Chuckle Ranch, Texas. Silly Season has begun and the redneck-type hunters are gathering in droves to hunt that rarest of game: clowns.

The concept of Barry Tubb’s CLOWN HUNT, see, despite the protestations of the picketers at the gates of the ranch, is that clowns have become very scarce – making the national (American ... of course) sport of hunting and killing them all the more exciting.

While the jocks prepare themselves psychologically for a weekend of hunting their prey (mud-wrestling; dildo tomfoolery etc), the clowns appear to go about their business obliviously in their nearby confines, Giggletown. Their business, incidentally, includes things like stomping on baby chickens with their oversized shoes...

There is very little storyline other than this, as events unfold in an episodic and rather slipshod manner. But we do learn early on that this year’s ‘clown hunt’ will mark the first appearance of an elusive albino clown since 1978. Of course, the rednecks all want to claim this particular clown as their prize.

There is an awful lot of toing and froing to get through first, though. Along with jokes about farting and getting bummed. Much of the film’s first half is preoccupied with scenes of bonding between the hunters in their purpose-built tents, forays into the forage that should try for suspense but go for toilet gags instead, and an almost pathological reluctance to allow any audience empathy whatsoever towards the doomed clowns.

But wait, as events progress, it seems the clowns have more wits about them than we were first allowed to glimpse. And they’re fighting back, in their own unique way...

CLOWN HUNT has clearly been filmed on a budget of approximately four Wispas and a Jammie Dodger. I’d wager that the cast aren’t professionals, and it seems to me that they’ve all been asked to bring their own costumes and props to the open air shoot: hence, we get a lot of Rambo-alikes with goatee beards. It’d be interesting to get the perspective of an American viewer on this, as it may just be that Tubb’s film offers an eerily accurate depiction of America’s hunting community.

The acting, however, isn’t too shabby and the script does remain quite tight throughout. Whether you’ll appreciate this depends largely on your tolerance of gags such as "they’ve been making Viagra for women for a hundred years, know what they call it? Cash". Yes, there is an abundance of bad (and very old) jokes on offer here. Christ, in a contrived conceit, the hunters even feast on the flesh of dead clowns (not as graphic as it sounds), purely so the line about clown meat tasting "funny" can be inched in...

While we’re talking of such matters, in terms of exploitation, CLOWN HUNT falls a tad short. There is some racist and sexist humour to be had, of course, but if you’re looking for staple ingredients of exploitation cinema such as nudity or violence, you’ll be sorely disappointed. The nearest we get to the former is the aforementioned mud-wrestling (all-male, I’m afraid). And any violence is as innocent as when folk got shot in old John Wayne films.

Still, everything is fast-paced and I was surprised by how well-shot and lit most of the action was. Oh, the soundtrack is decent too – offering a mix of rap (an overused tune, admittedly), rock, country and more.

This disc comes from Seminal Films, an off-shoot of MVD Visual Entertainment.

The region-free DVD presents the film uncut in 16x9 widescreen. It’s a good transfer, with natural colours and stable blacks. A slight softness to events throughout won’t spoil potential viewers’ appreciation.

English 2.0 audio is similarly reliable throughout.

A static main menu page leads to an animated scene-selection menu, allowing access to the film via 8 chapters.

The only extra is a slideshow of 16 windowboxed behind the scenes photos, spread over the course of 81 seconds and set to a really poor country tune.

CLOWN HUNT is a minor film, then, but one that’s not without its simple charms. I’m pleased to report that it looks good on MVD Visual’s multi-region disc.

Review by Stuart Willis

Released by Seminal Films
Region 1 - NTSC
Not Rated
Extras :
see main review