[[caption-width-right:350:It's showtime.]]
->'''Sergio''': "Why are you a clown?"
->'''Javier''': "What about you?"
->'''Sergio''': "Because if I weren't a clown, I'd be a murderer."
->'''Javier''': "Me too."

Original Spanish title: ''Balada triste de trompeta'' (''Sad Trumpet Ballad'')

A 2011 BlackComedy directed by Álex de la Iglesia. In 1937, a clown is forcibly recruited by the militia to serve in the UsefulNotes/SpanishCivilWar where he manages to massacre an entire platoon with a machete. Years later in 1973 against the backdrop of [[FranciscoFranco Franco]]-era Spain, his son Javier follows in his father's footsteps, working as a SadClown. There he falls in love with the beautiful acrobat Natalia and in the process runs amok of her abusive lover, Sergio, the Happy Clown. A twisted love triangle ensues develops between the two clowns that escalates into insanity.

Of all of Álex de la Iglesia's films(which include such twisted and weird fare as ''Accion Mutante'' and ''El Dia de La Bestia''), this is probably the darkest and most gritty. And that's saying something.

!!This film contains examples of the following tropes:

* AdviceBackfire: Javier's father laments he can only ever hope to be a sad clown, since he's had his childhood robbed thanks to the civil war. However, he advises Javier that he can gain solace from his pain and be a happy clown if he can get '''revenge'''. The backfire comes when Javier decides to get said revenge by ''sabotaging'' a prison work camp his father was forced to work in with dynamite. [[SarcasmMode Hilarity ensues.]]
* AllGirlsWantBadBoys: Taken to the extreme. Natalia claims constantly that she's with Sergio because she's afraid of what he'd do if she left him... but she seems to show genuine sexual excitement from the abuse.
* AncientTomb
* AxCrazy: [[spoiler:Javier]] becomes this halfway through.
* BadHumorTruck: Javier drives around in an ice cream truck.
* BastardBoyfriend: Sergio. Oh so very much.
* BlackComedy: If it were any darker, it'd suck the light out of the room when you played it on your TV.
* BlackAndGreyMorality: By the end of the film, both of the main characters are pretty deranged. Also applies to the overarching theme of the film as it relates to the Spanish Civil War; as one reviewer [[http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/The-Last-Circus-Blu-ray/27571/#Review pointed out]], "Republicans? Nationalists? What's the difference? They're both clowns."
* BewareTheNiceOnes: Javier
* ButtMonkey: Javier's role as the Sad Clown falls under this, but it could easily apply to his entire life.
* CaptiveDate: [[spoiler:Javier takes Natalia on one after he snaps.]]
* CatapultNightmare: Javier does this after waking up from his nightmare at the hospital.
* CrapsackWorld: This being Franco-led Spain, it's a given.
* DespairEventHorizon: [[spoiler: Both Javier and Sergio]] go through it, badly. [[spoiler:Sergio]] in particular is a very interesting example: [[spoiler:the disfigurement of his face destroys his ability to make children laugh, whcih was the only thing he was good at and his one redeeming quality. This makes him bounce from the DespairEventHorizon... through the MoralEventHorizon.]]
* DestructiveRomance: TheMovie.
* {{Deuteragonist}}: Sergio to Javier.
* DomesticAbuser: Sergio is this to Natalia.
* DontYouDarePityMe: Javier would rather Natalia hate him than feel sorry for him.
* [[spoiler:DownerEnding]]
* EyeScream: The evil colonel loses his eye in the beginning of the film.
* FacialHorror: Both [[spoiler:Javier and Sergio]].
* FanDisservice: Some nice full-frontal nudity courtesy of Javier.
* {{Fanservice}}: Natalia.
* FemmeFatale: Natalia. There is a slight hint of self-indulgence in the way she sets Javier and Sergio against each other. [[spoiler:It does NOT end well for her, though.]]
* GlasgowGrin: [[spoiler: Sergio gets half of one after the beating he gets from Javier.]]
* GoodScarsEvilScars: Although both get pretty damn mutilated...
* GrossUpCloseUp: During [[spoiler:Javier's]] self-mutilation.
* HistoricalDomainCharacter: Franco himself makes an appearance.
* InfantImmortality
* InterplayOfSexAndViolence: What Sergio and Natalia's relationship revolves around. Natalia claims she's afraid of Sergio... but every time she gets beaten by him, she gets really, REALLY horny.
* JumpedAtTheCall: Javier has a vision of Natalia as the Virgin Mary, telling him to become her Angel of Death.
* KidsAreCruel: Sergio is taunted by a group of small children after being disfigured.
* LoveMakesYouEvil: Or crazy, at least.
* MaleFrontalNudity: See FanDisservice.
* MonsterClown: [[spoiler:Both protagonists to a degree, although in Javier's case it's more physical, since he's more broken than bad inside. Sergio is full-blown MonsterClown, though.]]
* MoodWhiplash: The film is all over the place.
* MoralityPet: Natalia serves as this for both clowns. Ironic, considering she's singlehandedly ended up manipulating both into becoming murderous on her behalf. Sergio also shows genuine affection for kids, pretty much his only redeeming quality.
* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: A VERY nasty wake-up call for Natalia, when she sees the insane physical and emotional damage she caused by inciting Javier and Sergio to go at each other.
* PetTheDog: Sergio seems to genuinely like kids, even if he disregards their safety.
* RedemptionEqualsDeath: [[spoiler:Natalia. Finally admitting her love for Javier is what leads to her demise.]]
* RuleOfSymbolism: The entire film is a metaphor for Franco-era Spain as well as the Spanish Civil War.
* SadClown: Javier's whole shtick.
* TheStraightMan: Javier to Sergio's happy clown antics.
* ShootTheShaggyDog: [[spoiler: No one accomplishes anything in the end. The film ends with both clowns arrested, and Natalia and the Ghost Rider's final stunts end in their own demises.]]
* ShoutOut: The movie is similar in plot and theme to ''{{Pagliacci}}''. [[DarkerAndEdgier A very twisted and horrifying]] version of ''Pagliacci''. However, the roles of protagonist and antagonist are reversed: it is the lover who is the protagonist and the cuckolded spouse who is the antagonist.
* SlidingScaleOfComedyAndHorror: In the middle, maaaaaybe inching a little towards horror.
* WouldHurtAChild: Javier roughly pushes a child away at a diner to get to the jukebox and later points his gun at an other. Nothing happens, though.
* YouJustToldMe: Happens when Sergio interrogates the Ghost Rider as to the whereabouts of Javier.