Why yes, 8 Ball Clown deals with a psychotic drug-addled clown who takes gleeful pleasure in murdering others. Yes, that is also why some audience members are turned off straight away. Can the technical aspects and writing do justice to the creepy premise?
8 Ball the Clown (Jacob Le Doux) is addicted to heroin and takes little pleasure in amusing children. No, what he truly delights in is torturing others before extinguishing their life. Under the guise of selling off old baby items, 8 Ball tricks a pregnant woman into entering his house and going into the basement. He then knocks her out, dresses her as a clown, and deliveries the baby on his own.
“Their calls drive him to seek revenge on the young children by playing a deadly game.”
But, even this torture is losing its luster. 8 Ball still feels the call of the dragon, and the torment of dependency is driving him to his wit’s end. That is until siblings Alex (Alexander Shell), and Kristine (Kristine Shell) prank call him. Their calls drive him to seek revenge on the young children by playing a deadly game.
8 Ball Clown was shot in Towson, Maryland and was written by the teenage Kristine Shell—the very same who acts in the film—and Mark Shell; who also produced and edited the film (I am presuming he is the father of the two talented kids). The screenplay takes its time to set up 8 Ball and provides some sympathy for the messed up human. This works well, though there are issues present. For one, the movie’s pacing is off. It picks up once 8 Ball shows up at the kids’ house to kill them, but there is no pressing momentum until the halfway point. The day in a life angle can work, but not here; or at least not as presented. Given the titular character’s backstory, drug use, and murderous tendencies, just waiting for people to show at his door feels like a missed opportunity.
But, the screenplay does an excellent job with characterizations. As stated, 8 Ball’s despondent nature is explored in detail, which makes for a multifaceted villain. The children Kristine and Alex also have strong, unique personalities that shine through. Their constant bickering and teasing of each other feel realistic. The two of them being afraid, then frustrated by the deadly clown plays well. The story structure, using flashbacks to fill in 8 Ball’s past, and the parallel stories of the kids and the clown add to the tension nicely.