It might be impossible to review CLOWNHOUSE on its own merit. It has been an art unseparated from the artist for decades. Is this unfair for audiences and critics to do, given all the coverage that many "low-end" genre movies get without reference to the creators?
Here's the thing about CLOWNHOUSE...
Isolating it as a horror thriller, it is merely mild, though somewhat distinctive. It can be enjoyed, oddly, when you're young, something that grows to hold a particular nostalgic…
This CAT-III rarity doesn't appear to have an IMDb page! Databases dedicated to Hong Kong movies list it, thankfully. Is it worth tracking down?
It concerns a trio of crude, vain, trouble-making ladies. At the start of the story, Toto and Maddie rescue their mentally disabled friend Dummy—yep, they call her Dummy—from a couple of rough johns. Dummy's dad is in debt and decided to use his daughter's body to pay it back. Toto and Maddie nearly light him on…
I'm not the type of viewer who gets mad when protagonists take the wrong course of action. I can accept that people make mistakes, and that my vantage point "outside" of the story gives me advantages bordering on the omniscient.
But throughout most of DEAD OF WINTER, I thought, "Katie, you can take them! You absolutely could! You saw the red flags waving!"
Then the explanations and motivations were revealed, which I found unconvincing.
Despite some technical merits, standard good acting, and mostly competent direction and storytelling, there were too many missteps.
[Watches trailer with a friend.]
Both of us: "This looks like our next favorite movie!"
[Title credit appears on screen.]
Us: "OK, this IS out new favorite movie!"
Friend: "I can't tell if the director is a genius or insane."
Me: "I'll tell you when it's done."
[End credits roll.]
Friend: "Did I miss someth—"
Friend: "Damn, what a disappointment."
We decided that COME TO DADDY began as a great movie, then switched gears to ruin itself…