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Back in 1954, an accident involving a railway train killed a bunch of clowns. Now, possibly because they've been roiled up by stock footage of hurricanes, the dead clowns (who apparently traveled in full costume and make-up) rise to stalk the seven or so people who live in the nearby town. To make matters worse, a pair of serial killers have taken refuge from the storm in the same community.

To make matters worst, no one involved in this film had even the slightest idea what in hell they were doing.

Seriously, how did they so entirely screw up this film? No one expects a low budget production called Dead Clowns to be a cinematic masterpiece, but it could have been a fun, scary cheapie.

The premise suits a low-budget, indie horror movie. You don't need much in the way of money to make zombie clowns. You just need some zombie walk make-up, a few inventive ideas and a couple competent actors. An isolated location where something sinister happened decades ago. Zombies. Clowns. Scared people. Dark shadows. Sure, throw in some serial killers, too. Pass me another drink; we shoot in ten. This should have worked, at least a little bit.

Think of the possibilities for rampaging zombie clowns. What would you put in your movie about rampaging zombie clowns? Got an idea, something that might work in such a film?

Well, the makers of Dead Clowns didn't think of that idea.

They interrupt the tedious pace of their narrative with some standard creepy dark shots and some clowns chawing down on body parts but, really, the Zeebo the Clown episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? holds more terror.

Acting is poor. The actors playing the visiting killers attempt character. Everyone else appears to be recalling the lines while in drug-induced dissociative states.

Production values are abysmal. Go to Youtube. Search for the most recent video uploaded with, say, "wedding" or "sleepover" or "kitten" in its title. Play. What you are watching has higher production values than Dead Clowns. It probably has a more coherent plot. You likely care more about the characters.

The artist hired to sell the film appears to be the only one involved who had any talent or imagination. The poster/product cover features a suitably creepy image that lives up to the expectations one might have for a film called Dead Clowns. A sinister, axe-wielding clown stalks the viewer. Behind him looms the rusting carcass of an amusement park. Unfortunately, nothing approximating that image appears anywhere in this film.

I have watched some bad films before. Werewolf versus Vampire Women, for example, comes to mind. Several really bad home movies. Oh, and the Star Wars prequels. Of all the films that I have seen that actually received distribution, this is the worst. It even fails to entertain as bad cinema. Dead Clowns would have improved significantly if they had run out of film sooner. This Halloween, avoid Dead Clowns. Avoid it now. Avoid it often.

This has been a public service announcement.



Dead Clowns (2004)

Directed and written by Steve Sessions

Lucien Eisenach as Thrill Killer/Clown
Jenn Ruliffson as Thrill Killer/Clown
Jeff Samford as Lou
Eric Spudic as Timmy/Clown
Debbie Rochon as some woman they didn't bother to name
Brinke Stevens as Lillian
Will Riordan as Darrin
Jeff Dylan Graham as Night Watchman
Robyn Griggs as Camille
Kimberly L. Cole as Councilwoman
Krystal Stevenson as some woman with shotgun, who also doesn't get a name

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