REVIEW: 100 Tears (2007): Reviewed by BRYAN ‘SHU’ SCHUESSLER
Let’s just get this outta the way first: Clowns and midgets really creep me out! There. I said it so now I can get on to my review.
100 Tears (2007) , directed by Marcus Koch, was a wonderful surprise. Why was it a surprise, you ask? Well, it was a surprise because I did not think that a clown going around killing everyone he crossed paths with was going to be a worthwhile film that would ever amount to anything. 100 Tears worked because it really had a nice balance of blood-splattering gore and quick one-liners delivered with witty humor. If you are one that does not like any humor in a horror film and thinks that humor ruins a film, maybe 100 Tears is not your type of film. I, for one, think that having humor in a film can be done the right way sometimes. It can also ruin a perfectly good dark and sinister film, but the balance in 100 Tears is in the right amount and does not seem to hurt the film in anyway.
A couple of tabloid journalists Mark Webb (Joe Davison) and Jennifer Stevenson (Georgia Chris) are figuring out what piece of 3rd-rate muck-raking journalism they are going to be writing about for their tabloid paper. Instead, they decide to do a little of research and begin to uncover the truth and sordid past of a clown that goes psycho on a killing spree after being accused for crimes which he did not commit. Years later, he has begun killing off anyone in his way or on his list.
Scream Queen, or very much on her to becoming one, Raine Brown plays the role of Christine Greaston, daughter of Gurdy the Clown (Jack Amos). The film has an excellent pace and was very well-acted by all involved, especially Joe Davison and Georgia Chris (who I wish showed a little more skin than her skimpy underwear). I think the interaction between Davison’s character and Chris’ character really rounded out the whole film and made the scenes that were not filled with gore and violence all the more worthwhile and interesting to watch. I felt the character development was strong and that you got some sort of idea of what their relationship meant to each other. Davison also kept the jokes going and it added balance to the whole film. Part of the reason there were so many comedic elements to the film may have part to do with the fact that Joe Davison also wrote the film.
On a side-note, I ran into director Marcus Koch at the recent FangoCon this past week in Chicago and I discussed the film with him, not knowing that he was Marcus Koch and directed the film. Embarassed and a little bit inebriated, I told him that my comments on the film were pretty damn honest because if I had not liked the film, he would have heard first-hand. Maybe if Koch reads this review, he would be up for having an interview with myself for SHU-IZMZ…
Koch directed this film and its his third. He also directed Rot (1997) and segments of Snuff Perversions: Bizarre Cases of Death (1999) which both were direct-to-video. Koch’s background in film and his expertise is in make-up and special effects, for which he has done in over twenty films. That would explain why the scenes of carnage looked so good.
The throbbing techno/industrial soundtrack really added some intensity to the scenes involving Gurdy the Clown as he hacked and chopped his victims with his over-sized meat cleaver in bloody fashion. But, I have to point out that the intro to the film had a very Leonard Cohen-esque sound to it, mixed in with a bit of carnival/circus music. Garnering an NC-17 rating for gore and violence, this film really won me over. Oddtopsy FX were responsible for the gore and blood. They did a fantastic job because I am a huge fan of geysers of arterial sprays shooting across the screen. The film really has a light-hearted feel and vibe to and never tries to be more than it should be.
With a budget of $75,000, they really made a good-looking film. I would venture to say that a decent chunk of cash went into doing all the scenes of gore. So many indie horror flicks try to litter the film with annoying and forced scenes of dialogue, truly banal and annoying to the viewers of these films who really just want a semi-decent plot that includes gore, sex, and violence. After all, fans of indie horror usually are looking parts of the film that go against the grain of what Hollywood deems acceptable to portray in a horror film. Any film that has an original idea that shows creativity and heart, has some really strong characters that the viewer actually cares about when they meet their untimely demise, and some nicely placed murder and mutilation makes for a winner in my book. Bring on the blood, babes, and boobs.
If I want to see a remake done wrong, I will turn to Hollywood. If I want a film that follows the “rules”, again, I will turn to Hollywood. For a “safe” movie, I will always turn to Hollywood. But for a film that films the unconventional scene or two throughout the movie, I turn to independent horror. For independent horror is diamonds in the rough. Albeit, very bloody diamonds, but still diamonds. Koch made a film that played only by his rules and no one elses. He did it on a tiny budget and succeeded.