Before the recent national clown hysteria flooded the news, several sightings of a creepy clown roaming the late night streets of Green Bay, WI were reported to the media and authorities. However, there were no accusations of this clown chasing children or terrorizing communities. The only “crime” for which this clown was guilty was simply appearing creepy.
“This person is not breaking the law,” Captain Kevin Warych of the Green Bay Police Department told USA Today. “He can walk in a clown costume anywhere he wants.”
After going viral, the creepy clown, nicknamed Gags, was revealed to be a marketing campaign orchestrated by filmmaker and Green Bay resident Adam Krause and his cast/crew of aspiring artists. In an attempt to promote his latest short horror film titled Gags, Krause released staged photos of his clown wondering the streets on social media. With the help of his cast and crew sharing these photos, the story of Gags the Green Bay clown spread quicker than the filmmaker had anticipated.
“We released the first set of pictures, the ones that went viral, very early in the post-production process,” said Krause. “My cast and crew had just done a reshoot two weeks prior and the film was probably only 10% done. Honestly, I thought it would take a while before people took notice of our clown, so I started early. Had I known it was going to explode, I would have planned to release the pictures closer to when the film was set to premiere.”
Despite receiving some criticism for false ties to the nationwide creepy clown hysteria, Gags was far from being the first creepy clown sighting. Krause’s project has been in the works since its conception in 2014 after reports of real roaming clowns began making headlines in the previous year. However, he did not begin writing the script until August of 2015. With actual creepy clown sightings in multiple locations dating back to 2013, Krause thought this would make an interesting story for a horror film.
“Back in 2013 and 2014,” said Krause, “I started hearing stories of individuals who were dressing up like clowns and roaming city streets at night. There was one across the pond in England, there was one in Staten Island and another in Wasco, CA. I just thought it would make an interesting premise for a short horror film.”
Krause’s film, Gags, mirrors his marketing campaign that had everyone talking about a late night roaming clown. Gags centers on a creepy clown walking the streets of Green Bay late at night. Many local residents find this to be unnerving, which is likely due to the questions to which no one can answer besides the whispers and rumors derived from the strange sightings.
“At the center of the story,” explains Krause, “We have Gags, a creepy clown that has been spotted all over the city of Green Bay late at night. Why would anyone do this? Why would someone dress up like a creepy clown and walk around a city at night? Gags gives us one possible explanation told in the form of a short horror story.”
In the wake of the panic over creepy clowns and the state of the country, Krause will no longer be sending Gags out to roam the streets. The marketing campaign served its purpose, drawing in a sold out crowd for the premiere of Gags on October 3rd. Krause will be showing his film at a handful of festivals within the next couple of months before releasing a fully-loaded DVD. Further development of this short horror film turning into a full length feature film may not be out of the question.
“If the response to our film continues to be positive and the right opportunity comes along, I’m all for it,” said Krause. “But I don’t want it forced. I’m in talks with a few people now and there are definitely some great ideas being thrown around. So we’ll see.”
Details on film festival screenings, dates and times can be found at www.gagsfilm.com. Further information and updates on this low-budget success can also be found on the Gags Facebook page.