Fuck Clowns. That’s clearly stated in the13 Rules Of Horror, Rule #13. And yet, y’know I love me a good evil clown movie. One might say there’s been a whole slew of ’em in recent memory.
One might say that.
One might also say a whole clown car full.
And this brings me to the one I checked out last night: Gags The Clown. Catchy title. How could I say no? So, this creepy clown (yeah, redundant, I know) starts showing up in Green Bay. Low level chaos ensues specifically involving a handfulla interconnected stories:
- Heather and Dale zipping around covering the Gags story for local news
- Two cops also dealing with assorted clown sighting crap
- Friends Sara, Tyler, and Chris going around pranking folks with Chris dressed like Gags
- Podcaster Charles Wright live streaming his attempt to find and confront Gags
Predictably (but not really in a bad way), these elements all coalesce (in a add a fairly seamless fashion I might add). On top of all this, Gags also makes use of these black balloons filled with some kind of mysterious white powder. Exposure to this powder results in becoming very sick as well as being overcome with a severe, blood-producing cough. Being a recent release, I’m gonna stop there. It’s worth not giving anything away.
In terms of story, as is often the case, less is more, and director Adam Krause makes some clever decisions along those lines. We get a number of hints that Gags is no mere clown. Various cameras show him appearing and disappearing at will. There’s mention of a circus that burned down in the 70s along with an accompanying photograph that, you guessed it, looks exactly like Gags. None of this gets developed, thereby enhancing how fucked up the situation is.
There are some flaws, but nothing major. Some acting falls flat here and there, but it’s not often, and we’re not on a big budget here. Also this is nominally a POV horror going for, apparently, the look of having been pieced together mainly with footage from personal video, police body cams, security cameras, doorbell cams, etc. But there are several shots that are more traditionally composed (like Heather and Dale talking in the news van on the way to a warehouse).
In terms of standard POV horror pracitc, there’s no explanation for why such footage would have been assembled, but that works to Krause’s advantage. He thankfully doesn’t pretend to offer such an experience, so I’m not going in expecting any kind of hardcore illusions of “actual” found footage to be established or maintained. It’s a pretty simple idea—some creepyass clown causing mayhem along with some quasi-paranormal weirdness to spice thangs up.
I’m totally on board with this.
Of note is the fact that Gags The Clown started off as a 2016 short. Some of you may recall the big clown panic hoax of 2016. Well, as part of a viral marketing ploy, Gags started appearing on a street corner in Green Bay. Apparently this had quite the effect. Kinda makes me wanna grab a clown get-up and some black balloons and go hang out on a street corner. Is that weird?
My point is, if anyone has a lead on finding this, please hook yer guy up over here. I mean, my own search hasn’t reached what I’d call the exhaustive stage yet, but I can’t find it including any indication that it might be included on the Blu-ray which it may very well be. I gotta say I’m dyin’ to see it. Looking around on Letterboxd, I wouldn’t mind getting a hold of his other short, Home Sweet Home, either.
BODIES- 5 onscreen, 1 off
Streaming- Hoopla, Tubi
Rent- Google Play, iTunes, Prime, Vudu, YouTube