Clownado - Extreme Entertainment
Written by Jay Creepy   
Saturday, 17 August 2019
Severed Cinema review of Clownado from Extreme Entertainment


Severed Cinema review of Clownado!

Directed by: Todd Sheets
Written by: Todd Sheets
Produced by: Mem Ferda, Todd Sheets, Paul Stentaford, Shalyn Blain Lillard, Amanda Payton
Cinematography by: Todd Sheets
Editing by: Todd Sheets
Music by: Justin Burning, Matt Cannon, Toshiyuki Hiraoka
Special Effects by: Erick Rivera, Tony Masiello, Jeff Sisson.
Cast: John O' Hara, Bobby Westrick, Antwoine Steele, Rachel Lagen, Dilynn Fawn Harvey, Linnea Quigley, Millie Milan, Jeremy Todd, Douglas Epps, Nate Karny Cole, Micah Dillinger, Cayt Feinics, Eric Danger Dionne, Joel D. Wynkoop.
Year: 2019
Country: USA
Language: English
Runtime: 1h 39min

Studio: Extreme Entertainment

You know how it is that once in a while you come across a film that will remain with you in a special place for the rest of your life? Well, Todd Sheets latest, Clownado, has done just that. There's a splendid tale behind this which I will share with you all.

One of my friends some months ago, who is the lead bloke in a skiffle/punk/entertainment band mentioned the title to me, and then said, “It's by Todd Sheets.” I said that Todd happened to be a Facebook buddy and I had reviewed one of his movies, Bonehill Road (see review here). His plan was for Black Kes (the name of the band) to show Clownado at a show because creepy clowns feature heavily in their image. To cut a long story short, we both have a friend who runs a bohemian coffee shop which happens to have a few large rooms up above. I spoke to him, we mused it over, and decided to merge the Black Kes gig with the launch of our cult film movie events. Todd Sheets was more than happy for us to premier the film, he even designed our posters! What a gentleman.

The film went down a storm (pardon the pun) and I will give examples of the crowd reactions through the review simply to illustrate how Clownado is a certain kind of beast – it's not a film to watch alone. Well, you can, but the actual magic works well when there's a few of you, maybe sipping beers, and ready for a great time.

How it starts doesn't beat around the bush (as a side note, the beginning is created to look like a video tape is playing, with tracking lines, etcetera, which thrilled members of our crowd... as did the Rob Zombie music video style montage of old school clowns). Appearing and filmed in shadows and blue depth like a camped up film noir, our central lady, Savanna, has been cheating on her clenched fist circus owning hubby, Big Ronnie (played with scene-chewing gusto by John O' Hara). He doesn't take too kindly to this, thus her lover (who moments ago had the speech of the night as he explained his view on “assholes”) is shot and she is absorbed into a vicious new act within his circus, surrounded by his minion misfit clowns who he basically owns because he has saved them from various issues in their lives. Savanna is now in a rather terrifying position as the new act within The Midnight Madness Circus of Wonders. Ronnie still loves her, in his twisted mind, there is a part which wants to repair all the damage, but she has to suffer. Thus he keeps her alive and plans to break her spirit show after show.

After the first night, Savanna swears she wants revenge and confides in her friend, Autumn Moonspell. “That nasty motherfucker deserves to take a deep dirt nap, if it's the last thing I do!” she spits which caused many in our audience to cheer and clap.

Side-line plot: we see a young teen, Rachel, arguing with her drunken bully of a Father after they've been to the circus. He gets the receiving end of a taser. Yep, that got many ladies in attendance yelling support. Our teen drives off in a bit of a state.

Meanwhile, Big Ronnie and his jolly crew head out into the dark, carrying the body of Savanna's lover in the back of the wagon. “Any of you smiley-faced fucks wanna help?” he snarls as he drags the corpse and they all stand around looking goofy. Ronnie has to persuade them to help him, drawing on their closeness and comradeship, until they all agree to chop and tear the body into pieces. This they all do, over many minutes with gusto. Our audience had a mix of laughter, chants, and a few hands covering faces. The blood is extreme, but in places having a cheeky chuckle itself because you can see the fakeness some moments which added to our enjoyment. “It's gravy!” someone shouted which caused us all to laugh. Our clowns are becoming more and more insane as they work, like their minds are simply darkening.

As does the sky, for whilst this is all going down, Savanna and Autumn have a plan. It transpires that Autumn is a Witch and they perform a rather brutal FX laden spell which brings about a merciless tornado from beyond (at this point, the chant was born: “Clown-a-do! Clown-a-do!” with clapping and stomping accompaniment). Our clowns are trapped in their vehicle, unable to escape and winds billow around. In one final blast, they are all taken away.

Now onto the introduction to a character who became a firm favourite on that wonderful Saturday night, as we all cheered. Dion, an Elvis impersonator, who is hitchhiking. We see a dark skinned hand thumbing a car. “Token black guy!” someone yelled. To which the black members of our audience developed a new chant: “Black Elvis! Black Elvis!” The guy who gives him a lift, whilst chuckling in disbelief, is Hunter, a hick, who will become our hero. They drop off at a rough strip bar run by Linnea Quigley in a cool cameo role, and they meet a stripper called Bambi. After being fired, she sticks with our duo and off to a diner they go. Savanna happens to be waiting tables there.

