You know...when I first
got a copy of "Dead Clowns", I looked at it, and all
I could think was, this is too good to be true.
Zombie clowns. Seriously.
Zombie. CLOWNS. That's what "Dead Clowns" is about.
A circus car carrying a load of clowns fell into the bay, and
fifty years later, in the midst of a hurricane, the clowns come
back from the dead to take revenge on the living who left them
buried in their watery tombs.
Now, think about this.
It's zombie clowns. Two of horror's biggest archetypes rolled
into one? It's like a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup that fits in my
DVD player and lasts for ninety minutes! You got ZOMBIES in my
evil clown movie! You got EVIL CLOWNS in my zombie movie!! Even
if this sucks it still can't be that bad! The sheer ballsy audacity
required to bring together these two elements--a move, I might
add, that has never been done before that I can recall--is a stroke
of originality unlike anything seen before.
But then, I was forced
to reconsider. An all-too-familiar name drifted by on the cast
list, and my jaw dropped. None other than one of my most reliable
bad movie barometers: Eric Spudic. Oh holy shit, I couldn't help
but think, Eric SPUDIC is in this? Every movie I've ever seen
that involved Eric Spudic in any way has been relentlessly craptacular.
So what could I do?
I held my breath and plunged on in. Either Eric Spudic would continue
to serve as a reliable indicator of a bad movie or, dammit anyway,
he would break the streak and force me to regard his presence
as merely a wild card. Either result would frankly be unpleasant;
either I would be stripped of one of my most reliable indicators
of a bad movie or I would be cheated out of what should have been
one of the best freaking movies EVER.
Sadly, Eric Spudic's
status remains unchanged. It's a downright tragedy. There's a
laundry list of problems with "Dead Clowns", and it
all boils down to the same thing:
Steve Sessions has
not one damn clue about how zombies work.
First off, zombies
don't care about damage that to them is nonfatal. They don't know
how to use tools, and they definitely can't remove a piece of
plywood nailed over a window. Sessions' zombies recoil when hit
in nonfatal-for-zombies places like legs or arms. Sessions' zombies
have mastered tool usage, which even Romero zombies had a tough
time with before they advanced (taking nearly thirty years to
do so) to the level of Big Daddy from "Land of the Dead".
Sessions' zombies even managed high-level strategic thinking like
removing barricades piece-by-piece. And don't even ask me how
they get in through otherwise locked doors. I'm beginning to wonder
if, according to Sessions, Bozo of the Dead here can pick a lock.Worse
yet, it took more than half the movie for someone, ANYONE, to
actually fight back against the zombies. Everyone else either
tried to hide or was too dumbfounded to move. No, it took some
psychopath and his lady, in the worst goth Mickey-and-Mallory
knockoff I've seen to date, to actually PULL A WEAPON on the walking
At least Sessions'
zombies manage to eat flesh. I was beginning to wonder if they'd
even bother to get THAT right.
Seriously, I'm pissed
off. This could have been UNBELIEVABLE. But no. Because Steve
Sessions is so mindlessly fucking inept that he can't even figure
out a basic zombie movie, the most incredible concept I've seen
in years is just shot all to hell and gone.
The ending...oh, the
ending. The ending has to be the most ridiculous conclusion to
a zombie movie I've ever seen. And frankly, it doesn't even make
much sense when you factor in the evil clowns, either.
The special features
include English and Spanish subtitles, and trailers for "Dead
Clowns", "Dark Ride", "Drive Thru", "Mr.
Jingles", "Grim Reaper", "Dark Harvest 3:
Scarecrow" and an advertisement for Fearnet.
All in all...well...at
least my Eric Spudic barometer still works. But this is the coldest
kind of comfort. A beautiful idea has been utterly, utterly ruined
by the most miserable execution I've seen since the last time
I put on an Ulli Lommel film. Today I mourn.
Directed by Steve Sessions
Written by Steve Sessions
Starring Debbie Rochon, Lucien Eisenach, Brinke Stevens, Eric
Produced by Carol Reordan
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