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Review: CLOWNADO (2018)

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 whose 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.

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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-around badass (Bobby Westrick) are going to have to make a stand against evil.

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 disembowelled, 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.

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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-SCORT SERVICE PART 3 I DARED YOU! TRUTH OR DARE 5) shows up in time for the big finish.

Among the main cast, Wesrick does his best to evoke the memory of Roddy Piper as the macho lead. Lagen is fun as the femme fatale responsible for it all. But it’s Harvey’s jaw-dropping bump and grind entrance, (and manner of dealing with an out of line patron), that really stands out. This woman has the looks and moves to be a genuine B movie star.

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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.

Where to watch Clownado
Our Score

6 thoughts on “Review: CLOWNADO (2018)”

  1. Thank you so much Jim!!! This is an Advanced Screening version of the film, and some of those visual effects are still being refined and worked on as I type this… but I am so glad you had fun with this one!!!!

  2. Hmmm,the cheetah bet me 5 bucks that Todd would hate our review… thinks we’ll leave this one alone,Jim!

  3. Sheila Brandon-Allen

    Thank you so much for the awesome review! It was an honor to be a part of this film, and reviews like this make me feel good!

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