Film aficionado Gary DeWaard covers a range of movies in his online reviews and blurbs but especially focuses on independent productions with limited releases in America. Below, he explains how a Naples resident scored an LA production chronicling his adventures as a creepy clown who’s paid to scare children in Florida.
Gary DeWaard is a big fan of the horror film genre, so when he heard the news that Wrinkles the Clown was getting a theatrical release later this fall, he started researching.
“The story about Wrinkles is unlike anything you’ve ever heard of before,” says Gary DeWaard. “Wrinkles made a few headlines a few years back, but it’s not until earlier this year that the press really started talking up the documentary about him. And now, the movie has a release date set for next month in a limited amount of theaters.”
Wrinkles is unlike the clowns you’d normally hire for your kids’ birthday parties: he sports a polka dot onesie, black rubber gloves, and a grotesque mask with elaborate features, but he does carry around a bunch of colorful balloons wherever he goes. He has a slight paunch and a habit of staring, fueling nightmares in his home town of Naples, Florida.
In 2015, the Washington Post interviewed Wrinkles the Clown (who refused to share his true name with the press) and claimed to be a 65-year-old veteran who made the move to Naples a few years back. He told the interviewer he moved south to escape the cold New England winters and to settle into a more relaxed life, but that retirement quickly became too boring. He purchased a clown mask online and created business cards and stickers with his phone number so locals could hire him for events, claiming to finally indulge in a life-long appreciation for clowning.
Wrinkles told the Washington Post that he is available for hire to show up at parties and gatherings or to prank your friends. Eventually, he expanded his services to scaring misbehaving kids straight, which quickly got people’s attention.
“Parents were actually paying him to scare their kids when behaving badly, which seemed to work out for a lot of them,” says Gary DeWaard. “He became a local legend––kind of like the Boogeyman––and was used as a threat against bad kids.”
Video clips of his scares began showing up online and attracting a lot of attention in 2015. A Kickstarter was formed in 2016 by Naples filmmaker Cary Longchamps who was trying to raise $45,000 for a documentary movie about the clown’s adventures, but the campaign ended with less than $4,000 in pledges.
However, Wrinkles caught the eyes of Hollywood filmmakers, which was made apparent earlier this year when news was released of an upcoming documentary about the clown. Just last month, Variety reported that Magnet Releasing, a subsidiary of Magnolia Pictures specializing in foreign and genre films, had purchased the rights to the clown documentary.
“Wrinkles is finally getting his theatrical release, and audiences will get to see first-hand how the clown interacts with the people of Naples and what crazy appearances he’s been paid to make around town,” says Gary DeWaard.
The documentary, entitled Wrinkles the Clown, is scheduled for a limited release in the United States on October 4, 2019.