Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Clown At Midnight

Clowns are scary, but there's something equally scary, in a different way, about a movie that can't capitalize on that fact. The Clown At Midnight, a Canadian slasher film that could have come straight out of 1983, has as its villain a man attired in the costume of Pagliacci, the murderous opera clown, but will chill only the most inexperienced horror-movie viewers. Sarah Lassez—a sort of younger, duller version of Moira Kelly—stars as a high-school student who inexplicably takes on a drama-class assignment in which she must clean up the creepy old theater in which her opera-star mother was murdered years earlier. Teaming up with a photogenic bunch of potential victims (including singer and Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air cast member Tatyana Ali), she finds herself plagued both by eerie psychic flashes of the murder and the presence of creepy guest stars Christopher Plummer and a disheveled-looking Margot Kidder. If watching The Clown At Midnight with a bunch of wagering friends, here's the inside track on whom to root for to survive the film: Don't bet on the scream-prone geek, the cowardly football player, the sexually aggressive popular girl, or the token black and gay characters. Even in the post-Scream era—and Clown makes a few gestures toward Scream-like self-awareness—these aren't the sort of people who are likely to make it out alive. On the other hand, do bet that (relatively) high-profile guest stars who disappear after the first scene haven't dropped out for good. Or, better yet, skip the movie, put on some clown make-up, and scare your neighbors. It'll be more fun.

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