Joker's Wild (2016) poster

Joker’s Wild (2016)


aka Joker’s Potergeist

USA. 2016.


Director – Christopher S. Lind, Screenplay – Dylan Bank & Kenneth Del Vecchio, Producer – Kenneth Del Vecchio, Photography – Dylan Bank & Christopher S. Lind, Music – Kenneth Hampton, Production Design – Matt Ruscher & Sean Tulner. Production Company – Justice for All Productions.


Lacy Marie Meyer (Aurora), Ari Boyland (William Remmington), Eric Roberts (James Jennings), Martin Kove (Graham Palace), Caroline Heinle (Sarah), Matthew Goodrich (Xavier), Seregon O’Dassey (Jillian), Kenneth Del Vecchio (Mayor Bob Nash), Robert Bogue (Congressman Butler), Mandy Bruno (Carly Nash), Ricahrd [Richard] Lounello (Maurice)


The Palace Theater is premiering the killer clown film Joker’s Wild. In the midst of this, James Jennings runs amok in a clown mask, shooting people in the audience, including the theatre’s owner Graham Palace. His rampage ends when he is shot down by Graham’s daughter Aurora’s boyfriend William Remmington. One year later, Aurora prepares to reopen the theatre. She is facing opposition from the town’s mayor who is pushing a motion to have the theatre demolished but she has the backing of a local senator. As Aurora spends the night in the theatre to prepare for the opening, she is haunted by hallucinations and visions of killer clowns to the point she can no longer be certain what is real.

Joker’s Wild is a directorial debut for Christopher S. Lind. The film is co-written by Kenneth Del Vecchio, a regular low-budget producer who mostly specialised in thrillers. (Vecchio also plays the town’s mayor who leads the campaign to close down the theatre). The film is also known as Joker’s Poltergeist, despite no poltergeists being featured in the film, presumably in order to capitalise on the Poltergeist (2015) remake.

Joker’s Wild promptly proves to be another crappy killer clown film. It consists of random flips between reality and illusion to the point where you realise that nothing that happens makes any sense. I get that it is trying to be a reality bender and have whatever is haunting the theatre invade Lacy Marie Meyer’s dreams. However, when it returns to the real world, these scenes are full of random disjuncts and more weird killer clown scenes until you give up trying to make sense of any connecting logic. For example, you get that Lacy Marie is afraid of clowns because the killer wore a clown mask during the screening of a film about killer clowns – but later we confusingly see that the ghosts of those killed in the massacre also appear as clowns. There is a town hall meeting held in the theatre and someone bursts in and begins shooting but then this is abruptly forgotten about and the film suddenly becomes about the group of friends trapped in the theatre.

Heroine Aurora (Lacy Marie Meyer) surrounded by ghostly clowns in Joker's Wild (2016)
Heroine Aurora (Lacy Marie Meyer) surrounded by ghostly clowns

The other weird thing about the film is how it is about a gun massacre in a theatre and then abruptly turns into a diatribe about the Second Amendment right to gun ownership. The locals are mean because they want to shut the theatre down and in the same breath they are also depicted as supportive of the push for greater gun control. The town hall meeting has a ludicrous scene where Lacy Marie Meyer stands up to argue how she would have been much safer during the massacre if she had been allowed to wear a sidearm to defend herself (as though just what was needed in the midst of a shooting rampage is another individual firing into the crowd).

You can see the film drawing the same argument that hardline gun advocates do – the absurd belief that all you need to do to stop school shootings is to arm the teachers or the children. The end of the film states it all clearly and upfront with the end credits tribute “This movie is dedicated to all the victims who have been killed by totally weak scumbags – and to the US Constitution Founding Fathers for enacting the Second Amendment.” The film’s trailer notes that it was inspired by the mass shooting at the Century 16 Theater in Aurora, Colorado by James Holmes in 2012.

Trailer here

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