A few years back, when I started writing for the web, I made contact with a very boisterous, good spirited horror host by the name of Rob Dimension. Rob gave me my first screener of his show Late Night at the Horror Hotel, and I embraced each episode with fan fervor. The humor was camp, and it was witty featuring all the kaiju my screen could handle. The set designs were true mad scientist. I could tell then that Mr. Dimension was an exceptionally talented guy. Since that time I’ve listened to and enjoyed both his XOC (Extreme Odd Couple) Podcast, Monster Mania Podcast and even had the chance to hang out at Monster Mania and hob knob a bit. Rob pushes himself on every project to which he lends himself. That is no more evident than in his latest endeavor, a short film by the name of No Clowning Around. While the picture is still undergoing some finishing touches, the trailer has been released, and while it’s only two and half minutes long, it may just give you the willies.
No Clowning Around is a Horror short film based on one mans fall from grace. Ed, who once was beloved by his hometown as Mumbles the Clown, is now a party clown who battles depression and addiction. His last shed of light in his life is Trixie, who has struggles of her own. Being pushed from all sides, who and what will stop the endless spiral of sadness?
This isn’t just another clown horror flick though. There’s some depth here that goes under the makeup. I had the chance to pick Rob’s brain about the trailer, plans for the release and some of the inner-workings of No Clowning Around. What you’ll find below the surface may not have you laughing; you may be terrified… or maybe truly affected on a deeper, more personal level.
DIMENSION: The premise comes from a hard look in the mirror..haha, and probably an over active imagination. Truth is, I was really struggling in my personal life, I had turned forty and my home life was just bad. I was in a rut all around. Looking back I can now see that I was dealing with depression but when you’re in that moment, you don’t see it. You sit and wonder why life is the way it is.
Once I recognized what was going on, I made the changes to work my way back out. You can never beat depression but you can look it in the face and fight back; No Clowning Around is my attempt at fighting back.
TERROR:Was this your first time collaborating with Matthew Burd or a co-director on a project?
DIMENSION:Matt and I have known each other for about ten years now. When we started our Horror Hosting television show “Late Night at the Horror Hotel”, Matt was the director, editor and was “Lord Von Heisenburger” on the show. I have a ton of respect for Matt as a director; he has a great eye for what works, plus I love his honesty. I think it’s important to be honest with each other, if a take stinks, he speaks up. Matt also had Kim and myself in a few of his shorts: Cuts Right Over and The Pizza Man.
As for co-directing, Matt really took the lead, I just had certain ideas and shots I thought would work. It’s hard to act and direct, I thought I could handle it; some of the shoot days I was better than others. I would look to Matt and say “This is all you” and he would take over. We worked really great as a team, we included each other in our thought process and added input when we needed too.
TERROR: You were saying that No Clowning Around comes from a very dark place in your life. Would you care to elaborate on what inspired you to make this film (whatever you’re comfortable with)?
DIMENSION: The truth is, everything in the movie is a metaphor for my life at the time. The clown makeup signifies how I was always perceived; the guy that’s always funny but the truth was, I was a mess inside. In the movie, the main character Ed, had a popular local television show, he loses it, which is basically what happened to me. The character Trixie, who is played by my wife Kim, is more of a symbol of marriage and love while the character of Lenny, played by my best friend Steve Corino, signifies the “static” in my life…all the bad things that were bombarding me. Lenny is everything I hated. The one character that isn’t seen in the trailer is “Mr. Peepers” who is the symbol of my conscience and my inner voice who sometimes can push you in the wrong direction.
It was important to me to have those close to me, the ones who helped me, be a part of this. Everyone worked very hard; I couldn’t be happier.
TERROR: What separates this from other clown pictures whether dark comedy like Shakes or straight up horror like Clownhouse/Killer Klowns?
DIMENSION: I love Shakes the Clown, plus Killer Klowns is easily in my top 5 movies, not even genre specific..that movie is great. I think No Clowning Around has elements of each, some Horror, some Dark Comedy, plus some Drama. I don’t want people to think this is a killer clown movie, it’s not. In the movie, sure there are some questionable Clown antics..haha..but the movie is more about “Mumbles the Clown” breaking point. It builds up…sometimes when you lose everything; you have no choice but to fight back. I almost feel like this has a bullying message.
TERROR: Have you had experience as a clown or with clown makeup prior to the performance in No Clowing Around (and other than your comedic performances with Steve Corino on your podcast which are exceptionally funny).
DIMENSION: I was always a clown but never wore the makeup, but believe it or not, it almost felt natural. I did a few make up tests and changed the look and costume as we got closer to shooting. I made sure to order legit clown outfits and accessories, I didn’t want to shop for basics, it had to look like Mumbles was a successful clown at one time.
As for Corino, who is not a fan of horror, talked openly on the www.xocpodcast.com about his “last scene” and how it haunted him for a few days. He thought, in some ways, maybe I wanted to kill him for real, which is crazy….ok..maybe not totally crazy.
TERROR: The trailer seems to stress the transition from down on his luck performer to a vengeful, angered man in makeup. Rob, you’re always in good spirits when we’ve met up. Was it difficult making the transition between depression and anger? Did it take its toll outside when you got from out in front of the lens?
