New Horror Releases: Circus Kane (2017) Reviewed

The horror of creepy clowns is brought to the screen in the low budget genre flick, Circus Kane. 

With the evil pursuits of Pennywise hitting cinemas this weekend, it's no surprise that we'll be getting a glut of knockoffs and straight to video riffs that will try to cash in on this current craze. As a bare bones indie feature that's about as derivative as they come, the violent kill saga of Kane and his circus freak friends is way better than I could have imagined. Featuring a believable cast that takes pride in creating a real fear factor, this little gem of blood and guts is a guilty pleasure that could easily spawn a couple sequels or possibly a prequel about the origination of this sideshow of pain. 

Like many horror films that lack the money to truly do what they want, Circus Kane makes great use of the assets they're given. The visual effects are all practical and quite grotesque in their presentation. The music is great. The sets look creepy. And the editing is sleek enough to carry the dimly lit material. The kills are oddly original while an underutilized spiked tooth clown shreds victims with tools of torture.  

Never treading very far from familiar territory, the feature blends elements of Saw, the blood soaked terror of early Rob Zombie, and the evils of a notorious ring leader that's served by a crew of violent performers topped off by the vile clown of the hour. As the characters make their way through a series of maze like challenges that could result in immediate death, things get more intense and ludicrously brutal. Limbs are burned. Throats are slashed. The show is on. From room to room, an odd batch of characters find their fate as ring leader Kane plays them like a fiddle. 

Damnit. I wish I could shape change. Oh well.
At least I have a chainsaw.

Most fans of the genre will find something to like about this movie. Many key elements pay tribute to Circus Kane's horror predecessors. As it played out, I couldn't help but imagine what this could have been with a larger budget and some better production values. Again, they did great with limited funding. With a few million dollars, this could have been stellar. At the core, there could be a great new mythology here. I'm pleased to say, I actually liked this one.