“Clownado”. There. I typed it. Where do I begin?
Indie auteur, Todd Sheets’ new love letter to coulrophobia, “Clownado” is a film whose very premise is rooted in absurdity. Luckily, for fans of balls-out, over the top gore, and ultra-violent fun, Sheets absolutely wallows in that absurdity by playing things completely straight, and rubbing the viewer’s nose in the fact that they are, indeed, watching a film about a tornado full of evil clowns.
Sadistic circus owner Big Ronny (played by the gleefully evil John O’Hara) catches his cheating wife Savannah (Rachel Lagen) and her boyfriend, in the midst of their plan to abscond with his hard earned cash. What’s an old clown to do? Murder and an extended spousal punishment set the stage for Savannah to enlist the help of a gypsy witch. Soon a revenge spell results in the titular “clownado”, and a cadre of supernatural, homicidal clowns are unleashed upon a small, Southern town.
Bambi the stripper (frequent Sheets collaborator Dilynn Fawn Harvey), African-American Elvis, Dione (Antwoine Steele), homespun hero, Hunter (Bobby Westrick) and teen runaway, Rachel (Sierra Stodden) are running for their lives from the grease painted ghouls.
Sheets always, and I mean always, delivers the Fulci-esque gore in spades, but, what good is all that splatter without an actual story? Well, clown freaks, what we have here is fun, relatable characters, and a plot that, while it won’t put a strain on your brain, definitely keeps you entertained as Hell, and puts a goofy smile on your face while it does so.
Amazing (especially on this budget) special effects are perfectly complimented by gorgeous camera work and smooth, unobtrusive edits. But the real star of this flick is the cast! Everybody brings their A-game, and it really comes across onscreen that they seemed to have a fucking blast making this film! Westrick and Steele are flawless as the reluctant hero and his sidekick, Harvey shines as the bad ass female foil (and thank you Mr. Sheets for her wardrobe...seriously, thank you), Lagen seems to relish her femme fatale role, and really stands out, O’Hara is just flat out frightening, like, really scary, Cayt Feinics is sexy as fuck as the (literal) man-eating clown, Satchel, Linnea Quigley pops up as the bitchy manager of “Stinky Pink”, and Douglas Epps steals a scene or two as the mysterious creeper. Virtually the entire cast set out to make an excellent film, and succeeded.
In trying to remain as “spoiler free” as possible, I can say that, with “Clownado”, Sheets and company have definitely outdone themselves. Can a micro-budget feature, featuring a clown tornado, be a perfect little film? “Clownado” comes really fucking close. As a filmmaker who seems to get a little better with every project, Sheets has definitely delivered a career high point.
A near perfect storm of gore, violence, fun performances, great camera work, attention to detail, and a “you can’t make this film without these exact people” cast, “Clownado” will make you forget all about: Killer Klowns, Pennywise, and, fuck, even “Twister”…
There’s a storm coming…run for your lives!