To Tim Curry’s legion of loyal fans, he will always be the star of kitsch cult classic THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW. While I’ve got nothing against ROCKY HORROR (I really rather like it), to me Tim Curry will always be the talentless git who ruined the TV adaptation of one of my favourite novels of all time, Stephen King’s IT. Popular with some (inexplicably), I consider the 1990 TV movie to be one of the lamest, most insubstantial horror adaptations there ever has or will be, and Curry’s Pennywise to be the single most disappointing villain I’ve ever encountered. Imagine my displeasure, therefore, to see GINGERCLOWN touted on IMDb as Tim Curry reprising ‘his most chilling role.’ You can’t blame GINGERCLOWN’s marketing people for wanting to associate their low-budget travesty with one of Curry’s much more high-profile ventures, but it’s total fabrication – not even in spirit does the film have anything to do with King’s novel or the TV adaptation. Now we know what it isn’t, what is GINGERCLOWN? It’s a tedious and pointless abortion of a horror film I can barely bring myself to waste my time reviewing.
If you think my animosity is aimed at Tim Curry, think again. He only lends his voice ‘talent’ to the production, and then only briefly. The same can be said of fellow genre shills Lance Henriksen, Brad Dourif and Sean Young, all of whom trade their dignity and artistic integrity for a (tiny) pay cheque. The creatures they voice look like they’ve been cobbled together by a junior BLUE PETER presenter during a three minute segment, and spend their time bickering and trading sub-high school insults. Even so, they’re not as bad as the vacant, amateurish ‘actors’ who comprise the live action contingent (especially cardboard cut-out bully Biff, who seems to think that acting simply means SHOUTING, and the LOUDER THE BETTER).
Bad acting and poor special effects aren’t necessarily fatal, but a terrible script, an absence of plot and limp direction are, and for that we have writer/director Balázs Hatvani to blame. Hatvani is Hungarian, and it shows in his faux-American dialogue, which is stilted and clichéd. I could even forgive that if the story was interesting or engaging, but there’s no story to speak of. Nice guy Sam accepts a dare to enter a disused amusement park, and is joined by his would-be sweetheart Jenny. They spend the next 75 minutes wandering around and being ‘menaced’ by the least convincing demonic entities you can imagine, while affirming their affections for one another. There’s no sense of peril, and only one death, which is shoehorned in after an hour. A more tedious setup it’s difficult to imagine.
So what is there to recommend GINGERCLOWN? In a word, nothing. There’s no story to speak of, only the barest semblance of recognisable dialogue, clichéd characters, annoying and scare-free monsters, shoddy effects, and sloppy performances. Avoid, people, avoid!