From the monster clowns on the cover and the opening scene set in 1937 I really thought this was gonna be some kind of ghost or demon story, but it’s actually set in the sort-of-real-world. Director Alex de la Iglesia (DAY OF THE BEAST, 800 BULLETS) gives us another hard-to-classify brew of insanity, whimsy, tragedy and cruelty, like a Jean-Pierre Jeunet movie that got left out too long and went rancid.
It’s the tragic tale of Javier (Carlos Areces, EXTRATERRESTRIAL, I’M SO EXCITED), son of a clown (Santiago Segura, BLADE II, BEYOND RE-ANIMATOR, PERDITA DURANGO) who as a child watched his father’s troupe dragged away from a performance and conscripted to kill some rebels. Some resist, but his pop takes the machete they give him and goes to town, still wearing his makeup like a fuckin nightmare. Afterwards a Colonel (Sancho Gracia) enslaves him in a mine for years, until nerdy little Javier tries to avenge him with a guerrilla bombing, which has mixed results. On one hand, it kicks off a ruckus and some of the prisoners escape. On the other hand his father has his face stomped in by the Colonel’s panicking horse.
As an adult in the ’70s Javier gets a job as the sad clown in a traveling circus. He immediately gets a crush on the aerialist, Natalia (Carolina Bang, AS LUCK WOULD HAVE IT, WITCHING & BITCHING), but she’s the property of his abusive funny clown superior Sergio. (read the rest of this shit…)
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.