Horror Short Gags: No Laughing Matter

Some people believe money is essential to making a great film. However, there have been plenty of successful low-budget films while major studios with deep pockets can create a 2 hour and 30 minute flop. Gags, a short horror film out of Green Bay, Wisconsin, proves that money isn’t everything and the age of creativity is not dead.

Inspired by harmless, real life, creepy clown sightings that date back to 2013, Gags tells the story of a clown who’s intent may not be so innocent. Opening with photos being taken of a clown roaming the late night streets of Green Bay, Gags is seen wearing soiled and ragged circus attire and a sinister looking clown mask while clutching a bundle of black, inflatable balloons by the strings. Adding to the realism of the hysteria surrounding the Green Bay clown, the film cuts to several brief news reports and authorities stating that there is nothing they can do about this seemingly harmless clown. As the screen fades to black, words appear claiming that the following footage is considered evidence in an ongoing missing persons case of three individuals within the city.


Cutting to a first person point of view, Jon, Ashley and Sara embark on a carefree night out while Jon hopes to capture Gags on video. When an unexpected encounter in an underpass occurs, Jon records the creepy clown asking him questions to which he gets no reply. When he turns his back for one moment, Gags vanishes, leaving behind a single black balloon. Holding the only piece of evidence of the creepy clown, Jon poses for a picture. The balloon suddenly bursts leaving Jon covered in an unidentifiable green slime. As the girls break into laughter, they decide to end their night. Returning to the parking garage, the trio finds Ashley’s car full of black balloons. Looking around for an explanation, they see Gags silently staring at them from a distance. Speeding away in Ashley’s car, Jon is outraged, shouting at Gags and flipping him off while the girls are visibly unnerved. Little do the three friends know that their night with Gags is far from over.


Self-funding this film with an approximate budget of $3,500, aspiring filmmaker Adam Krause utilizes creativity and basic storytelling principles to tell a compelling tale of horror in only 16 minutes and 46 seconds. Combining a gritty look and feel with some subtle sound effects, this film is a reminder of horror shorts within films such as V/H/S and shows like Tales from the Crypt. Where some big budget studio films rely upon pricey special effects and pointless flashy scenes in a cheap and lazy attempt at captivating their audience, Krause focuses on the story itself. Feeding on the mystery behind roaming clowns, Gags suspends disbelief on a relatable topic, addressing a question on the minds of many after the recent real-life clown hysteria of 2016.

“Why would anyone do this?” questions Krause. “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.”

With such a short run time, every scene in Gags serves an imperative purpose in drawing the audience into the story and escalating the plot. The mystery surrounding Gags is immediately addressed with the expository news reports followed by the introduction of the main characters as three average young adults having a fun night on the town. As the encounters with Gags become creepier with every scene, the plot escalates, leading up to an unforeseeable twist.

Premiering to a sold out crowd on October 3, 2016 in Green Bay, Gags has since been shown at a several film festivals throughout Wisconsin. Winning Best Short Film at the Madtown Horror Film Festival in Madison, the film short will continue to be shown at festivals in the months to come before being released to DVD in early 2017.


Outdoing most found footage studio films that show a whole lot of nothing, Gags‘ only “crime” is leaving you wanting more when the credits begin to roll. Having been approached by a few producers, Krause says a Gags feature film is being discussed.

“Nothing is official yet,” said Krause. “But some great conversations are being had.”

I, for one, will be keeping an eye out the DVD as well as any developing news on a full-length feature. Further details and developing news can be found at www.gagsfilm.com as well as the Gags Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/gagstheclown/. So check it out!

About Brandon

Check Also

Beyond the Grave

Is Death Really The End? ‘BEYOND THE GRAVE’ (2023) – Documentary Film Review

Death is one of the only guarantees in life, yet oddly, it is something we …