DIMENSION:Great question! There is one point in the film that causes Ed to breakdown and sob; for those few takes, I was Ed (emotionally) and I openly cried on set for that scene. Kim felt that there were a few times when my mood was bad after or even for a few days after. I think it was a freeing experience; it was a personal battle for me, both creatively and emotionally. It was draining but as soon as we were done, I started working on new ideas for future projects. I almost felt like I was given a second chance.
TERROR: How long has No Clowning Around been in the works? How did the story begin to form and did it originate as a short piece of fiction or has it always been a screenplay concept you’ve been working on?
DIMENSION: The story really just poured out of me. I decided it was time to make a creative leap and write a movie. The process took me about two days to write; it was like, once it started, I saw the starting line and then saw the finish line, with a few water breaks in between. I had written several episodes and Tv concept ideas but nothing this dark, I tend to be a comedy writer (Or at least try too). I always thought I would write a comedy but mentally this needed to come out.
TERROR: People are dead to nuts afraid of clowns. How about you? Why do you think clowns creep folks out? I bet being on set in clown makeup gave you the chance to give Kim and the gang a good scare.
DIMENSION: I never was afraid of clowns, but now that I realize that the person behind the makeup could be mad, hurting or downright evil; it proves that you never know what they’re thinking. Clowns can portray a happy, fun loving character but add spite and hatred into their act and people tend to laugh, even if it’s an uneasy chuckle.
Kim goes through a transition in the film and she was the creepy one. She kept the mood light and really was my wall to help kept me afloat. I think the biggest misconception, on set, was my mood, even when I wasn’t miserable, the frown appearance of the makeup made me appear grumpy. People would ask “You OK ” a lot. I couldn’t have asked for a better crew or cast, it was great.
TERROR: What are your plans for promoting No Clowning Around? Have you been submitting to festivals at this time? Any that you’d care to announce?
DIMENSION: I have been working very hard to get the trailer into festivals and run at theaters. The trailer has been shown from Texas, to Indiana to locally here in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Facebook and Twitter promoting works OK but nothing is better than talking face to face about the project and reaching real genre lovers. Once people can see the trailer, then I can talk to them about why the project is personal or important to me, you make instant fans and people can relate.
We will be premiering the film in December and once we schedule that, I will try my best to keep people informed. Just stay tuned to www.RobDimension.com or www.NoClowningAround.com and the date and location will be available. The DVD will be available that night and will ship right after. I don’t want to ship prior; I want to keep our finished product under wraps under the premier. Matt and I will be the only ones to see it before the premier; I want everyone to experience it for the first time together.
People have asked if I will be in full makeup; I’m still debating. At the recent Monster-Mania con in Maryland, I dressed as Mumbles and had a great response. Once I get the date, I will make a decision then…I’m leaning towards yes. I accept the role that I wrote, the character I play, so I look forward to a few more “Mumbles” appearances.
TERROR: Has the film been full completed and packaged yet? Releasing solely on DVD at this point or, knowing your affinity for magnetic tape, any plans to see it hit the VHS as has been a growing trend as of late? I believe you mentioned a November/December release date.
DIMENSION: In a week I see a rough cut; Matt is working hard on editing the film. I have faith in him; he is equally excited to see the finished project. I want him to do his thing..haha..I’m not an editor. Now, you bring up VHS…of course I’m doing a VHS release. The VHS release will be limited to just 48. They will be numbered and signed and once they’re gone..they are gone. The initial DVD release will also have an alternate cover and case color; they will be the first 100. The DVD will retail for only $8.00 and the VHS will be $12.00. Pre-orders will be up mid-October at www.RobDimension.com and www.NoClowningAround.com
TERROR: Any other projects on the way you’d like to tell us about? No resurgence or reunion of Late Night at the Horror Hotel on the horizon (you know I’m a nut for that show). Will there be an effort to make No Clowning Around a full length some day?
DIMENSION: I think the future looks bright. Sadly, Late Night at the Horror Hotel is just a memory but, the good news is I’m developing a new show called “Dimension’s Monster Chronicles”. The show will be similar to a horror hosting format but different. We are looking at 3 mins episode length, since I feel the horror hosting formula is just outdated. Public domain films aren’t appreciated anymore and people’s attention span has changed; I just feel we have to change with the times.
The show will contain puppets, reviews and more…kind of like what Kim and I was doing before on our Youtube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/RobDimension – Kim and I did reviews and added comedy in the mix. The concept is I have become a puppet after I make a deal to become famous, like a deal gone wrong. While working on a cure for my new found problem, we talk movies and more.
No Clowning Around as a feature? Of course we are hopeful on that. My idea now is this; if No Clowning Around has a good response, we are hoping to raise money for a full 70 minute feature. It will be a part two; yet will include a prequel story and the story after No Clowning Around. It will be easy enough to follow if you haven’t seen the first short, but rewarding enough to follow Ed/Mumbles story after the events of the first. I have the idea
written out; now it’s up to the viewing audience…if you want more, you’ll get more.
Make sure you like No Clowning Around on Facebook – www.Facebook.com/NoClowningAround
Thank you, Rob Dimension, for letting us inside. We’ll await the full release soon and make sure to keep The Liberal Dead readers in the know when it’s making an appearance. Good luck Rob, Kim and Matthew. Good luck Mumbles!