Wednesday, September 10, 2014

CIRCUS OF THE DEAD (Review)


CIRCUS OF THE DEAD (2014)

review by DARRELL MARSH

Directed by Billy Pon
Written by Billy Pon and Lee Ankrum

Starring Bill Oberst Jr., Parrish Randall, Chanel Ryan
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Coulrophobia.

What's that you ask? It's a big, fancy word for something that's haunted the nightmares of children and adults for generations. It is the fear of clowns. Believe it or not, more people suffer from this than you might think. If you are one of these afflicted individuals, you might want to steer clear of CIRCUS OF THE DEAD, latest full length feature from Billy Pon (Doll Boy). Even if you don't suffer from coulrophobia, you just might after watching this absolute gem.


Circus of the Dead follows the exploits of an especially nihilistic group of travelling circus clowns that come to town and trap a local family man in a web of violence, depravity, and perverse morality games. The sadistic clowns in question are led by the serial rapist and necrophiliac Papa Corn. This menacing, sexual deviant bastard is played to perfection by genre film superstar Bill Oberst Jr. In fact, his performance is so thrilling that it could have carried the film on its own. That is no easy feat, considering the fact that Circus of the Dead clocks in at almost two hours. I know what you are thinking. Two fucking hours?! I thought the same thing, but to my delight, the running time flew by, and left me wanting more.

Can't sleep. Clown will eat me. Can't sleep. Clown will eat me.
As much as Oberst Jr. shines in his role of Papa Corn, his fellow cohorts of destruction, a band of clowns just as fucked up as Corn himself, are excellent in their macabre madness. Mr. Noodledome, a hulking beast manchild, is sure to terrify with his maniacal laughter while the chain smoking Mr. Blister shows indifference to any trace of humanity. The aptly named Mr. Jumbo, a gun toting dwarf clown, is also a raving psychopath. Now believe me. I'm no coulrophobic, but these nasty buggers make up one scary freaking pack of grease painted motherfuckers!

Now that's funny.
Parrish Randall plays family man Don, who has the misfortune of attracting the attention of Papa Corn and his merry band of sadistic pranksters. Let's just say that Don, and his beautiful all American family, will never be the same. The film's special fx team, led by Marcus Koch and Matthew Ash, and including the always enchanting Heather Buckley, weren't clowning around either. You gore whores will be thrilled to bloody bits with plenty of carnage. The set pieces staged in the clowns' trailer are sure to please as well. I especially liked the creative usage of the body parts, including a dead head popcorn bowl. Above all else, Bloody Bill Pon has created some of the best dialogue I've seen in a horror film in ages. I laughed so hard at Papa Corn's lines that I started coughing. Some of his lines are sure to become legendary! To ruin the viewing experience by repeating these quote worthy lines here would be a travesty, so you'll have to see for yourself. Adding further texture to the script are the rich Texas landscapes which Bill took advantage of uniquely. It almost feels like Circus of the Dead couldn't happen anywhere else (at least I hope it can't).

Papa Corn stacks the deck
 About a year and a half ago, I received a big thick package containing Billy Pon's Doll Boy DVD with plenty of extras, including a Doll Boy colouring book. When I say Billy takes care of his fans, I ain't just whistling Dixie. My Doll Boy set is still one of the coolest packages I've ever ordered, and I'm a total DVD hoarder, so that's saying something. Of course, I like Doll Boy, but I LOVE Circus of the Dead. Billy Pon has shown he is a force to be reckoned with in the world of horror. Once Circus of the Dead is released on the public, I'm sure many will find that this film really is the greatest show on earth.

One more thing: next time you visit a backwoods redneck circus, you might want to rethink sitting in the front row. Ask yourself this. While you watch the acts, who's watching you?

1 comment:

  1. Zed, thank you so much for taking the time to watch and review Billy Pon's Circus Of The Dead. A disturbing movie. Hell, it disturbed me and I'm in it!

    I was never afraid of clowns before. I am now.

    Bill

    Bill Oberst Jr.
    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2454994/

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