Starring: Brian Nagel, Lauren Elise, Katie Keene, Andrew Stanton, Tom Nagel, David Greathouse, Greg Violand
Directed by: Tom Nagel
Written by: Jeff Miller
Rated: R
Running Time: 86 Minutes

Clowntown opens with a tribute to the original slasher classic “Halloween” in a scene featuring an unfortunate babysitter and a murderous kid in a clown costume. Only this kid didn’t end up in an asylum until he grew into an adult. Jump ahead a couple of decades or so as a group of friends are travelling to a country music concert. Jill realizes she left her phone back at a diner they stopped in along the way. They call her phone and discover a man found it in the diner and has agreed to meet them in a nearby town to return the phone.clowntown-final-dvd-art
When they arrive, however, they find the small, suburban town seemingly deserted and no sign of the Good Samaritan with the phone. They wait for several hours but when their car mysteriously fails to start they find themselves stranded. They meet two other men passing through the town but the introductions are interrupted when the group is attacked by three psychotics dressed as clowns…one wielding a machete, another with a crowbar, and the third and most ghoulish, swinging a baseball bat.

The group soon is on the run through the streets, an auto junkyard, and abandoned buildings with the killer clowns hot on their trail. Their only assistance comes in the form of a crazy old man (Violand) who has somehow survived in an old warehouse and relates how the clowns have controlled the town for years, preying on unsuspecting motorists who pass through. One-by-one they are picked off by the clowns as the remaining survivors battle through the night and the grueling, murderous, endurance test.

Clowntown is a low budget homage to 1980s style slasher films with plenty of harrowing action, creepy killers and gorgeous women. Director Tom Nagel, who also plays a supporting role as Billy, makes effective use of his location shots, particularly the junkyard and the old abandoned warehouse. Nagel also directs his brother Brian who plays “Brad” one of the male leads. The film is briskly paced which is a good thing because there isn’t much background narrative given for how the clowns came to control the town in the first place. Don’t look for any depth of plot.

Instead, enjoy the fabulously terrifying clowns. And what wonderful timing this film has being released now in the recent wake of these weird clown sightings happening around the country. What a marketing boon! In particular, the Baseball Clown evokes memories of Conrad Veidt’s terrifying visage of the man with the macabre grin in “The Man who Laughs”.

The female leads, Lauren Elise and Katie Keene, may be beautiful but they are not just eye-candy there to be victimized. These ladies give as good as they get against their pasty-faced tormentors. Elise, in particular, shows a flair for the physicality. We may have a future Scream Queen in the making (And keep an eye out for my interview with Lauren as well).

Clowntown isn’t without its faults, but it’s a short, fun little romp that fans of the slasher genre will be sure to enjoy.


Clowntown is in theaters September 30th, and on DVD and VOD October 4th


By Timothy Janson

Tim Janson has been an entertainment writer for 20 years whose credits include: Fangoria, City Slab, Newsarama, Collider, The Horror Review, Mania Entertainment, and several others. He is an avid collector of books and swords.

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