Monday, October 03, 2011

The Clown Murders

(1976) **

Based on the delightfully evil cover art I expected an old fashioned slasher. Sadly I was grossly misled. The Clown Murders is more like a character driven crime caper. A group of businessmen concoct a scheme to kidnap Alison, their boss’s wife in order to prevent her from signing an important contract. Disguised as clowns on Halloween they commit to what they consider to be a relatively harmless prank. Once the police get involved the gravity of their “prank” gives way to tensions and distrust between the group members and their true colors are exposed. A killer clown is indeed featured in the climax but he is merely an afterthought used to inject suspense into what is mostly a forgettable and unforgivably boring 70’s film.

Back when he was still a million bucks shy of being a millionaire, John Candy costarred as good natured Ollie, the only likable one in the outfit. Angry drunkard Rosie constantly mocks Ollie for his weight but what he doesn’t seem to appreciate is the fact that Ollie is the real article. What you see is what you get. (Forgive me, I can’t help but make Planes, Trains and Automobiles references.)

I haven't been home in years.
It took me a second painful viewing before I realized that we’re meant to pay attention to the subtle relationships between the kidnappers and Alison. Charlie, the instigator of the plan, had a history with Alison and his jealousy motivates his actions. Rosie’s bitterness and cruelty stems from his own self loathing. Ollie reveals himself to be the kind hearted fat guy we all know he is. As for Alison, it is clear that she is unhappily married and dead inside. After initially responding to her kidnapping with indifference she soon decides to test her captors’ emotions by taking Ollie’s virginity. Needless to say John Candy’s bedroom scene was hands down the scariest moment in the film. Those aren't pillows!

The killer clown at the end was adequately menacing but not worth sitting through the bickering, the paltry body count and the overall dullness, not to mention the poor quality of the DVD transfer. You could do much worse than The Clown Murders. I commend it for taking a different approach to get to the killer clown bits. But six bucks and my right nut say you won’t make it to the end without falling asleep.


Catfreeek said...

Why do I get the feeling that more often then not, your clown films are going to get these kind of ratings.

Catfreeek said...

I loved the P,T & A references btw, your one funny bastard!

Landshark said...

Mad props for the PT&A dialogue. And I gotta ask though, what's with the "second painful viewing?"

Octopunk said...

I want my fucking clown slasher, right fucking now.

Johnny Sweatpants said...

Landshark - I was so disinterested the first time I watched it that I had to start all over. I heard the words and saw the pictures but didn't absorb a single thing. Then as the credits rolled I had to decide between watching it over in its entirety or aborting the review. As evil clown movies are few and far between (especially from the 70's) I opted for the latter.

50PageMcGee said...

hmm, john candy before SCTV? before Heavy Metal?

i would drink four redbulls and take your bet just because someone getting his nut cut off is so totally horrorthon.

Trevor (Tami's friend) said...

So far, I think I'm nominating this as the funniest review.