Well this is a curio. A Hungarian production with a 30 year old director making his debut feature alongside a cast filled with cult legends – Tim Curry, Lance Henriksen, Sean Young, Michael Winslow and Brad Dourif. One might think it has potential, but a cursory glance of IMDb yields no critic reviews and just the sole user review who states “this is the worst movie I’ve ever seen” – then again that same user bemoans the use of the usual “clishes” (sic) so perhaps he’s not the most authoritative source.
Pre-meditated judgements aside, let me tell you more about this genuine oddity. We begin in Los Angeles in 1983, a radio announcer in the background details President Reagan’s plans for nuclear arms. A group of teenagers sit in their cars behind the Hollywood sign where the ringleader Biff (Michael Cannell-Griffiths) is bullying high school nerd Sam (Ashley Lloyd), much to the disdain of his girlfriend Jenny (Erin Hayes). Biff dares him to pay a nocturnal visit to the old abandoned amusement park to prove he “has some balls”. Sam reluctantly agrees to take Biff up on his dare, if only to impress Jenny to whom he has a notable crush on. Jenny though can’t stand by and let Sam enter the place alone so she decides to go in with him.
The amusement park is actually really well designed and comes across as a well created replica of a bygone era. Needless to say, the further our kooky kids progress into this surreal environment they notice lights that appear to flash, shadows that creep through the night and other unsettling occurrences that lead them to suspect they might not be alone. It’s not long before they encounter the first of many strange creations – the first of which is a foul-mouthed talking teakettle (I appreciate many people will stop reading at this point!). As they venture round the park, more weird beings make themselves known such as Braineater (Henriksen), Stomachcrumble (Winslow), Worm Creature (Dourif) and of course the Ginger Clown (Tim Curry).
The narrative of Ginger Clown could pretty much be written on a napkin, as after the initial set up there’s sadly little exposition as we just get to observe Jenny and Sam wandering around this abandoned location and running across bizarre creations. Granted, the creatures that they stumble across are eyebrow-raisingly innovative, and at times it reaches the dizzying heights of a bastardised child of Charles Band. More often than not though the overwhelming impression is one of a Budapest lensed production, with reasonably talented British actors doing barely passable American accents with notable cameos from genre stars recorded in the comfort of their LA home.
Not that any criticism will dent the popularity of Ginger Clown, I’ve no doubt that a movie with this title that boasts the talents of Tim Curry will be lapped up by many horror fiends. Caveat emptor though as the awesome Mr.Curry is represented by his vocal talents only – and it really doesn’t sound like him, more like someone doing an impression of him – but maybe that’s just me, and he’s limited to a relatively short amount of screen time considering his character carries the title of the movie. Anyway judge for yourselves, but if I were you I’d dust off my copy of Stephen King’s IT and give that another look and leave Ginger Clown to be caught in the wee hours of a weekday night premiering on the Horror Channel.