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By Phil Hall | May 12, 2007

“Chingaso the Clown” is something of a cheat: a short film designed as a calling card for a potential feature. The real problem is that the film is so wonderful that it’s a shame the feature-length version has yet to be made.

Set in the town of Messiah, a one-time farmland turned to ruin by a war between clowns and mimes, the film follows the eponymous Chingaso on a quest for revenge. Chingaso (a burly, tattooed, hostile clown) is seeking the man who murdered his parents. That miscreant is none other than Bastard the Clown – imagine Bozo through an Abel Ferrara lens and you have the villain. But it seems that Bastard is just a lieutenant in the army of evil clowns. The real brains belongs to Long Prey, a leather-clad dominatrix.

Elias Matar’s film, based on the Manny Elias comic book, is packed with hilarious lines. When Chingaso announces the reason for his mission, Bastard answers back: “So what? I killed my own parents. Do you hear me complaining about it?” When Long Prey meets her enemy, she sneers: “Did you come here to kill me or did you come here to f**k me?”

The film has a brilliantly grimy production design and the excess of violence achieves a unique balance between the hilarious and the grotesque.

Alas, the film is still a tease. Chingaso proclaims “It ain’t over, clowns!” as the film prematurely closes. C’mon, will some Hollywood moneybags please invest in the stretching of this film to a much-needed feature-length?

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