For a few moments at the start of this film, just after a nicely assembled credit-montage of vintage clown images and just before the horror-clowns arrive, there’s a glimmer of promise as Savana Dane (Rachel Lagen) and her lover, Cash Mahoney (Christopher Preyer) plot to steal money from Savanah’s husband, circus-owner-cum-clown, Big Ronnie (John O’Hara). The dialogue here is arch and heightened with a noirish tinge that’s delivered in a tough-talking, exaggerated accent style with plenty of purple-prose along the lines of “you were all over me like taffy on an August afternoon”. But just when you feel that this movie could have a bit of tongue-in-cheek style to it, the scene dissipates into some over-the-top, unmotivated violence and the next thing you know we’re in a scene that is trying to make us believe that eight characters in a tight shot constitutes a circus crowd while we’re treated to a bit of gratuitous nudity and some soft-torture-porn. And the film goes downhill from there.
Yes, there’s a thin conceit that sort of explains why this bunch of sociopathic clowns seem to travel by tornado, but no real logic to the fact that Big Ronnie’s revenge on his cheating wife requires his pack of clowns to join in on the dismemberment of Cash’s body in a ridiculous orgy of spurting blood and severed limbs and totally unrealistic gore. Nor is there any real logic as to why the clowns suddenly turn on the whole town in a murderous rampage that seems to consist of repeating variations on the same dismemberment scene over and over with a couple of body-horror augmentations (poor cousins to the kind of thing we admire David Cronenberg for) thrown in for good measure. But that’s not the worst of its crimes-against-the-moviegoer. With all this mayhem and viscera going on, its pace is deathly slow and it takes forever for nothing much to happen.
The remainder of the plot (if you can call it that) is a bit of a muddle and seems mostly designed to string together a series of gory killings accompanied by the soundtrack of mad, maniacally clown laughter. On the plus side, the clown make-up is pretty good, but there’s very little else in the way of characterisation to delineate one from the other (apart from Big Ronnie, of course). In the end, the film ends up with a kind of predatorial hunting of a small band of heroes led by Savanah who, we trust, will ultimately prevail. The climax of the movie involves a pretty poor tornado-versus-plane effect and some pseudo-science that suggests you can kill off a tornado with a canister of liquid nitrogen.
So, don’t be fooled by the seemingly meta movie title. We might have lucked out with another recent mash-up title for a film called Velocipastor, but that luck didn’t hold long enough to give us the same hilarious experience with Clownado. You’d be better to take shelter in the root-cellar and give this hot mess a miss.