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By Steve Anderson | September 7, 2006

Well, folks, the Killer Clown subgenre of horror, made so popular by Stephen King’s “IT”, has finally hit rock bottom. And rock bottom is currently populated by “Mr. Jingles”, a killer clown feature that never should have left the circus.

So what we have here plotwise is the story of a clown. And, of course, it’s an evil clown—only this time, for a little variety, it’s a clown that becomes evil eventually. An innocent man was sent to prison for a crime he didn’t commit, and when he got out, not surprisingly, he was really rather upset…and a little bit insane.

So insane, in fact, that he became Mr. Jingles, the Dark Clownish Avenger.

The worst part is, I’m not kidding. Mr. Jingles’ mission is to kill everyone involved with putting him behind bars. And seeing as how he was innocent to begin with, he’s basically just turned vigilante. That and he’s also been studying up on that great generic horror movie force, “the occult”.

All we need now is for someone to crank out the Necronomicon and we’ll be completely lodged in cliché country.

Though this finer point is easily overshadowed by the fact that he’s basically just a clown on a killing spree. But he’s missed a target, and watching her family get chopped up into little bits by a giggling, screaming clown did a whole lot of damage to the little girl’s psyche, and so she’s been in an institution for several years. Now she’s back…and so is Mr. Jingles.

And man, is this ever hokey. Check out the effects at the three minute fifty one second mark. It’s not exactly convincing to watch someone’s “intestines” fall out through a huge bulge in their sweatshirt. And the trick with the axes at six minutes twenty four seconds. They didn’t even try to conceal the fact that they didn’t have budget or skill enough to pull this off–they just cut away and let the blood run down the actor’s face. And what was with that shot at seven minutes? Gunfire now sounds like clicks? And there isn’t even a muzzle flash! I could keep going, folks, but I think you get the picture here. This is truly amateur hour. I’m insulted just having witnessed it. And believe me when I tell you that I’ll be insulted plenty more times throughout “Mr. Jingles” by horrible effects and copout cutaways designed to cover up the fact that they have neither the budget nor the skill to actually pull off anything they try here.

Even better is the dialogue. I spent most of the first six minutes laughing at the horrific lines that Mr. Jingles had to spew out, especially that truly godawful knock-knock joke. Check out the twelve minute mark, where a bunch of stoners get to talk about the Mr. Jingles killings. And it only gets better at nineteen minutes thirteen seconds, where some guy rants at his parents’ graves. First he says, “The only thing you ever left me was a bunch of unpaid bills”. He follows that up with “The only thing you ever left me was an alcoholic gene.” Well, which only thing did they leave you there, champ? Was it a bunch of unpaid bills or an alcoholic gene? Was it BOTH? Well damn, then I guess they didn’t ONLY leave you either if they left you both!


The ending is where pretty much all of the action takes place, though it’s still pretty slim on the acting. And pretty slim on the logic, too. In fact, I’m pretty hard pressed to name a situation that makes less sense than the last fifteen minutes of Mr. Jingles.

The special features include audio options, English and Spanish subtitles, and trailers for “Mr. Jingles”, “Komodo vs. Cobra”, “The Butcher”, “Santeria: The Soul Possessed”, and “After Sundown”.

All in all, “Mr. Jingles” is the most godawful lump of tripe I’ve had the displeasure of watching in a good long while. Although in my case, a good long while may be the last couple weeks. It’s still pretty lousy. Stuffed to the gills with trite effects, feeble dialogue, and plot holes big enough to stuff fifty clowns into, “Mr. Jingles” is less a circus act and more something left on the bottom of the elephant cage.

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