Wrinkles the Clown

Director Michael Beach Nichols’ documentary about the internet’s favorite creepy clown has a few tricks up its polka-dotted sleeve. According to Wrinkles the Clown, the man beneath the Wrinkles mask is a 65-year-old retiree who lives in a van, enjoys fishing, Natty Ice, and strip clubs, and occasionally terrorizes both random Floridians and naughty kids whose parents hire him to provide “behavioral services.” (Those services, a developmental psychologist says in Wrinkles, are “really misguided,” while another interviewee, the very earnest Funky the Clown, mourns that in part thanks to Wrinkles, “there’s a whole generation growing up with no positive image of a clown whatsoever.”) “You gotta problem with it, you can take it up with mom and dad, ‘cause I’m just doing’ my job!” Wrinkles growls from behind the wheel of his van. But a little more than midway through, Wrinkles takes a turn and starts digging into the shakiness of online celebrity and the spread of digital folklore; while everyone can agree Wrinkles is creepy as fuck, opinions will differ about the effectiveness of his movie.

by Erik Henriksen
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Michael Beach Nichols