Circus of the Dead

     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%)




Write a comment


  • 3Guys1Mic (Thursday, October 26 17 02:04 am EDT)


  • Bud (Thursday, October 26 17 08:19 am EDT)

    Did you even see the movie? Bad reviews are what make me want to see movies, critics are almost always wrong and this case is no different. I'm sorry it doesn't fit your Hollywood approved niche of rob zombie crap. And you're a local?! What a piece of trash to sell out your home town with this garbage review.

  • Juan (Thursday, October 26 17 09:27 am EDT)

    I guess clowns scared the critic that he had to write such a menacing review. The Circus of the Dead takes you back to ol days of cinema, true killers are Frightening enough but put the clown make up on and it becomes terrifying. The gore scenes give you the insight and pleasure that the clowns enjoy their craft. Circus of the Dead gives you a thrilling escape of the Hollywood nonsense they put out. Careful how you criticize the Clowns may appear!

  • Heather (Thursday, October 26 17 09:49 am EDT)

    I got o check this one out before it's mass release (reviewed it for a site I write). I whole heartedly disagree with your take on this one. It's well acted with an ex emotionally strong performance by the amazing Bill Oberst Jr, as Papa Corn. He is a standout, but not alone as the whole crew of psychopathic clowns is spot on in performance. They are cohesive, creepy and fun as he'll for hardcore horror fans! Yes this is a dark, dirty film but what the hell is wrong with that? Many horror fans want variety in horror, they do t want to be told they can only watch pg13. This film has it's place in horror, and it's deep in the hearts if countless fans who have seen, bought, supported, and are already asking when COTD 2 is coming!
    So sorry if this one wasn't your cup of tea, but in the world of indie horror and it's fans you will find yourself (and you views) in the minority....

  • Will Fix (Thursday, October 26 17 10:15 am EDT)

    I don’t agree at all, this is a case where I wonder about the person doing the review, there seems to be a disconnect :-)

  • Megatron (Thursday, October 26 17 10:34 am EDT)

    If you know the people who made the film. When even bother putting your two cents in. If your from Odessa then who are you. No one fucking special comes from Odessa and trust me you aren’t anythinh special. You are and actual waste of space and your review is nothing compared to the movie. You aren’t understanding that this isn’t your regular cult film.
    It’s a home grown project out of the directors pocket. If you can’t even respect the fact that it was made out of pure imagination, then obviously you don’t have one.
    You are a trash reviewer and a fucking troll. Get a real job you fucking wanker

  • Something Clever (Thursday, October 26 17 11:37 am EDT)

    The weird cult following of this movie is out for blood, Sterling. Lots and lots of fake blood! It's okay that something you guys like isn't all that good. Let him have his opinion!

  • CHRISTIAN (Thursday, October 26 17 01:41 pm EDT)

    WOW! It must be nice to be SO talented! I can only assume you're movies are cinematic masterpieces. Please tell me the titles so I can watch them.
    Unless of course you're just another critic ( opinionated non-achiever, or non-attempter)
    Thanks for your input. Please keep in mind many people put thier heart, time and money into a LOCAL film. As I'm sure you have.

  • Final Girl (Thursday, October 26 17 02:15 pm EDT)

    Movie reviews are just that. A person who watches a movie and gives their opinion based on their perspective. It's been a thing for quite some time. There are even famous reviewers. To comment on the "sell out" thing. I would consider one more of a sell out for saying a movie they though was trash was good only for the simple fact that they are both from the same town. That was just a sad insult from someone offended by a review. Leaving your own opinions on the film while not attacking the reviewer would be the way to go here. Now, about the movie: I'll keep it simple as to not be attacked by those involved in it. Not a fan.

  • Tom (Thursday, October 26 17 02:50 pm EDT)

    I sense a lot of but hurt. Sterling is giving his opinion idiots. Glad he's getting all you guys to read his reviews. Keep up the good work man! You're doing something right!!

  • Sam (Thursday, October 26 17 02:59 pm EDT)

    I agree with the review. I've seen a lot of movies in my day but that was something else. What a self indulgent piece of crap. I would rather tongue my grandfathers asshole than watch that film again and that's saying something because i've licked my grandfathers asshole!

  • Jess (Thursday, October 26 17 03:04 pm EDT)

    Sounds like Mr "Bloody Bill" sent his dogs to attack someone who wrote his (well-written) opinion on a movie that sounds like a played out garbage b movie. Don't you have better things to do?

    Also, Megatron must be from Midland...

  • Benmont (Thursday, October 26 17 03:08 pm EDT)

    These comments are getting ridiculous. You know the feeling when your stomach is cramped and bloated and you're not sure why. You try to pass gas to relieve some of the pressure but it won't happen. You give in and decide to go with the nuclear option. Surely, a bowel movement will relieve the pressure. You drop trou and sit there and it feels like the end is finally in sight. There's a light at the end of the tunnel. You push and push and finally something starts to give and you think you just might find some relief! but nope. a tiny fecal pebble feebly escapes your clenching sphincter only to get caught in the dense forest of ass hair. You shake, you wiggle, you try to dislodge the dingleberry but its no use. You have no choice but to wipe and just mash it around your ass crack until you just can't wipe anymore. the toilet paper streaked brown and red. the seat wet, with the sweat and tears of a man defeated. You finally find the will to hoist yourself back up onto your feet and you realize you're still bloated and still cramping. The only thing that changed is you now have haemorrhoids. That's basically how I felt about the movie as well. An hour and a half long ordeal that I wish never happened but can never take back and we're all worse off for it.

  • MyOpinionMatters! (Thursday, October 26 17 03:26 pm EDT)

    So wait,
    People outside of this circle-jerk bubble of a town don't like this movie!?!
    But my friend did a thing on this movie so obviously the reviewer is wrong!
    God-forbid I let someone else voice their opinion.
    Movie sucked.
    Get over it.

  • Smashing her with the floppy (Thursday, October 26 17 03:26 pm EDT)

    I pooped myself and taped it to the wall.

  • Butthurt Billy (Thursday, October 26 17 03:40 pm EDT)

    Watching people "attack" the reviewer for "attacking" their movie is 100x more entertaining than the movie itself.
    I give the comments 4 out of 5 butthurts.
    The movie gets 1 out of 5.

  • Hollywood director man (Thursday, October 26 17 03:48 pm EDT)

    hello yes I am Hollywood director man. I would like go on record for say of that Circus of the Dead is in fact a movie ok. it has all sign of be movie. it shot film. it have beginning. best boy. assistant Hollywood director man. all the classic trait of be movie film. but it bad. clown is for scaring of children and those with heart weakness. you know what scary? bears. bears is scary. also, a mortgage with inflating rate of interest. 1/5 gold coin of success.

  • movielife (Thursday, October 26 17 04:18 pm EDT)

    You know, this whole thing reminds me of something my good friend Childish Gambino once said. Stay woke, friends.

  • John (Thursday, October 26 17 05:23 pm EDT)

    It must make me ask if the reviewer is in fact a horror fan. Most of the things listed as what bothered you are usually high points for many horror films. I for one enjoyed the film and cant wait to see what Bloody Bill does next.

  • Rusty shackleford (Monday, October 30 17 05:15 am EDT)

    This movie must actually be terrible if it triggered people this much. If your art sucks dont ruin your personal clout by acting like a child. Just do better work.

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