Secrets of the Clown
SECRETS OF THE CLOWN. 2007
Director: Ryan Badalamenti

NIGHT OF THE CLOWN. 1998
Director: Vladimir Theobold

THE CLOWN. 2005
Director: William Cicchino

CLOWN. 2007
Director: Robert Newman

COULROPHOBIA. 2006
Director: Jay Leibowitz

COULROPHOBIA. 2003
Director: Kirk S. Patinioti

COULROPHOBIA. 2007
Director: Tristan Prowse

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl



Secrets of the Clown A typically badly acted slasher movie, Secrets of the Clown (2007) blends supernatural horror with the psycho clown theme, getting itself off the ground right off the bat with a murder victim (Jay O'Connor) about whom we care nothing.

The opener's gore FX required only a fake knife with retracting-blade & some movie-blood. Oh, & a t-shirt so no valuable article of clothing gets stained.

Thereafter our hero Bobby (Paul Pierro) has to deal with nightmares regarding the murder of his friend. The dreams permit some more gore sequences without having to script scenarios & hire more actors to play victims. The film is a study in saving nickels so the two-bits of budget lasts out the day.

The nightmares offer clues to the killer's identity who, in dreams, is a horrible clown. And a serial killer is still tallying victims. It's up to Bobby to solve the initial crime, stop the murders, & allay his nightmares.

None of this is at all that interesting, but Bobby's secretive girlfriend Val (Keli Clevernger) lends a bit of originality to the game. She has a little clown-doll to which she is abnormally attached. If she had to choose between Bobby & her clown doll, it'd be the clown.

Secrets of the ClownFrom this we can guess two or maybe three directions the story might go, but even if it were all to remain obvioius, it couldn't possibly be the "usual" for evil clown movies.

Secrets of the Clown has its own story to tell, & of the two or three directions the story might've gone, it actually finds a fourth.

As no-budget shlockers go, this one's got a full dose of entertainment. It's more than the same old non-plot, but actually has odd little twists & turns that manage to make sense. With a real budget, a real director, & some real actors, this script could've been used for an A-movie, director-writer Ryan Badalamenti having some skill at the authorship end at least.

For those of us accustomed to how badly acted these things can be, & watch them anyway, this one's a winner, because we're not being bored to death or tempted to hit fast-forward. When Bobby gets himself a psychic (Michael Kott) to help out, we even get some reasonable acting, though his performance does have the sorry side-effect of making the lead actor Paul Pierro appear even more terrible.

We now have two strange characters, the psychic & the girlfriend, so we've got more than the average for a no-budget slasher, & we've still got a creepy-ass clown villain in the wings waiting to be fully revealed. This one's a must-see for B-horror fans, a maybe-see for the uninitiated.



Night of the Clown Set in Dallas, ultra-cheapo slasher Night of the Clown (1998) features a ridiculous looking psycho killer (Chad Eubanks) in a full-head clown-mask with really big mouth & tiny conical hat & a giant sword.

Often the clown on the dvd box is not the same clown as in the film, because the film is so lame not even its villain is good enough to attract viewers.

Bhis one had sufficient faith in their creepy creation that the clown on the box is the clown in the movie.

Night of the ClownThere are some mannequin horror bits into the bargain.

The horror imagery is in general effectively icky or at least disgusting & quite varied, & the film is blessedly short at barely seventy minutes, so no great strain on one's patience.

It was advertised with the line "Get wasted. Watch this," as though nobody expected anyone could possibly enjoy it unless they'd mainlined something powerful enough to remove about fifty percent of their IQ.

But in fact teetotlars who like mondo trasho should be able to get a small kick out of the inventive gore gags & amusingly moronic one-liners. A lot of evil-clown movies are "funny" by accident & ineptitude, but this one, for all its ineptitude, is funny on purpose.



Clown At 65 minutes, Clown (2007) is a mite short to qualify as a feature film, though it pretends to be one. It's a pretty basic micro-budget slasher regarding five college students at the standard cabin-in-the-woods.

After establishing their characters as only worthy of death, these idiots are soon being terrorized by a psycho clown (Ryan Parrish). The clown has startling horror-clown make-up, a machete, & an evil laugh.

