Clownado, a movie entirely based on some lazy wordplay, found the most surefire way to get my undivided attention. What can I say? I’m a man of simple pleasures. This low-budget slice of horror/comedy has the added pleasure of conjuring in my cesspool brain some bizarre combination of Sharknado and Killer Klowns from Outer Space. How could I (or anyone) pass that up?
And I can’t really say I was disappointed. Clownado is exactly everything you’d expect it to be. The only issue here is that plenty of folks would expect Clownado to not be something they’d want to watch.
Director: Todd Sheets
Release Date: September 3, 2019 (VOD)
Todd Sheets is something of a veteran of the shot-on-video scene. Since the late 80’s he’s been churning out titles like Zombie Bloodbath, Biker Babes from Beyond the Grave, and Dreaming Purple Neon. If you’ve seen some of his work before (you probably haven’t), then you know what you’re getting into and whether or not that’s something you want. For the uninitiated, however, here’s a rundown of the usual SOV horror staples.
The acting runs the gamut from scenery-inhaling bravado to little better than a cardboard cutout synced to text-to-speech software. The dialogue is like a Tarantino script fell in the toilet. The effects are all very DIY with big spurts of blood and lo-fi sound effects that wouldn’t even be fit for a drive-time disc jockey’s soundboard. These are all features, too, not bugs. There’s a charm to this style, a comfort, like a PBR after work or a candy bar from the vending machine. At just the right time and just the right mood, a little trash is the only thing that can hit the spot.
This isn’t to say that all films of this ilk are created equally. Some go straight over the top and become transcendent midnight movie experiences while others are grueling slogs that punish you for daring to expect even a sliver of entertainment. Clownado is a dead-center experience waffling between surprising bits of creativity and some underwhelming decisions.
Following a stripper, an Elvis impersonator, a cowboy, and a runaway as they get caught in a twisted storm of clowns who are cursed to–live in a tornado? I’m not sure, but they have to escape the red-nosed onslaught before they all fall among the demented gaggle’s body count. It’s a goofy bit of nonsense that works well enough to give us a swirling vortex of clowns up against a ragtag group of survivors and a sort of dime-store Ash Williams with a kitchen knife stuffed into the stump of her wrist.
Close-ups of practical effects give us juicy geysers of blood and textured strands of viscera. It can all be a bit disorienting at times since the camera never seems to pull back, but there is some good creativity on display. One clown’s breasts turn into toothy monstrosities that eat a man’s head. Elvis punches straight down a clown’s throat. One clown’s head explodes into confetti. We’re all having a good time here.
Unfortunately, the effects aren’t always practical, and CGI has no place in a movie like this. Sure, low budget is the point, but the sort of gunshots and animations used in Clownado dull the charm that could have come from fireworks, wind machines, or remote-controlled airplanes. The titular clownado threatens to eat the group’s plane at one point, but what we see is a muddle of effects that lacks any character or style and feels like a badly compressed FMV from the Playstation One era.
Clownado is amusing but disposable as a box of tacos off the late-night dollar menu. It’s greasy and no good for you, but you already knew that. What you see is what you get, and what’s here is a low-investment slice of camp heavy on exploitation and bloodshed that’s best enjoyed with booze and buds.