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Just a heads up, this review will include depictions of gore, partial nudity, and clowns. If those things bother you, I recommend checking out another of my reviews that don’t have those things. There will be written depictions as well as photos.
Check out the companion podcast episode for this review on your favorite podcast platform or podcatcher of your choice!
Synopsis: A guy who likes to dress up as a black and white clown chases some girls around an old abandoned building they’re only in because one of the girls had to pee.
Year Released: 2017
Director: Damien Leone
Rating: Hell No
Director: Clowns are terrifying, maybe we should give one some scalpels and tiny hatchets and see what happens
Movie people: As long as there’s a tiny tricycle involved, you can do whatever you want.
Favorite Death: This one was in competition with the funniest moment of this movie, but it’s slightly less funny so it works here better. So, there are two girls from the beginning. Dawn is a blonde just trying to have fun with Halloween, Tara is the moody girl that’s hesitant to everything. At one point, Art the Clown captures Tara and for some reason tortures her instead of killing her outright. One of the things he does to torture her is tie Dawn upside down and forces Tara to watch her die. She’s pretty much naked and, as the camera pans away Art rips off her underwear and uses a hack saw to cut her in half from her lady bits to her head. You only have to know basic anatomy and see the tiny saw he uses to know that this would have actually taken hours if he did it IRL. It’s just not logical and he could have easily used a chainsaw or something instead of a hack saw. Alas, with his silly little saw he completes the task and the sight of Dawn’s body is used as major gore for the rest of the movie.
Funniest Part: I assumed Tara was the main character until this point, but she does eventually die. When she does, however, Art the Clown takes his time. For some reason, like I stated in the last point, he tortures Tara. After she escapes though, he’s had enough and decides to shoot her. Unfortunately, the three bullets he wastes aren’t enough. When he goes to finish her off, the gun clicks and he realizes he’s out of ammo. He then gets frustrated, shakes his head a bit and, though he’s nonverbal, it’s like he’s saying “Damn, I’m out. Wait here a minute, I have to grab some more from the back, BRB.” Meanwhile Tara is just laying on the floor with bullets in her face and breathing heavily. And here’s the kicker, She actually just lays there until he comes back about 10 minutes later while we’ve watched other stuff happen. It’s ridiculous.
What they did right: This movie gets points for creativity. At one point, Art turns some dude’s head into a Jack O’ Lantern. I don’t know how or why, but he does and it’s awesome. I really love the level of gore in this movie. It’s so outrageous it makes it so clear that this is where all of the budget went rather than to the writer, set design, or actors.
Special effects and lighting: Special effects are laughable in this movie, it’s a gory film, but they put most of their money into buying fake blood rather than into the props they sprayed that blood all over. Lighting is okay, you can see what’s happening and it has that darkness most horror movies had, but it didn’t stand out enough to be mentioned.
Also, I want to mention this here because I don’t know where else to put it. There are several instances where the music is extremely loud and one part in particular where Victoria, Tara’s sister, is standing in what we assume is a windy alleyway because of the wind noises we’re hearing, but her hair and the leaves on the ground are completely still.
What I thought would happen: Honestly, this movie was so bad I didn’t even care to think of a better ending.
Interviews and Trivia were too boring to write about.
The film begins with a static-filled screen on a small TV in the center of a dark room. A woman with an extremely deformed face is being interviewed by a reporter about being the sole survivor of a massacre performed by someone known as Art the Clown. We then see someone putting on a clown suit and makeup in the same dark room as the credits roll. The figure grabs a large plastic bag as he leaves.
We then see the reporter in her dressing room talking on the phone about how ugly the woman was and telling her partner that if she ever looked like that, she’d rather be dead. Of course, because we’re not just about stigmatizing mental illness in the horror genre, we have to make a facial deformity something to be scared of as well. The woman with the deformity is stalking the reporter woman in her dressing room and after hearing her mean-hearted comment, she attacks her and deforms her face to look like hers. How ironic.
Cut to a scene of two college-aged girls walking down the street, drunk from partying and wearing Halloween costumes. For some reason, there are no men around to catcall them, no trick-or-treaters roaming the streets, no other evidence that it’s Halloween at all. They prattle on back and forth about who should drive home, but before they can decide, they spy a man with a large sack over his shoulder wearing a black and white outfit and his face painted like a clown. He smiles at them and we first experience the main villain trying to be creepy but failing. The girls then chat about the creepy stranger for a while without caring that he’s standing 20 feet away from them.
Once they realize they’re too drunk to drive, they decide to get some pizza. Of course the creepy clown follows them and proceeds to make faces at and propose to Tara with a ring from a vending machine. It’s a strange scene that I assume is supposed to represent that he likes her. Art eventually takes a trip to the bathroom, but is swiftly kicked out because he’s smeared shit all over the walls. We don’t ever find out why he did this and he never does it again, so it’s beyond me as to why this was included. The girls leave shortly after only to find their tire has been slashed and they don’t have a spare. Tara calls her sister to come save them, and while they wait, they sit in the car.
The camera then shows one of the pizza shop guys cleaning the bathroom and bitching about how unsanitary it is. He gripes to his boss as he leaves the bathroom only to find that his boss has been decapitated and his head turned into a Jack O’ Lantern. I thought this was very clever. Of course it’s Art come back for revenge(?) we’re not sure why he killed those guys. He then kills the second guy while the girls chat in their car.
As the strange scene that flits between the girls chatting about the creepy clown and Art murdering the second pizza shop worker ends, Tara states that she has to pee. I thought she might end up in the pizza shop again because there doesn’t seem to be any other establishments on that street. However, Dawn suggests she ask some strange man out for a smoke break to use the bathroom in an abandoned warehouse. He tells her he really shouldn’t let anyone in, but does it anyway because she can’t take no for an answer.
