Apologies for anyone with coulrophobia (fear of clowns), this article probably isn't for you. Today (March 18) marks the release of Eli Roth's horror-romp, Clown, on Walmart's streaming service VUDU.
A long time coming, Clown's birth came after a fake trailer in 2010, before being picked up by cult horror director Eli Roth. Sadly Clown flew under the radar following its limited release , but is a MUST watch for horror fans — especially those who like Pennywise. It will have you screaming "behind you" and "well he is going to die" for its 100 minute runtime with predictable plotting. However, there was one thing that Roth really missed out on that could have taken Clown one step further.
Blood and laughter
The film follows Kent McCoy, his son Jack and his wife Meg as they try to stop the demon inside Kent when he is possessed by a clown suit at his son's birthday party. Some people die, there is an amazing killing scene at a child's play area which will have you steering clear of McDonald's Play Palaces and a dog bites the dust (more on that in a minute). Check out the trailer:
The issue is that Meg is pregnant — this is where it gets interesting. Meg's very first lines in the film are her refusing a glass of wine due to her pregnancy, immediately sparking "hmmmm why are they mentioning that?" From then on out her entire role is basically people worrying that she is pregnant, camera zooms on her stomach and even the devil clown momentarily looks like it will feast on her baby.
Hitting It On The (Clown) Nose
In one of the more graphic scenes (there are plenty), Kent struggles to get his clown costume and the nose off. Forceps in hand, Meg ends up ripping his actual nose off and it rolls away for the McCoy family dog to eat. After a while the dog starts to go a little Cujo, clearly digesting something he probably shouldn't.
Peter Stormare's brilliant performance as the creepy Herbert Karlsson, as the man who knows a little too much about the suit, is one of the film's best. Karlsson tells Meg that the dog has ingested part of the clown and the evil is now inside it. One sure fire way to get your dog sent to the vet is by eating demon clown noses, but what happens next we will leave to your imagination — not all dogs do go to heaven.
How Could It Have Ended?
Can you see where we are going with this yet? In a world where I was the director (I know unlikely), I was discussing how cool it would be if Kent died to save his family, but then Meg gives birth and (here's the clincher)... that baby is a clown baby!
As you saw, the dog became possessed because he had some of the clown inside him. Technically that baby has a 'bit' of the clown inside it. A slight stretch, but just picture it as a shock ending. I'm not suggesting a sequel, in fact Clown was pretty perfect as is. But having Meg pop out her lovely bundle of joy to find it with a curly rainbow wig, fangs and a cherry nose would be a very Rothian way to end the film.
From the man behind the likes of Hostel and Cabin Fever you would expected some sort of twist, but the actual twist we got to see was pretty tame. The costume is bagged up in a morgue and ready to be collected for evidence. Sure, chances are someone will put it on... but really? Snore!
Don't get me wrong, a genuinely shocking outing takes Clown from horror cheese-fest to Stephen King rivalry. Sure there are similarities between Clown and King's novel IT from 1986, as well as the screen adaptation in 1990.
Both follow demonic entities set on collecting children, but luckily Clown takes itself far enough away from this to make it its own film. Some call it the best clown film of modern times and you would be pushed to find otherwise. The core of Clown is its family values, and the shock value of butchering children is there, but does Roth go far enough with the ending?
Despite what I said about sequels, we already know that director John Watts is planning one:
I'm more excited about the future Clown films we're planning. There is a reason why we went so deep with the mythology - this is just the beginning!
With this in mind, I expect royalties please Mr. Watts. A demon clown baby hacking Meg and Jack to bits? Call me morbid, but pass the popcorn. I would still like to point out this isn't a rant at the film and for those who haven't just had Clown ruined, go give it a watch.