“Chingaso the Clown” runs for 15 minutes (12 minutes without credits) and can be viewed on YouTube in its entirety by clicking this link. The film is mildly Not Safe for Work (NSFW) and would likely be rated R for language and violence.
DIRECTED BY: Elias Matar
FEATURING: Quinn Larson, David Hyatt, Roberta Orlandi
PLOT: A man paints his face and heads off to seek revenge on crime kingpin Bastard the Clown and his Clown Army.
WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: Ending on a cliffhanger, “Chingaso the Clown” not really a full length standalone film; it’s a pitch for a feature that was never made. It’s not bad, but even at full length this action movie parody wouldn’t be weird enough to qualify for the List solely because its chief combatants wear greasepaint and crack bad puns.
COMMENTS: We at 366 Weird Movies pledge that we’ll give any movie a hearing, so long as it meets a basic minimum level of weirdness and quality. “Chingaso the Clown” is proof of that promise. However, we don’t promise that we’ll get to it promptly. The short film “Chingaso the Clown” was made in 2006, and we were asked to review it in 2010; at that point, director Elias Matar was still hoping to expand the short into a feature. He’s since made a different feature film (Ashes, a about a doctor who accidentally creates a zombie virus) and let the chingasotheclown.com domain expire, which suggests the project has been abandoned. Which is a bit of a shame, because “Chingaso the Clown,” the short, isn’t half bad, and almost certainly could have been turned into a viable feature (Troma has released much worse full length films, some of which were probably completed for less than it cost to make the short version “Chingaso”). The premise—an alternate universe in which unscrupulous clowns run the world’s crime cartels—is high concept enough, although the mime vs. clown rivalry angle is lifted from 1991’s Shakes the Clown. The acting is much higher quality than is usually seen in this level of filmmaking: as vengeful Chingaso, Quinn Larson has only one note but nails it; David Hyatt is suitably Joker-esque in the most difficult role as the villain; and former Miss Italy (and sometime television actress) Roberta Orlandi adds a touch of Hollywood glamor that legitimizes the project. The direction is also competent: angles and lighting are interesting, visual effects are inexpensive but judiciously used, and the film shows good attention to detail with no obvious continuity problems. The fight scene choreography could be improved but isn’t off-putting, and the script is mildly amusing throughout, with one, maybe two decent belly laughs. Is it weird? Not so very, but the B-movie spoof crowd would have eaten this up, if it was served to them cheaply enough (they’re a miserly crowd). Unfortunately, Alex de la Iglesia‘s impressive The Last Circus was released in 2010 and pretty much stole the thunder from any subsequent clown vs. clown slugfests. Sorry we didn’t get to the review before that, but even a glowing review from us wasn’t likely to make the difference between funding “Chingaso” and letting the poor guy hang up his floppy shoes for good.
More important than the fate of “Chingaso the Clown” itself is what the movie says about the state of the low-budget film industry today. Two decades ago, before cheap digital cameras and the proliferation of broadband internet, the skill required to make a film like “Chingaso” would be in high demand. Today, however, competition is cutthroat: anyone can make a short movie, and most people who do are giving them away for free on YouTube. We, the entertainment consumers, are drowning in a sea of product, and at this moment in time it’s not good enough for a producer to be skilled. You’ve got to be lucky, too, and even going viral only gives you Andy Warhol’s fifteen minutes to exploit your popularity.
WHAT THE CRITICS SAY:
“…the film is so wonderful that it’s a shame the feature-length version has yet to be made… the excess of violence achieves a unique balance between the hilarious and the grotesque.”–Phil Hall, Film Threat (festival screening)
(This movie was nominated for review by “zinotchka.” Suggest a weird movie of your own here.)