Michael Delahoyde, PhD

Professor of English


VULGAR (19??)

From View Askew, the same movie company that brought us Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back comes a move that attempts to explain where the company¹s logo of a cross-dressing clown comes from.

Vulgar doesn’t really fit into the whole evil clown horror genre or motif. But it is a story, nonetheless, about a dark clown. Will Carlson is a struggling kids’ party clown, Flappy. As a way to make extra money, he decides to become Vulgar, a cross-dressing bachelor party clown (the idea is that he will show up for shock value and the step aside for the real stripper).

But his first night out as Vulgar, Will gets held at gunpoint and raped by a fiftysomething creep and his two mentally unstable sons. Will keeps this traumatic event secret, save for telling his best friend, and shortly thereafter saves the life of one of his birthday girls as Flappy when her abusive father holds her at gunpoint. Flappy/Will¹s new hero status catches the eye of a network executive (Kevin Smith of Silent Bob fame) who thinks Flappy could be the next Barney. Flappy’s new TV show is a hit, and Will is on his way to fame and fortune.

But the creep¹s young daughter and second wife (who holds all the power in the marriage) are big fans of Flappy, and the guy decides to blackmail Will with video footage of the night of the rape, even showing up with his sons to threaten Will personally if he doesn¹t provide them with another night of fun.

So Will and his best friend decide to take matters into their own hands, and Vulgar becomes an avenging clown, complete with gun. Packing heat, they show up outside the designated spot, and Vulgar whips out his gun, but is outmaneuvered by the three. One of the sons picks up the gun and accidentally shoots the other son, then a mugger from outside shoots the first son and Vulgar/Will chases after the father, who dies of a heart attack in the pursuit.

While the rape scene is horrifying (but not nearly as terrifying as the one in Deliverance), Vulgar is marketed more as a black comedy than anything. Will is so put-upon from the first moment in the movie in his everyday life that the rape seems logical, a natural next step; he can only go up from there. In this manner, Will comes across as a modern-day Job more than anything else; they throw everything at him and yet he still maintains his innocence. At just the moment he seems about to crack, God/Fate/Whatever steps in and kills his rapists-blackmailers for him.

The clown references are few and far between in this movie, although View Askew has played them up in advertising the film.

Evil Clown Films