Every once in awhile you come across a movie that you want to be good. Circus of the Dead was shot in my hometown, and I know a lot of people that worked on it. I wanted so badly for this to be something good, but unfortunately this movie is the exact opposite. Instead of a horror movie about a creepy group of clowns terrorizing a West Texas town, you get clown gore porn. It’s not even good gore porn at that.
The film revolves around a traveling circus (as opposed to the non-traveling circuses I suppose) where you get a weird glimpse into the clowns beating a man while using the ruse of it being a part of a routine. So far so good. Almost instantly though it devolves into a horrible mixture of torture, gore, murder, mayhem, rape, baby killing, and male genitals painted like a clown. While none of those things exclusively make the movie bad (besides the rape and clown penis) this movie hinges on those things too much.
The story is wrapped around something with cards (I’m sure the movie does something with this, but honestly by the end I cared so little I don’t remember) and the clowns’ crime spree is somehow related. They murder an adulterous woman and her lover, defile her corpse, and then kidnap her husband and children. The posse of insane clowns then force the man to go along with their nefarious plans under constant threat to his children.
The group goes on to torment the father and town for what seems like 67 days (it’s probably like 2) while the police bumble about thinking that only the husband is committing everything because somehow these made-up ne’er-do-wells have learned how to cover up every single bit of evidence that they exist. They are rampaging spontaneously, but magically leave zero trace of themselves anywhere. All the mayhem and destruction culminate in them killing the children, and leaving them with their father in a mall parking lot. Of course the police show up and he is forced to kill himself because there is no way anyone would believe that he did not commit these heinous acts.
The story and execution are so bad that it almost feels like it would have been a waste of film if film were actually used. The effects aren’t half bad and very fitting for what this is. This movie has gallons and gallons of blood and gore but it serves no point at all. Maybe it was meant to shock or alarm the viewer, but it feels too forced and phony to actually be effective in that manner. The dialogue is poor at best. Kindergarteners have more interesting conversations about the taste of dirt than anything said here. The cinematography is actually surprisingly good and some of the establishing shots are quite good, but they are instantly ruined by anything that follows it. The acting is almost impossible to comment on. I can’t tell you if they did a good job or not because everything is so poorly done that these aren’t actual characters. They are just conduits for violence or victims to be preyed upon. For all I know maybe that's the point of the film. A commentary on society becoming a series of predators and prey. Who am I kidding, that would require thought, and this had none.
Ultimately, this movie feels like it's an excuse to take every decrepit and morbid scene in any horror movie, make it worse, film more of it, and call it a film. This is 1 hour and 46 minutes of your life that would actually be better spent eating paint chips or bathing in sewer water. Making a film is hard enough, but the process shouldn’t be made harder by not actually making one.
-100 random clown genitals out of 100. (-100%)