This review is based on an advance screening copy, the effects and a few rough edges were still being polished prior to general release.
Todd Sheets (Losing It At The Devil’s Whorehouse, House of Forbidden Secrets) pretty much defines the spirit of indie horror. He’s been making his films his way since the early days of SOV horror. He’s also frequently distributed them himself too, as anyone who remembers the ads in Fangoria, Film Threat, etc knows. He’s also one of the few names from the SOV era who’s still regularly putting new films out, the most recent being CLOWNADO.
A love triangle turned deadly leaves Savanna (Rachel Lagen) the prisoner of her husband Big Ronnie (John O’Hara) the lead clown in the Circus of A Thousand Wonders. Another circus worker Autumn Moonspell (porn legend Jeanne Silver) helps her escape and casts a spell on Ronnie and his crew. But it has some very unexpected effects. As any horror fan knows, the clowns aren’t going to rest peacefully.
As a storm blows in, and worse things with it a small group of survivors including a stripper (Dilynn Fawn Harvey DREAMING PURPLE NEON, HI-DEATH), a runaway (Sierra Stodden), a black Elvis impersonator (Antwoine Steele, FINAL CALLER, ZOMBIE RAMPAGE 2) and an all-round badass (Bobby Westrick)
If you’ve seen any of Todd’s films then you know to expect intense amounts of gore. Done, of course, with old fashioned practical effects. CLOWNADO does not disappoint in that department. Faces are peeled off, bowels are disemboweled, and heads are torn off in graphic detail. And that’s just scratching the surface, this is a major gorefest. Take that as a recommendation or warning as you will. The storm effects are a bit of a mixed bag however. The film’s publicity says it uses “old school styled Visual Effects”. And just as in the old days, they don’t always work.
The plot itself isn’t meant to be taken overly seriously, and that is a change from the director’s usual style. CLOWNADO is a chance for him to loosen up and have some fun while paying tribute to everything from KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE to MAUSOLEUM and KILL BILL. The cast, thankfully, is in on it. There are genre vets Linnea Quigley (HOOKER WITH A HACKSAW, NECROLOGIES) and Eileen Dietz (THE EXORCIST, ITSY BITSY)in cameos. Joel D. Wynkoop (TASTE ME: DEATH-
Among the main cast,
While lacking the constant suspense and scares of BONEHILL ROAD or HOUSE OF FORBIDDEN SECRETS, CLOWNADO is an enjoyable, blood-soaked love letter to the genre. It’s nice to see Todd try something a bit different and have some fun.
CLOWNADO is currently heading to the festival circuit. You can keep updated on where it will be playing via its Facebook page.