8. The Last Circus
Director: Alex de la Iglesia
Stars: Carlos Areces, Antonio de la Torre, Carolina Bang, Manuel Tallafe
A better title for this one might have been Clown With Machine Guns, or Clown With A Machete. Shit, maybe even Homicidal Clown Drives An Ice Cream Truck. Tell us you wouldn’t pay to see movies with those titles. Not that The Last Circus is a bad name; identifying the story of a lovestruck madman in colorful face paint who goes on a killing spree in fascist 1973-era Spain, the film’s actual title is fitting, but it’s unable to justifiably encapsulate Spanish writer-director Alex de la Iglesia’s unparalleled vision of balls-out mayhem. We’re not even sure if any label could do so.
Arriving in limited art-house theaters in mid-August, The Last Circus demonstrated to the lucky few able to see it on a big screen just why it has made thick waves at various film festivals over the last year and change. It’s the ultimate cornucopia of gratuitous indulgence; the violence is unhinged and excessive (complete with a guy frying his own face with a hot iron), the women are scantily clad and scalding hot (namely love interest Carolina Bang—yes, that’s her real name), and ideas are totally bonkers (at one point, the main character hides out in a forest, naked, and lives like an un-caged animal).
To de la Iglesia’s credit, though, The Last Circus is also a fascinating character study, tracking the mental rise and physical fall of a marginally sympathetic lunatic with an unpredictability that sets the film apart from just about any other movie you’re likely this year or next.