The Room, Troll 2, From Justin to Kelly, Miami Connection, The Wicker Man… these films exemplify the best of bad movies.
What makes a bad movie a good bad movie? Of course it’s all subjective, but a good bad movie tends to result from trying, and utterly failing, to make a masterpiece. A good bad movie is a genuine attempt by the filmmakers to create something shocking, wonderful, or profound. They come from the mind of one so confident (perhaps deluded) that they truly believe they have created high art. The product is comical, containing awful performances and dialogue, poorly composed and produced images, and obvious mistakes in editing. None of this is to tear any of these filmmakers down, it’s just the frank reality of the situation.
Because of the popularity of bad movies and B-movies, many have tried to purposefully make a bad movie. Trying to make a bad movie is rarely successful, the on-screen product intended to ironically ape the good bad movie ends up being bad itself. Films like Thankskilling or Leprechaun in the Hood fall flat because the filmmakers don’t understand the difference between their purposefully bad films—wrought with stale, pallid humor that betrays their lack of talent—and the films of schlock auteur Amir Shervan, or Ed Wood, the patron saint of bad movies.
As my hope wears thin, a new film has emerged; a shining beacon atop its cinematic Shadowfax, riding with the conceptual strength of the remnants of Rohorrim. Clownado looks like it could be an actually competent, self-aware good bad movie. The sheer ridiculousness and absurdity of the premise is matched in its derivation. Not only is it similar to the popular Sharknado, but it also shares staples of home invasion, alien invasion, and clown horror (IT, Stitches, House of 1000 Corpses, Killer Klowns from Outer Space to name a few).
Acting in a bad bad movie is usually the worst aspect. The acting certainly looks bad in Clownado, but I can’t help but feel this is intentional to fit the “bad movie” theme. The line delivery isn’t lackadaisical or uninspired, it’s obvious ham. There even seems to be an antagonistic human element based on the guy (in no clown makeup) saying, “The show’s starting, and we have a new act debuting tonight.”
The description gives perhaps my favorite gathering of individuals; a stripper, an Elvis impersonator, a truck driver, a teen runaway and… a dude. Just a dude.
The dude is “caught in the supernatural battle between femme fatale and the boss clown from Hell”, but his description as a dude indicates to me that this is our Everyman. He’s the conduit of the audience, not so unlike Luke Skywalker as one might believe based on the film’s silliness. There’s either a genius marketer at Wild Eye Releasing tasked with making this film sound better than it is, or the writing could actually be ironically good.
Low production values are easy to mock when a bad movie is bad, but it’s excusable if it isn’t sloppy and the final product reflects the ironic intentionality. Poor lighting and over- or underexposure of film images is an easy hallmark of bad bad movies (though also present in good bad, but I tend to see it more in bad bad movies that are attempting to copy that mid-00’s visual style used in Twilight, Black Snake Moan or The Incredible Hulk), and none of these visual markers are present in Clownado. In fact, I was impressed by the backlighting. You know how often amateurs trying to make crap movies fail to use even a semblance proper lighting? Almost all the time.
Clownado, if it lives up to my expectations, is the rare intentionally bad film poised to join the exclusive ranks of the good bad movie. I reached out to Wild Eye Releasing for an official date, though they have yet to respond or officially announce one as of my writing. The word on the internet is “Summer 2019”, so hopefully we’ll be able to enjoy it soon. Ignore the derision and dismissive attitudes you might see online. As a bad movie connoisseur, you can mark my words; Clownado will be the best bad movie released in 2019.