I have to admit, back in October/November last year I was some what sick of clowns. The remake of the King classic ‘IT’ seemed to bring squeaky red noses and sharp teeth out from every hiding hole. Ironic therefore that ‘Circus Kane’ probably manages to pay lip service to every single horror film except ‘IT’!
Mores the pity I overlooked it to, turns out its pretty damned entertaining.
The plot follows a group of horror fans, or more particularly those involved in the horror community in one way or another and the promise of a £250,000 cash prize if they manage to survive the night at a creepy old clown’s funhouse. The cynical bunch put this down to a publicity stunt however, needless to say it’s not long before they find out that there is no such thing as an easy earner. One by one they find themselves falling foul of Kane’s smoke, mirrors and murderous sideshow acts.
There will be blood, not served with huge dollops of originality, but blood none the less.
Indeed, let me begin by getting it off my chest and addressing what most horror fans may already be questioning – yes that plot is exactly that of ‘House on Haunted Hill’, and the ‘homage’ doesn’t stop there. Throwing in blatant nods and winks towards a number of post 2000 franchises, ‘Circus Kane’ sacrifices its own identity to bring to you a best of montage of gruesome games and gory dispatches – hell event the titular Kane looks like a Rob Zombie tribute.
The characters are a bunch of throw away clichés but brought to a form of life by a cast who clearly gave a shit, and some pretty amusing lines thrown in for good measure. As you might expect, the film doesn’t really take itself particularly seriously, and as such you quickly begin to forgive the films technical and performance related inconsistencies in favour of just enjoying the carnage!
On this front the film more than delivers, and I must admit, I am one of those horror fans that, in the face of other elements being somewhat compromised, do still love me some gratuitous violence, and will rate a film accordingly. This film has bucket loads of bloody and completely unnecessary violent deaths. The film never gets brutal, nor is it played for laughs, bringing back a term I haven’t used for ages, 'schlock' (which I feel aptly describes it). The effects look staged, but they are the real deal, and the liberal hosing of crimson help to satiate my bloodlust. There are some really creepy looking clown minions thrown in for good measure to.
Overall, I have seen another reviewer describe this movie as “empty calorie entertainment” and in the absence of a better analogy I whole heartedly concur. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with it, although its lack of identity means I fear it will become quickly forgotten. If you have a need for a B - movie this would be a perfect choice as a warm up act for your film night schedule.