A horror movie about the creepy clown motel (aka ‘America’s scariest motel’) is in the works


Combine one of the creepiest places on earth with a pair of actors who brought two notoriously evil characters to life. I’m thinking, “no thank you!” But horror film director Joseph Kelly has a different plan in the works. It includes clowns — lots of clowns. 

Jumping ahead to what could be an intensely creepy season at the movie theater — Kelly created a Kickstarter campaign for his new film, “Clown Motel.”

Kickstarter / Clown Motel

According to the synopsis, the film follows a group of ghost hunters who stumble upon the Clown Motel, which is a real motel in Nevada. They must determine if the motel is abandoned or haunted by the clowns that used to live there. Somewhere along the way, they also run into a group of women returning from a Las Vegas bachelorette party (because the Holiday Inn was at full capacity?).

The film is in need of some funding and that’s why the filmmakers are coming to you! They’re even offering up a brutal onscreen death in the film (if you’re into that sort of thing)!

Who’s Behind “Clown Motel”

This will be Joseph Kelly’s third feature film. He’s a director, actor and producer known for his work on films like “Bloody Island,” and “Community Service The Movie.” While traveling, he came across the actual Clown Motel which served as his inspiration.

“The town, Tonopah, Nevada, is very secluded and provides the horror backdrop most appropriate for the film,” Kelly tells us.

In 2015, Kelly directed a short film based on this totally creepy atmosphere and rumored clown sightings. He says he received such a positive response from the horror film community, he had to take it to another level.

Horror film geeks are going to get a kick out of this! The film also includes Ari Lehman (pictured below) and Tony Moran.

Ari Lehman photo

Lehman was the first actor to play the role of Jason Voorhees in the classic horror film “Friday the 13th” in 1980. His band, “The First Jason,” will help with a theme song for the film’s soundtrack. He’s also acting in the film as one of the lead clowns. Lehman explained to us why he decided to get involved in the project.

“What I look for is a unique take on the subject matter and a character that has some depth and is out of the ordinary,” Lehman said, “I found all of that and more in the script for ‘Clown Motel’ and the role of Psycan the Clown.”

Moran was first to play Michael Myers in “Halloween” in 1978. According to Kelly, Moran’s character in the film will be trying to destroy the clown society.

These two are not clowning around! You can see both Lehman and Moran in this “Clown Motel” teaser:

Check It Out

This minute-and-a-half trailer from the short film doesn’t disappoint. It has a creepy clown, creepy clown statues and clowns that appear to come to life. Most importantly, it has humans who know they shouldn’t be at the Clown Motel, but they stick around anyway.

Warning! Some of the language and scenes may not be suitable for everyone. If you’re susceptible to nightmares, don’t click play. Don’t do it.

Kelly filled us in on what will be different between the short and the feature film. He says to expect bigger and better,

“In the short, we only had one clown. Now that the clowns’ souls have arisen, a group of clowns with a mirror image of the original clown but with different personalities! We will also be bringing to the table more practical film effects for the horror fans,” he said.

Yes, There’s An Actual Clown Motel

As previously mentioned, Kelly was inspired by the real-life Clown Motel located in the small town of Tonopah, Nevada. There are literally clowns all over the motel.

The motel has drawn in many visitors over the years. Some people just love clowns. Others stay because they’re looking to spot any sort of paranormal activity. Kelly says he fell in love.

“The Clown Motel with its namesake, the clown theme feel, the 1900’s local cemetery is at your doorstep, along with a gorgeous goldmine where we will be going to in Boulder City, Nevada,” Kelly said, “For anyone who loves clowns, you have to check out the Clown Motel at least once in your life!”

The owners actually put the motel on the market in 2017 — clowns for sale and all! To no surprise, the Clown Motel has been called America’s Scariest Motel making it a prime filming location. It’s a frequent stop for those—like cemetery enthusiasts—looking for a hair-raising stop in the middle of Nevada.


Kelly shared some of the chilling filming locations on Facebook:

The set also includes an even creepier nearby cave where clowns will eventually crawl out in the masses! Run!

How To Be In The Film

Kelly and the actors involved seem dead set on getting this film made. However, they only have about 50 percent of the budget required to get it done. Kelly tells us pre-production is complete and filming locations are secured — but funding will really add to their momentum. 

Lehman urges his fans to donate, “Now more than ever the fans can step forward and take the helm as it were to guide the direction of the genre’s future.”

Fans can donate now through the Kickstarter campaign and get some pretty incredible perks. With a pledge of $200, you get your name on a gravestone that’s guaranteed to show up in the film. A $1,250 pledge gets you a stay at the Clown Motel! And a brutal onscreen death is just $5,000!

Filming could begin as early as April, 2018, and the crew is hopeful for a premiere around Halloween (naturally). Kelly promises this to be the horror film for the horror film junkies, so donate or die!

Are you pumped (or terrified) already?

Entertainment, Movies & TV, News, Travel

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About the Author
Emily Hanford-Ostmann
I have a background in newspaper and broadcast news writing. When I'm not informing others about what's happening in town...I enjoy running, a great workout class, and finding my next favorite show on Netflix. I also find great joy in clearance shopping.

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