ClownAs the cast is picked off one by one, easily dismissed intimations that the clown may exist only in the mind of Rachel (Breeun Johnson) adds a slight dimension to the trivial film. It's a "period" piece set in 1978, but since it's set in the woods, that hardly matters.

Well received at minor showings arranged by the director himself, friendly-to-amateurs horror fans tend to love this one, as it gives everyone hope they can make a horror film too. But unless it ends up in one of the "fifty-dvd-packs" or horror flicks that failed to score even moderate distribution, the only source for the film is apt to be the director's own website.

I always wonder about these woodland clowns. Are they the feral ancestors of party clowns? As Clown was filmed in the Pacific Northwest, perhaps this species of clown is related to sasquatch.



Clown Another of those woodland clowns turn up in the short subject The Clown (2005). It played a few specialized film festivals in 2005, then vanished as most short subjects do.

We follow two hikers (Katie Maguire & Megan Melnyk) on a hike into the woods, where they encounter a jolly clown out to kill them. That's pretty much the whole film, which would make a nice "extra" if it could be picked up cheap to tag onto some just-as-bad but longer psycho clown movie.

In fact there are many short subjects about evil clowns & they should be aportioned among evil clown movies as extras that'd frequently turn out to be better than the feature.

CoulrophobiaCoulrophobia (2006) is rather an expressionist evil-clown movie in that it doesn't try to make rational sense. It consists mainly of a chase scene with exactly the mood of an actual nightmare.

Awakening from a horrible dream, a clown begins chasing our terrified hero (Erin Gouild). He runs out of a hotel & across a jumble of urban & rural landscapes. This is one of the few evil clowns who is female (Skyler Sullivan).

It has a couple "twists" that would qualify it as an actual story, it's lighthearted & not really scary though the fleeing protagonist thinks so. It packs in a lot for a ten minute film it does quite a lot.

I've thus far been unable to track down a copy of another short subject likewise called Coulrophobia (2003). Kirk S. Patinioti stars in it, wrote it, & directed the seven-minute film, apparently never circulated.

According to a short-film festival catalog, however, most of the story is taken up with nightmares of clown encounters that terrorize the dreamer. When at last he wakes up, the "joke" or "twist" is that he really has been kidnapped by a clown.



CoulrophobiaA third short subject entitled Coulrophobia (2007) is an amateur production but no less a delight. It's a silent film, but for a very decently done jazzy score by Franky Macindoe, who is also in the film.

A teenager (Santo Teipodi) is going about teenagery things in his room, then looks at a warn photograph which I couldn't make out very well, but appears to be a portrait of a hobo clown. The kid then gets in bed & turns off the light.

At that point the scene jumps to the kid jogging down a beach. He finds a vintage suitcase floating in the foam of at the tide margin.

Within the suitcase are four cloth dolls, plus a small red toy pistol. He picks up a clown doll & the toy pistol & the doll quickly turns into a full-sized female clown (Meg Whittaker). She snatches up the "gun" & fires it into the suitcase. Instantly the other dolls turn into full sized clowns (Tom Russell, Franky Macindoe, & Jini Maxwell).

CoulrophobiaThey begin at once to play ring-around-the-rosies, with our young jogger trapped in their circle. He escapes & they pursue him through a couple different environments until he gets home.

The jolly clowns cluster around the door trying to get in. But when he turns around from the window there they are lined up on his davenport, holding up beggar-signs claiming they're homeless & need help.

The four clowns lead him on a journey that ends up back at the beach with a fifth doll found along the way, & it too turns into full sized clown (Alice Hooker). The kid now accepts them all joyfully & plays with them on the beach. But soon they all turn back into cloth dolls. He returns them to their suitcase & floats them away on the sea.

Despite how obviously this is amateur filmmaking, it's is a poetic little film, ending with a sweet revelation about who the hobo clown in the old photograph had been.

Continue to:
More Psycho Clowns

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl



[ Film Home ] - [ Film Reviews Index ]
[ Where to Send DVDs for Review ] - [ Paghat's Giftshop ]