Across the state, as night falls, Autumn is chilling out in her trailer home when all of a sudden, Big Ronnie and his clowns return. “What the fuck is wrong with you??!!” she cries at one point. Ronnie laughs, “What's wrong with us? Well. You should know, Autumn! You made us this way!” She is then slowly and nastily slaughtered in a bloody manner, as you would expect.

Back at the diner, our gang, plus Douglas Epps from Bonehill Road, and a few cool bit part players, notice a storm is building outside. “My black ass doesn't feel safe at all right now.” says our resident Black Elvis as the clowns knock on the door and wave through the windows. It doesn't take long before our chuckling killers are in and about, destroying whoever they come across including tasty eye gouging and table top teeth clobbering which made a fair few people in our audience wince in-between cheering for the clowns. Rachel becomes caught in this maelstrom of chaos as well. Our survivors escape the carnage, and later meet up with a couple who have an idea how to destroy the tornado but, hey, when you happen to have a tornado which carries a demented group of clowns which can outrun literally anything, you know it's gonna be a long and crazy night.   

I recall that old totally random slasher movie, Pieces, which stated on the adverts “It's exactly what you think it is!” and was so much better for that simple and digestible thought, Clownado is the same. There's a tornado, and clowns are inside it who kill people. So slick, so eye-popping!

The danger in these modern times of making a film with comedy sides is the one where you can quite easily allow your creation to fall into the garden of parody and downright insulting stupidity. Clownado is very careful. The entertainment highlights ala the laughs come from, yes some of the effects that knowingly wink at you, but in the day to day context of what the characters say to one another and how they react.

Even the most extreme characters make sense in a way. Black Elvis, for instance, as stated above became an instant hit with our audience. Upon his demise, people were stunned, one bloke even got up, said, “Black Elvis is dead. Fuck that!” and he left the room, never to return.

Another thing about the wonders housed within Clownado is the gore and FX. Limbs torn off, cannibalism, heads crushed, stabbings, a face peeled off, intestines pulled out, artery sprays almost akin to Shogun Assassin, and the best the Japanese can offer. It's endless, but so playful. An upper cut version of Bloodsucking Freaks and the ol' HG Lewis movies. No one, but no one can take the massacres seriously at all. We didn't. In fact, we all encouraged it shamelessly!

Extra plot additions include Rachel's real father, Savanna dying but coming back as a ruthless revenge-filled beast, and the last minute, somewhat unwelcome, addition of character, Memphis Hawk, who was as welcome to everyone in attendance as someone who might have wandered into the raw makeshift cinema, done a huge shit in front of us, wiped his arse on the projector, and shut us all in with the stench. Yeah, Memphis wasn't needed for such a length of time for what he did, other than to say “Hey, we got ourselves a dude who's acted in over one hundred n fifty lil' movies!”  Fuck him, and fuck his acting skills, was the overall reaction that evening.

Oh yes, so, about acting skills. Where do I begin with John O' Hara, who played Big Ronnie? You know how just one person can totally dominate everything? Yep, it's him. He doesn't just chew the scenery, he swallows it, spits it out, chews it again, and digests it. Sorry, but this guy is amazing. So over-the-top, and the general opinion was, from a few I asked, he was the best once-was-a-human clown villain of all time!

I cannot take anything away from any of our clown posse. It's like Todd Sheets just let everybody go off and have so much fun in their parts, including Cayt Feinics (Death-Scort Service) as the female clown with the cute smile, has teeth for breasts, and a lust for blood. Micah Dillinger wears spectacles and chuckles a lot whilst killing. Let's not forget, Nate Karny Cole, the strong bald leering member of the gang.

Our heroic side of the ring isn’t dull either. Rachel Lagen as Savanna tears it up in her role, dies well, gets reanimated even better... oh, and shows her breasts here and there. “Why she got her fuckin' tits out again??!!” shouted a woman in our audience at one point, which, again, had us all laughing. Jeanne Silver plays her all too brief but fantastic role as Autumn to over-the-top perfection, then there's our Black Elvis – Antwoine Steele. What a legend, like the King. Tongue in cheek, but taking it all seriously at the same time, reminded me of Bruce Campbell in Bubba Ho-Tep.

However, Clownado loses itself a bit towards the conclusion. Maybe the last fifteen minutes didn't have the tremendous impact of everything we had been through prior, and a bit too much comedy filtered in. it could have done without the stupid outtakes over the end credits which really robbed us of our escapism a lot. Why couldn't they have started half a minute in instead of in-yer-face “It's only a movie, folks” hokey way?

That being said, nothing takes Clownado away from its top rating. As a matter of fact, Clownado has the rare privilege of entering Jay Creepy's top 20! That is a rarity for a modern film. The love, the care, the fondness and the fun, it all shows. Todd and his crew has uttermost respect for the audience this film will find, all makes it a pure joy. Todd wrote the story. My word, imagine twenty four hours locked in his mind...

Clownado exists in a big top tent all on its own, surrounded by dead trapeze artists, whilst the clowns paint their faces with the tears of scared victims. I love it! We all loved it!




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Todd Sheets  - Truly an honor     | |2019-08-18 13:49:27
Thank you all so much for the honor!!! Glad you all had a fun ride!!!
John  - I enjoyed reading this review.   | |2019-08-21 02:44:00
This is a perfectly crafted review of Clownado.
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Last Updated ( Sunday, 18 August 2019 )