Tara and the man, there to exterminate rats, walk down to a basement where there is a disgusting bathroom. He asks her if he needs to wait for her and because she’s stupid, she says no. This sets the scene for our movie.
I’m not kidding. The entire premise of this movie is that this girl has to pee and ends up lost in an abandoned building chased by Art the Clown.
So while we’re watching Tara get lost in this building, Dawn is taking selfies in her car. On the radio, she hears that the two men from the pizza shop were found dead. Now, this is where possibly the biggest plot hole exists. The guy on the radio claims that someone found the bodies and screamed but their car is parked right outside of the shop and they never hear a scream. Also, there are no cop cars, no reporters, no ambulances. In fact, I didn’t see a car drive by the street the entire film. So how, I implore you, did the radio broadcaster know what went down before anyone arrived to make statements?
As she wanders through the building, Tara meets a woman perceived as crazy because she believes the doll she carries around to be real. She’s listed as the crazy cat lady on IMDB, but there are no cats in the movie, only their sound effects. This woman is essentially useless, but there is one really out-of-place scene where Art steals her baby and she turns it on him having never felt the touch of a mother. She cradles him while he sucks his thumb. Later though, he slices off her chest and hair and wears them himself to set a trap for Tara’s sister. So….that scene makes little to no sense because there is zero focus on the psychology of his character throughout the film.
Tara experiences some injuries including a leg injury that definitely messed up her leg enough to keep her from running away, but she does it anyway and we don’t see her limp until a few minutes after it happens. It’s never referenced again even though when she’s tied up, it could have helped her get out of her restraints. Art then tortures her with tiny saws and even tinier hatchets. He’s got all kinds of devices to slice people up with. In the end, he slices Dawn in half to torture Tara and she escapes only to be shot with far too many bullets.
Of course, just as Tara dies, her sister Victoria shows up to save them. Somehow, she instinctively knows where they are, what the car they’re driving looks like, and what building they’re in. She pounds on the large doors to the warehouse, calls her sister, and is sent a text (from Art via Tara’s phone) to come around the back. This is slightly confusing because later a secondary exterminator claims all of the doors are locked. I’m not really sure, who even cares at this point. This is the swiss cheese of movies right now.
So Victoria goes in to save Tara, finds Dawn, screams a bit, and then finds what she thinks is Tara. Turns out it’s Art wearing the crazy cat lady’s hair and boobs. Yeah.
So he chases her into a closet, meanwhile dancing around naked seemingly referencing Buffalo Bill as he spooks her through a flimsy door and keyhole. She then escapes the closet, and through a series of running scenes and finding her sister dead, bloody, and propped up on a chair with a large sign that for some reason says “Circus,” she is attacked by Art.
Little do they know, the first exterminator guy shows up from literally no where and attacks Art enough to get away with Victoria. I get that the movie was trying to do the whole “hey, you forgot about this character that’s going to eventually save the protagonist” thing, but they really screwed that one up because he wasn’t even an important enough character for us to care about when he saved Victoria. I mean, for goodness sake, when the crazy cat lady came up to him at one point, claiming there was a dead woman in the basement, he didn’t believe her, even though he had never seen this woman before and knew a teenage girl was down there using the bathroom.
His idiocy is further proven when he takes precautions to lock himself and Victoria in a room away from Art and calls the police. The operator is completely professional and the call goes like you might expect. Except when she says that she wants him to stay on the line until the police arrive, he gets flustered and says something like “I don’t have time to wait around for the cops, I’m taking this woman to the emergency room!” The scene then becomes pointless because if that was his plan all along, he just wasted 20 minutes barricading the two of them in a room with no outside door.
In the end, the exterminators both die and Victoria is the lone survivor to outrun Art in his strange game of cat and mouse in an abandoned warehouse with extremely flimsy locked doors.
He catches up to her, of course, and nearly kills her when he hits her with a car and then, though there’s no evidence of him doing this before, EATING HER FUCKING FACE OFF. I don’t…I just….I just don’t know.
The cops show up just in time to see the face eating happen in real time and while he chomps away, they tell him to show his hands. He, being a clown (I guess?) pulls a secret gun from his shoe and blows his own brains out.
The EMTs take the bodies they’ve found to a morgue that is, for some reason, in a basement full of posters, terrible lighting, and odd unsanitary walls. As they tell the coroner what the bodies are from, we see one of them make this face when he assures them the bodies will be nothing compared to what he’s seen. That’s not important, I just wanted you to know because I thought it was hilarious.
Of course, because it’s a horror movie, Art isn’t really dead and he chokes out the coroner after the body bag is opened and the movie ends.
Turns out, in the end, Victoria is the woman interviewed at the beginning of the movie so it’s somewhat cyclical. However, during that scene, he’s gearing up to start the movie so I’m not sure if he has a TV that shows the future, or the writers couldn’t come up with something better.
To put it plainly, this movie is a disaster. However, it was inspired by a short film, so to give it as much credit as I could, I watched the short film. It actually made sense of some of the more confusing elements of the film.
It made sense of the bathroom scene in the pizza place, the “CIRCUS” sign, the tiny hacksaw, the deformed face, and a lot more. The movie didn’t do the short film justice and I’m kinda bummed it didn’t keep some stuff. Either way, I highly recommend giving the short film a watch if you don’t want to watch the shitty movie they expanded it into. Here’s a link for that.
Last Week’s Review: The Chernobyl Diaries
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