Ambush Bug here, shamelessly donning my Ringmaster top hat to put the spotlight on a special series of AICN HORROR: ZOMBIES & SHARKS columns—Send in the Clowns! I’m posting one last Send in the Clowns column before heading out to SDCC this year!
To celebrate the news that my new circus horror comic, PIROUETTE from Black Mask Studios is available for order in July’s Diamond Previews (item code JUL140937), I am going to be taking an extensive look at all kinds of clown horrors in film and other media over the next few weeks.
PIROUETTE is a comic I’ve been developing for a quite a while with interior art from the fantastic Carlos Granda and a first issue cover by Ale Garza. The story is described as Raised from infancy by duplicitous clowns who entertain by day and menace by night, Pirouette dreams of washing the paint from her face and escaping to a better life far away from her cruel circus family… because when the spotlights dim and the crowds disperse, the clown princess’ big-top dreams give way to a nightmarish world of monsters with painted smiles. The book hits all of the coolest of cool comic shops in September, but you’ve got to tell your store owner to order it now in order to get it!
I can’t wait for folks to see the book which I promise is filled with big top terror and death-defying danger. In the coming weeks, I’ll share some behind the scenes stuff about PIROUETTE at the top of each of these “Send in the Clowns” columns along with a look at some cinematic examples of Coulrophobia (the fear of clowns) and try to get to the bottom of why clowns are so damn scary!
Next is pair of lost gems full of clownie terror! 100 TEARS is one was under my radar when it was first released, but doing some research on clown horror films, a lot of folks pointed me in its direction and it’s definitely something unique. And while KLOWN KAMP MASSACRE is not necessarily a good film, it is horrific in its own special way. Check out what I had to say about both below!
Director’s Cut available for the first time this week from MVD Entertainment Group!
100 TEARS (2007)Directed by Marcus Koch
Written by Joe Davison
Starring Georgia Chris, Joe Davison, Raine Brown, Kibwe Dorsey, Rod Grant, Norberto Santiago, Jerry Allen, Jeff Dylan Graham, Krystal Badia, Clayton T. Smith Jr., Chris Antilian, Jeremy King, Christopher Jacobson, Leslie Crytzer, & Jack Amos as Gurdy the Clown!
Find out more about this film here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug
Though the production values are pretty low here, 100 TEARS’ story is a potent one. Sure there are issues with sound, acting, lighting, and some editing flubs here and there, but the story itself is rock-solid incorporating a lot of themes into one potent clownie cocktail.
Gurdy the Clown was a happy clown who fell in love with the strongman’s girl. When he is wrongly accused of raping her, Gurdy strikes back; murdering the girl and the strongman…and he hasn’t stopped killing since. Known to the press as the Teardrop Killer, two detectives track Gurdy and prove to be one clown shoe behind him all the way.
Basically, this is the bare bones set up to a simple revenge story, but really 100 TEARS serves as an excuse to see a clown with a meat cleaver slice and dice his way through tons and tons of people in an ultra-gory fashion. Blood is shed in copious amounts and guts and brains are minced, whacked, hacked, and chopped with reckless abandon. Though he speaks very little in this film, the sheer brutality that Gurdy unleashes speaks volumes for the rage he feels about being done wrong so long ago. From a guts and gore standpoint, this film is tops, doing things I haven’t seen in gore films before and stuff that would make Tom Savini and anyone who loves his work (and who doesn’t?) smile from ear to ear.
While simplistic, this clown done wrong story is solid. Despite the fact that a lot of the actors delivering the lines are a smidge above non-actor status, the fact that Joe Davison’s story is so strong makes up for it. Showcasing just enough clown rampages throughout the film to keep things interesting, we don’t linger on moments on high drama. It’s merely a clown with a big ass cleaver swinging it and hitting paydirt in gory, gory ways. Davison gives the tale a little oompf in the latter half introducing a Harley Quinn-esque sidekick character for Gurdy which makes the whole thing sort of comic booky, but doesn’t derail the film too much.
So yes, the line delivery is often flat and the sound cuts out from time to time, but director Marcus Koch fills 100 TEARS with so much mayhem that I was forgiving to its faults. With a cool after credits sequence, lots of guts and grue, and some quality shots of clowns at their creepiest, this indie flick is definitely worth a look see for those who love the clownie horror subgenre. This director’s cut is released for the first time this week and has two behind the scenes docs and a director’s commentary track for bonus clownie fun.
Available on DVD from Troma and on Netflix here!
KLOWN KAMP MASSACRE (2010)Directed by Phillip Gunn & David Valdez
Written by Phillip Gunn & David Valdez
Starring Jared Herholtz, Ross Kelly, Ashley Bryce, Isaac Kappy, Miguel Martinez, Lloyd Kaufman
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here!
Reviewed by Ambush Bug
This movie frightened me. I’ve never really had a fear of clowns. I know a lot of folks do have the phobia and I always found the fear to be pretty irrational. But after sitting through KLOWN KAMP MASSACRE, I kind of understand where the fear comes from. I’m not going to leap up and down screaming that this is a good film, but it does contain some scenes of utter depravity and damn creepy clowning around. Though amateur, there’s something maniacally off kilter about this film, as if the minds behind it were off kilter themselves, or maybe they’re just really good at depicting off kilter things. Either way, the experience wasn’t necessarily a great one, but KLOWN KAMP MASSACRE leaves an impact.
The story follows a failed clown named Edwin who was humiliated on the day of his graduation from Clown Camp. In retaliation, he returned and killed his entire graduating class in various clowny ways. The thing that makes this film stand out among other gimmicky serial killer yarns is that it is an almost line by line homage to the original FRIDAY THE 13TH. Fans of the original slasher opus will be able to recite lines almost exactly in the early moments of the film. Unfortunately, like a lot of Troma films, things derail at the end into a chaotic hodge podge of the weird, the depraved, and the odd, in the end chucking conventional storytelling in favor of the over the top showmanship that often goes hand in hand with a film produced by the age-old company.
So if you’re a fan of Troma, you’ll find KLOWN KAMP MASSACRE right up your alley. Had they continued to follow the original format of doing a shot for shot remake of FRIDAY THE 13th with the only distinction that it’s filmed at a clown camp, I would have liked this film better. As is, it’s entertaining, but ends rather limply--but the clowns, especially Edwin, are creepy as hell.
And finally…here’s the creepy clown of the day!
SPLASH AREA: NIGHT OF THE FREAKS/CLOWN HUNT
DOLL-BOY/ALL HALLOW’S EVE
THE DEVIL’S CARNIVAL
FEAR OF CLOWNS I & II
CIRCUS OF THE DEAD
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Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole/wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of AICN COMICS for over 12 years & AICN HORROR for 3. Follow Ambush Bug on the Twitters @Mark_L_Miller. Don’t forget to order his new comic PIROUETTE from July’s Diamond Previews (item code JUL14 0937) today!