Directed By: Billy “Bloody Bill” PonWritten By: Billy “Bloody Bill” Pon & Lee AnkrumStarring: Bill Oberst, Jr., Parrish Randall, Chanel Ryan, Roger Edwards, Brad Potts, Tiffani Fest, Ryan Clapp, Rusty Edwards, Mike WilliamsRunning 114 minutes
Circus Of the Dead is the first full length feature for director Billy Pon, who has made a pretty big splash in indie horror already with his short film, Doll Boy. Billy is far from a novice when it comes to horror though, having ran two different haunted attractions in Texas for some time now. He is quite adept at his craft and all of those long hours as a self professed “Haunt-trepreur” really come into to play in his film work.
If you have a fear of clowns, this one may throw you into therapy for years to come. On the other hand, if like me, you have never really been affected by the strange folk in funny shoes and makeup, you will finally empathize with the thousands that run screaming every time Send in the Clowns plays!
Visually, Circus of the Dead is full of grotesque moments that will fill the most cynical of horror fans with hope for the future of the indie horror film genre. Billy Pon has a great eye for detail and doesn’t hold back in his delivery of the gore. Circus of the Dead is filled with scenes that will get under your skin and into your head; leaving you reflecting on the experience for weeks to come. Some films you forget almost as soon as you see them; the memory fades as soon as the end credits role. I can promise you this is not the case with this Circus of the Dead, folks!
The performances by all the main players are phenomenal. There is not enough that can be said about how each clown has a particular charisma all his own. With a film like this, it is easy to go too far and become laughable with these archetypes. But Pon and his cast glide seamlessly across that line between realism and absurdity! I have to mention that Papa Corn (played by Bill Oberst Jr.) is one of the most despicable and vulgar characters you can imagine, and yet Oberst plays him in a way that he is more than just the monster he appears to be. There were moments when I felt a deep empathy for him; he had a tangible sadness and longing that was really quite beautiful in the character. It made him multidimensional in way that is rare in a film so heavy in depravity and violence.
Circus of the Dead has removed the net from under the trapeze swing for all indie horror films to come. Billy Pon and his horrific crew of clowns have made a film that will inspire fans and filmmakers alike! This is a film that will be an indie standard, and it will no doubt endure the test of time. Calling it a cult classic is an understatement, I believe the audience is going to go well beyond the typical “cult” scene, therefore I say, behold the newest horror classic!
I can’t finish off with out a word of warning on this one. This film is in your face and will not be for all viewers. There are scenes of extreme violence, full frontal nudity, and graphic sex, this is not a movie to put on for younger eyes. I definitely recommend parents watch it prior to making any decision on whether it is acceptable for anyone under 18.
Check out the official Circus of the Dead Facebook page to keep up with all of the COTD happenings!
And check out this insane trailer: