Final Draft
FINAL DRAFT. 2007
Director: Jonathan Dueck

URBAN MASSACRE. 2002
Director: Dale Anthony Resteghini

WE ALL SCREAM FOR ICE SCREAM. 2007
Director: Tom Holland

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl



Final DraftA disturbingly dark-visaged, frowning hobo clown (James Brinkley) haunts the nightmares of writer Paul Twist (James Van Der Beek), in Final Draft (2007).

When Paul & his brother were children, they saw this clown in a circus performance.

During the fire-eating portion of his act the clown caught himself on fire & died horribly, while other clowns strove to put him out with their seltzer bottles. The audience didn't know it was real, & the last thing the clown heard was children laughing at his doom.

Paul always imagined that had he been that clown, he'd wait until those laughing children grew up & had lives of their own, then he'd return from the dead to avenge himself on their laughter. But that's just Paul.

Final DraftHe previously wrote a screenplay for a shlocky horror film that actually got made, & made some money, so qualified as a serious brush wsith success.

That first & thus-far only film starred his friend David Hockin (Darryn Lucio, who also wrote the screenplay), so they both felt they were coming up in the industry together.

But neither David nor Paul have as yet had a second success, & even David, despite putting up an actor's vain & egoistic front, is losing hope.

David has gotten a bite on an idea Paul had, about the very clown whose fate haunts him. David made the pitch to a producer for another horror film, this one tentatively titled Punchy the Clown. The producer is interested, but needs to see a script.

Final DraftAlas, Paul has writer's block, angering David who yells at him, "How many people get a second chance in this industry?"

Paul's wife (Tara Spencer-Naim) has divorced him, his brother (Kyle McDonald) recently committed suicide, & all the terrible events of his life have sent him spiralling into a depression, from whence it has been impossible to write a thing.

He & David hit on a plan to get Paul to finish the script before the producer loses interest: David will lock Paul in his stark loft apartment "until the eleventh," with enough food to last that long, but no television or anything else that he might waste his time on. He can't escape the apartment until the script is done.

Soon he's going stir crazy. Punchy becomes increasingly real to him, appearing in the loft to act out or inspire scenes for the screenplay.

Final DraftPaul fires up brief moments of enthusiasm by imagining agonizing deaths at the hands of the vengeful dark clown.

By this means Paul is able to envision his own revenge against Rusty (Devon Sterling Ferguson) who bullied him in highschool, against Kate who broke his heart, & against his former friend Michael (Jeff Roop) who deeply criticized Paul's trashy screenwriting efforts, having self-revelatory conversations with each conjured figure before his or her demise.

There's never a time that we believe Punchy is real. The appearance & demise, one by one, of people Paul fantasizes getting killed, are lovely spooky grim bits, but unquestionably the product of Paul's sleep-deprived, depressed, dreaming, or hallucinatory state of mind.

Final DraftSo it's not really a slasher clown movie despite having a slasher clown in it.

Rather, it's a grotesque psychological portrait of one man's dissolution into deepening depression, the clown symbolic of his anger, misogyny, & unhappiness, born of his tendency to blame all the failures of his life on those who have in any way hurt him.

Even without any of it being "real," we very much worry over the emotional state of our misery-ridden protagonist. When he seems to be losing control of his violent fantasies of Punchy, who kills even Paul's fantasized calandar-girl lover November (Melanie Marden), we perfectly understand his depression is ripening into madness.

Final Draft is gloomy as all get-out, beautifully acted, surprisingly well written, & though greatly reliant on one actor to pull it off, never dull. It transcends the whole psycho clown sub-genre, & is an artful actorly achievement of considerable merit.



Urban Massacre The first hip hop psycho clown movie, at the center of Urban Massacre (2002) is the rap group Tha Supanaturalz.

The old-skool rap is performed by credible hip hop artists (Guru, Capone, Ivory, Krumb Snatcha, Remedy, Dia & Baby Sham) so it's the real deal.

When a slasher clown (played by director Dale Resteghini) begins terrorizing the hood's hip hop community, Tha Supernaturalz & their girlfriends turn Team Scooby-doo to track down & destroy the evil, or be tracked down trying.

It's sometimes funny on purpose & this cast (even with a script that forces them into unfortunate stereotype bits) might've made a good film if production values had been a little higher than home movie.

Apart from the occasionally appealing hip hop cast, the film is over all very amateur. The grue moments are unimaginative. Perhaps more entertaining if regarded as an extended rap music video rather than a horror flick.



We All Scream for Ice Scream From the Masters of Horror cable anthology series of shortish horror films, we have Tom Holland's "evil clown" entry We All Scream for Ice Scream (2007).

It's based on a short story by John Farris, with screenplay adapted by shlock horror novelist Davis Schow, so there's a potential goldmine of terror-talent behind this one, & it wasn't entirely wasted.

Though wildly absurd to the point of ridiculous, the acting is excellent & the tone so serious that it ends up working reasonably well as a creepy film.

Many years prior, a group of boys played a prank of a retarded adult who managed an independent living as a clown with an ice cream truck. Their prank got the clown run over & killed by his own truck.

Those kids grew up & had kids of their own. That's when Buster returns from the dead, much worse for wear & quite hideous, driving his creepy ice cream van through the misty night, calling forth the children from their beds who go mesmerized into the dark streets to buy ice cream.

We All Scream for Ice ScreamOne by one, he gives special voodoo-doll ice cream novelties to the children of those who caused his death. When a given child eats the ice cream, their fathers turn into big globs of melting ice cream.

Buster was not a bad man in life & the children's deep error doesn't seem to justify the degree of evil Buster became, unless you just think retarded adults are like that. As played by William Forsythe, Buster's an almost interesting character before he gets killed, & a serious film about a retarded adult running such a business could've been great. But there is just no relationship between the living, shy, decent, slow-witted Buster, & his dead, vicious, not at all retarded evil ghost.

Lots of internal inconsistencies, like the opening funeral for a suit of clothes of the first melted man, though nobody yet knew the melted ice cream was what the dead man became & no reason on earth to bury the missing man's clothes at the cemetery.

Then for the final duel with the supernatural clown, victory relies on a supernatural element that has no groundwork for the assumption that it would work. The story just plows through itself rapidly, hoping no one thinks about how lame it all is.

For this usually mediocre anthology series with very few high spots, this episode is a better than the low average. And compared to many of the direct-to-video evil clown movies, way better than the worst even if itself no great shakes.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl



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