Ginger Nuts of Horror
Oooh Bloody Hell!
From Uncork'd Entertainment and DeInstitutionalized comes Circus Kane. Christopher Douglas-Olen Ray directs a James Cullen Bressack and Zack Ward script, based on a story by Sean Sellars. Gerald Webb, Christopher Ray and James Cullen Bressack produce. Here’s the official blurb:
“The notorious and disgraced circus master, Balthazar Kane, invites an unsuspecting group of social media stars to the revival of his CIRCUS KANE by promising $250,000 to any of them who can make it through the night. Kane’s true plan quickly proves to be far more sinister as the contestants realize more than money is on the line. The group must fight for their lives to escape Kane’s demented house of horrors.”
Well, with that team behind it and that basic premise it looks promising.
It would appear that in these modern times one could not chuck a dart without hitting a killer clown movie, and for the most part they are total dross. Circus Kane has killer clowns, albeit mercifully used sparingly and to great effect. There’s also the fiendish, top-hatted ringmaster required by every circus who is a joy to watch, and it has bucketloads of gore, a mansion full of booby-trapped rooms and diverse victims chosen to survive for a cash sum. This is where we could easily start yawning as we have seen all of these components in loads of other movies; however circus Kane is one of those rare instances where all of the run-of-the-mill clichés come together and actually work out pretty well.
One of the biggest problems in horror movies of this ilk is flat characterisation, it’s not enough to just have a bunch of victims, you really need to give a shit what happens to them and as such they need to be at the very least interesting enough via personality or looks. Most films coast on eye-candy, of which, depending on your preferences, there’s enough to satisfy with former ‘Miss Poland USA’ winner Victoria Konefal proving she’s not just a very pretty face. For the ladies there’s Jonathan Lipnicki (the little speccy blonde kid from Jerry Maguire) who has grown up all clean-cut handsome and buff. Circus Kane doesn’t rely on good looking actors though, choosing instead to have solid performances from believable even if not likeable characters. I say ‘if not likeable’ because one or two are somewhat self-serving whilst another, ‘Big Ed’ played by the hilarious Ted Monte, is a complete and utter arsehole, which is great as he is so generally obnoxious and funny that I was rooting for him to survive.
The eight ‘contestants’ (for want of a better word) are all chosen because of their links to the horror community, A Scream Queen, a memorabilia trader, a reviewer, a blogger, a collector et cetera, all with some way of promoting Circus Kane far and wide as the scariest experience ever.
Now this may seem a little far-fetched, the booby-trapped mansion idea and so on, yet at the time of writing this there are several such places in America offering what can best be described as a fully immersive torture porn experience requiring a full physical and mental medical and the signing of a waiver with an ‘anything goes’ policy. That really only makes the basis of Circus Kane even more plausible, otherwise the premise might have been off-putting as it would be unlikely that anyone would sign up for that no matter how much money was involved. Having real-life counterparts proves the lengths that some people go to even if only for the kudos of lasting longer than anyone else in degrading and dangerous scenarios. Circus Kane doesn’t go for dangerous it goes for deadly with the unlucky contestants searching for clues and performing tasks which lead to elimination in a variety of very nasty ways.
There are so many similar films out there, but this one manages to effortlessly float above them as the cast are excellent, production values are spot-on and it never gets tiresome.
It’s currently available as a VOD and maybe you’ll like it, maybe you won’t, but I loved it and it will definitely stand up to another viewing.
Follow the trailer below to see a little of the gory delights in store.
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