Dead Clowns (2004) half brain

Clowns can be scary or funny. Zombies can be scary or funny. If you put them together, you would think that could be really scary or funny. In Dead Clowns, however, the combination is just sort of pathetic. Maybe it was because the funny from the clown and the scary from the zombie cancelled each other out: too brightly dressed to be scary, and too bloodthirsty to be funny. Or maybe it was just that this movie had almost no atmosphere or plot. Most of the characters in this movie spend it by themselves, so there's very little dialog. It may be that writer/director Steve Sessions thought this would generate a tense silence in which evil zombie clowns would be stalking their victims, but instead it just generates long boring stretches interrupted by clowns coming after someone we don't really know and don't really care about. The movie takes place during a hurricane, which I guess is supposed to add to the tension, but splicing in stock hurricane footage does not tension make.

The one notable exception to the pervasive silence is the appearance of Brinke Stevens, playing a character returning to her home town after a long absence, and telling her husband about the tragic drowning death of a train full of clowns when she was a little girl. Shortly after this story she gets killed, though, so it's sad that Sessions managed to get Brinke Stevens in his film only to waste her on brief exposition. The movie also contains Debbie Rochon, who I honestly think didn't utter a single word the whole movie. I'm not sure she even screamed. Again, a waste of someone with the title "scream queen."

There are several different characters in the movie with the potential to be interesting. There's a criminal couple on the run, a guy in a wheelchair, a druggie security guard, and a silent woman (Rochon), among others. I kept thinking that at some point they would all band together to fight off the zombie menace, but instead, for the most part, each substory stays in its own world, wasting another opportunity to generate some interest.

The last thing that might have saved this movie was the special effects, but Dead Clowns doesn't really deliver there, either. There are a couple of inventive ideas, but they were more than counterbalanced by fake-looking masks and the rarity of even seeing a clown clearly.

Movies at this level of budget need to rely on the writing or the gore, and unfortunately this movie delivers on neither. Other than the novel idea of zombie clowns, this movie has almost nothing going for it.