Starring Kevin Jiggetts, Kara Luiz, Max Gray Wilbur
Directed by Mitchell Altieri
What would the world be without clowns to keep us happy? Now while some of you might find that question to be a bit sarcastic and disturbing, some of the hardcore horror fans would certainly agree that we need clowns, strictly for subject matter – now how about I ramp it up a bit: how about vampire clowns? Piquing your interest yet? If so, allow to me to introduce this little gem from director Mitchell Altieri called The Nightwatchmen, and if I may be so inclined, please let me say that aside from some discernible goofiness strewn about this flick, I’ll say that it’s already one of my favorites in this short little spell we call 2017.
The movie opens up with the saddening news that Blimpo the Clown (apparently a national treasure), has passed away due to a mysterious illness while overseas in Romania (wonder what could have done the ol’ jester in). So, his body is shipped back to the states, and a couple of bumbling delivery dopes drop him off at a Baltimore newspaper building, where a “deal” is struck to watch the body overnight, and he’ll be safely transported to the funeral home in the morning. Sounds like a simple task, doesn’t it? Well, you haven’t seen the security responsible for the safety of this particular building – consisting of an ex-soldier (Ken Arnold), his disgruntled co-officer (Jiggetts) and an Italian hothead with a cold stare (Dan DeLuca) – added to which is the newest employee (Wilbur) on his first overnight shift: now known as “Rajeeve” thanks to a deceased co-worker’s uniform. He’s briefed on the duties encompassed within, such as “watch this camera, play some cards” – you know, the path of least-resistance kind of stuff. Anyhow, it’s not before long that ol’ dead Blimpo hops up out of his wooden casket and takes on his new fangtastic lifestyle, dispatching workers in the building and turning them into stark-raving bloodsuckers, and it’s up to our bumbling squad of rent-a-cops to try to save the day – large leap, indeed.
Aiding the cause is a tabloid journalist (Luiz), who’s not afraid to get her hands bloody, and the cameo list is a fun one as well: James Remar (The Warriors) holds his own as a sleazy supervisor, and the fellas will get treated to a double-dose of femme fatale fineness with the inclusion of Tiffany Shepis and Sarah French as a couple of unlucky office-workers. Both ladies could shine up a pic in a heartbeat, and it’s well worth the price of admission to see them work their magic. Attention all gorehounds: we’ve got a sale on an overabundance of arterial sprays and crimson douchings here as well – these vampires make a friggin mess when they’re sent back to hell (and they leave a heck of a stench too). Humor as you’d expect it, can be a bit campy, but it’s got its place, and I found myself laughing out loud at more than one instance within the film’s runtime. Overall, I can absolutely recommend The Nightwatchmen to an audience looking for a fun, comedy-ridden gorefest when it becomes available to the public, and damn, we’re already just a week into 2017 and I’ve found at least a couple of movies that have made me smile from ear to ear – let’s keep this trend going!