fact, it appears to be growing tighter. Nobody believes him and when he finds someone who does, they try and kill him. Not to spoil more plot points, but this clown suit is really bad news and will slowly transform Kent into something very horrific. He’s also gained a serious hunger and there is only one thing that can quell the rumblings: children.

Clown is many things. It has funny moments, creepy moments and straight-up WTF moments. It has no fear to act weird: in one scene Kent tries to fix his situation by blowing his brains out. That fails – the clown is almost unkillable – but the resulting brain matter against the wall looks a little bit like an explosion of confetti. That may sound funny and it kinda is. But this is not a movie that tries to make you giggle. It also has some rather uncomfortable moments – while the audience can sympathise with Kent’s dilemma, it’s unnerving when he starts giving children hungry looks.

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In fact, Clown takes itself seriously. It grabs the modern clown concept and retroactively applies that to the demonic mythology the movie crafted. So the clown’s gore looks a bit like a party trick because that’s what a clown is. Even the red nose is explained and it would all be laughable if the movie didn’t sell the premise so well. As the audience you really believe the story they tell: that the clown is really an ancient demonic creature that we have just soften into a modern icon. Other movies have tried the same thing with characters like the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus, but Clown pulls it off so much better.

I agree with some criticism that the third act is a tad flat, but this doesn’t rob the overall sensation of the movie. It’s well acted and whenever the main character does something stupid, you can relate. After all, how would you panic if the thing you are wearing is turning you into a child-eating monster? One can only hope this movie gains traction: the clown is a scary creature and a welcome addition to horror’s rogue’s gallery.

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Last Updated: March 19, 2015

Summary
9

James

A total movie glutton, nothing is too bad or too obscure to watch, unless it's something like The Human Centipede. If you enjoyed that, there is something wrong with you. But bless you anyway - even video nasties need love...

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