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DVD Reviews

HTF REVIEW: S.I.C.K (Serial Insane Clown Killer)

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#1 of 2 OFFLINE   Michael Elliott

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Posted March 22 2004 - 04:20 AM

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S.I.C.K. (Serial Insane Clown Killer)

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Studio: Artisan
Year: 2003
Rated: R
Film Length: 94 minutes
Aspect Ratio: Standard (4:3)
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, DD 2.0 Surround
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Retail Price: $19.95

I grew up watching horror films and have no troubles admitting I’m a dork when it comes to horror films. I’ve seen the silent classics, the Universal classics, the Hammer classics, Price, Karloff, Lugosi, Corman and on and on. I went through 70’s classics like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween and The Exorcist, which eventually led to the 1980’s with films like Friday the 13th, Sleepaway Camp and Slumber Party Massacre.

These are all well known films and as you horror fans know, when you’ve seen the well known stuff you must then go to the back of your video store to find the stuff that is collecting dust because no one has heard of it and no one, other than yourself, has any desire to see the film. We call these director to video films but today they are direct to DVD and that’s what we get here with Serial Insane Clown Killer.

If you’ve seen at least one slasher in your lifetime then the so-called “story” really doesn’t need to be told. Four friends drive to a cabin in the woods for a weekend full of sex and drugs but before that they pick up a young girl who was just beaten up by the guy she was hitchhiking with. Soon, the five are at the cabin in front of the fire telling ghost stories and the next thing you know they are being picked off one by one by a man wearing a clown mask. Is the clown really a clown? Is the clown the hitchhiker? Is the clown the young girl that was picked up?

All of those dumb questions would be somewhat smart questions in a horrible horror movie but sadly this film goes beyond horrible into the realm of one of the worst films I’ve seen. I personally can’t stand films shot on Digital Video and especially a cheap one like this but the cheapness is made even worse by the horrid screenplay, the horrid direction and the god awful acting, which would be considered bad in a pre-school play. The star/co-writer Ken Hebert is to blame here I believe. I don’t know anything about the production but I’d guess he got some money from the family, got his girlfriend to play the lead and then turned on a local girl to get naked in the film with promises of making her famous.

That might be a little mean but there is no talent whatsoever to be spotted in this film and I’m rather shocked that any studio would have picked this film up for distribution. I’m going to guess that the lead star and the director came into some money and impressed the locals by calling themselves big shots in Hollywood because even in the absolute worst horror films the acting is better than what we get here. I know many people say Digital Video is good because it means anyone can make a movie but I don’t buy into this. These cameras are only going to create incredibly stupid films like this one.

My favorite moment occurs early in the film when a woman has her chest split open by the crazy clown. Now, what would you do if a clown cut your chest open? Well, this woman, before dying, asks the clown what he did. Another funny moment occurs when Mr. Hebert plays James Bond and seduces two women into having sex with him. Perhaps a better performance would have pulled these scenes off but what we got here is something Mystery Science Theater 3000 would have a field day with. There’s also another wonderfully hideous moment where one guys wife goes missing but instead of looking for her the “friends” just stand around calling each other bad names.

I know horror fans want sex, nudity and gore but you can pretty much forget about it here. You do get some brief nudity and a couple gore effects, which look to have been created by my 6-month-old cousin but everything else in the movie doesn’t make it worth it. I haven’t had enough time to think about it but I’d certainly say this is one of the fifteen worst films I’ve seen in my life. Saying that, I must confess that the one good thing is the twist ending that came out of nowhere. I certainly can’t recommend the film over a wonderful ending but I’ve gotta think that a good director probably could have pulled this film off with a professional cast and crew. In the end, S.I.C.K. just remains a retched movie, which should have you hitting the stop button by the ten minute mark.

VIDEO--- Since this was meant for video, the 4:3 transfer is the correct aspect ratio. This was shot DV but I’m really not sure if that’s to blame or if this is just a really bad transfer. Either way, the picture quality is pretty bad throughout with all sorts of faded colors and the entire image looks fuzzy, blurry and downright ugly. There are several scenes where the colors bleed together and some of the worst edge enhancement can be seen in the earlier scenes outside a bar. I think some of this has to do with the way the film was shot but the transfer still made my eyes water.

AUDIO---I’ll never fully understand Artisan but somehow this got a 5.1 mix but it’s pretty bad. The center speaker gets all the dialogue, which sounds weak with no punch to it whatsoever. Small amounts of hiss can be heard and many times the dialogue sounds so watered down that you’ll need to adjust the volume on your setup. A 2.0 Surround track is also included but this here is no better.

EXTRAS---The only extras are a trailer plus four other trailers for other Artisan horror films including House of the Dead.

OVERALL---I had heard a lot of negative things about this film and everyone was right. This is without a doubt one of the worst films ever made and I’m still in shock at how incredibly bad everything was. The ending certainly came out of nowhere but I’m willing to bet that 95% of the viewers out there would have hit the stop button long before seeing it. The Artisan DVD is fairly weak, although this could be due to the way the film was shot. Either way, avoid this and if anyone buys this for you as a gift, you’ll know that person hates you.

Release Date: Out Now

#2 of 2 OFFLINE   Craig S

Craig S


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Posted March 22 2004 - 05:23 AM

Cameras don't create bad movies, people do! Posted Image But yeah, DV is going to enable a whole new generation of Ed Woods.
Three truths about movies, as noted by Roger Ebert:

* It's not what a movie is about, it's how it is about it.
* No good movie is too long, and no bad movie is short enough.
* No good movie is depressing, all bad movies are depressing.

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