Let's face it, clowns are creepy. Even with no John Wayne Gacy associations or murderous intent, the average, walking around clown gives a lot of people the willies. And when you present a fictional world in which, rather than being a tiny percentage of the population, most people are clowns, who never take off their makeup or floppy shoes, and then add in a serial killing clown, the ante is upped considerably. That's exactly what the producers of Klown Kamp Massacre have done, and as fans of the slasher genre might be able to surmise, they do it with lots of boobs and blood, but almost no subtlety.
Klown Kamp Massacre has a large ensemble cast, but if anyone could be identified as the main protagonist, it would be Philbert (Ross Kelly). Philbert is a classic, goofy clown, with big shoes and fright wig, and along with his compatriots, he signs up for a grueling course of study at Klown Kamp, which is newly reopened after a fifteen year hiatus after a previous massacre shut it down. World renowned clown Bonzo (Michael L. Miller) runs the facility, which grants clown certification, though why one would need a certification when 90% of the world are clowns, including true crime show hosts and political commentators, is never explored.
The reopening of Klown Kamp enrages Edwin (Jared Herholtz), who attended many years ago and killed all of the students when he was unable to make anyone laugh, disappearing afterwards. Now, he comes out of his retirement, and leaves his woodland shack to wreak revenge on those with the temerity to reopen the hated Kamp. Meanwhile, the unsuspecting Philbert continues through the boot camp like regimen, along with his fellow attendees: Puff, the magic clown (Chris Payne), Squirts, the sexual deviant clown (Sandor Gattyan), Buzter, the Insane Clown Posse type clown (Isaac Kappy) and Valery (Ashley Bryce), who doesn't want to be a clown at all, and is only there because Bonzo is her grandfather.
There's not a lot of plot, but lots of bared breasts and numerous gory and ever more involved examples of what the producers term "clown on clown violence". The humor is generally lowbrow, but often effective nonetheless, though very, very raunchy. Subjects for fun include (unintended) sex with a decapitated corpse, peri-mortem ejaculation, a man whose head is almost entirely dissolved in acid, but who survives with the application of minimal first aid, and references to the Klown Klux Klan, who lynched thousands of mimes and trapeze artists. There are lots of visual jokes as well, and one can tell that the production designer and set dressers had a lot of fun coming up with gags. The violence is enjoyably over the top, with buckets of spurting blood (and other substances), gore and abandon. Subtlety and realism are neither intended nor achieved, but that's almost the point. If you're going to see Klown Kamp Massacre for great performances and insightful characterizations, you're doing it wrong.
In spite of a shoestring budget, the producers of Klown Kamp Massacre manage to achieve their goal of realizing a world filled to overflowing with homicidal, horny and hare-brained clowns, with all the creepiness and humor that implies. This film is definitely not for the faint of heart or easily offended, but for those souls who are perhaps just a wee bit more dead inside, particularly if they are fans of slasher movies, it might just be what you're looking for. Recommended (barely).
The video is presented in 1.78:1 widescreen, and generally looks quite good. The image is bright and clear, and the colors pop. There is some slight grain from time to time, but that's the most that can be said by way of criticism.
The audio is in Dolby digital 2 channel, and generally does well. The dialogue is always clearly audible, and no hiss or other problem can be heard. No subtitles or alternate language tracks are included.
There are a number of extras included. They are:
A few deleted or extended scenes here, nothing very interesting.
At 2:20, the trailer is fine, but nothing exceptional.
Making of Featurette
At fifteen minutes, this is more substantive, and quite interesting at times. The writing / directing team of Philip Gunn and David Valdez are interviewed, and provide a lot of insight into the perils of low budget filmmaking, and a number of intriguing anecdotes.
Behind the Scenes Music Video
Six and a half minutes of behind the scenes stills with music from the film.
Short Films by Directors Philip Gunn & David Valdez
Very early, very poor quality short films from the creative pair behind Klown Kamp Massacre. These look like home movies (which, essentially, they are), and are bad enough that they detract, rather than add to, the film experience.
This is a three minute plus trailer for upcoming Troma film Mormon Bachelor Party, and Lloyd Kaufman literally guarantees a shot of bare breasts for every minute of film.
Seven behind the scenes webisodes, on such topics as hiring girls who will do nudity at the last minute, clown on clown violence, and set pranks. Mildly interesting.
Audio commentary from writer directors David Valdez and Philip Gunn, along with executive producer Darren Gunn. This is mildly interesting: they talk a lot about the inception of the idea, the challenges of making the film, the very long post production process, etc. It's very conversational, but does have a number of slow patches.
The usual Tromatic Extras are included, but the only item of note is the Make Your Own Damn Green Screen segment, which is very interesting and informative.
Klown Kamp Massacre is a film that goes for the gag with delighted abandon, and doesn't really care what taboos or sacred cows it runs down in the process. It's not exactly a high quality endeavor, but it delivers enough laughs and fun gore effects that it works for the thin slice of the slasher comedy genre it's aiming at. Don't see it if you don't think necrophilia can be funny, but if you do, this is probably the film for you.