Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988)

Stephen Chiodo

STARRINGGrant Cramer - Mike Tobacco
Suzanne Snyder - Debbie Stone
John Allen Nelson - Dave Hanson
John Vernon - Curtis Mooney
Michael Siegel - Rich Terenzi
Peter Licassi - Paul Terenzi

Year - 1988

Score - 4 Howls Outta 4

If you need to know one thing about me, it's this: I hate clowns. I hate their red noses. I hate their pasty makeup. I hate their colorful costumes and their big red shoes. I hate their evil smiles and their ability to make ridiculous balloon animals. Clowns are soldiers for the Devil. So with all that, why do I love KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE so darn much?

A shooting star flies overhead a small town and lands with a loud boom. A young couple, Mike (Grant Cramer) and Debbie (Suzanne Snyder), investigate only to find a large circus tent. Walking inside the tent, they learn that this new circus is run by alien Killer Klowns, who want to turn humans into liquid food by cocooning them in neon pink cotton candy. With the use of guns that release living popcorn and pies that melt people into a yummy sundae, these Killer Klowns plan to take over the town. Mike and Debbie get help from Debbie's ex-boyfriend/police officer Dave (John Allen Nelson), as the three of them and others decide to stop these Klowns from wiping out their entire town.

KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE is probably one of the best B-flicks to ever be released into our world of film. This film is not trying to change how films are made or even promote a message or statement. This film is about one thing and one thing only: FUN. This film screams the 1980s. Big hair, neon colors, cheesy pop theme song [it rocks!], and a simple plot that never gets boring once. Klowns land on Earth. These Klowns kill people for food in ways that stereotypical of Klowns. Humans warn officers of Klown invasion. Survivors stick together and fight off Klowns to save town. That's all I ask for from an 80s B-movie. Imaginative, energetic, and ridiculously hilarious over-the-top acting and situations - this film has it all.

The direction by Stephen Chiodo is really good. The film is nicely shot, nicely paced, and has alot of visual flair and style for a film like this. But really, you're not watching this film for the direction, are you? Compared to the sets and the special effects, the direction don't mean jack shit in this film! The big Klown tent is perfectly constructed. It definitely looks like a amusement park attraction from the outside and looks like PEE-WEE'S PLAYHOUSE on the inside and weird angular doors and bright neon colors that just demand attention. The Klowns themselves are frighteningly realistic looking. With their jagged teeth, big red noses, and leather-like skin, they'd probably scare any child into having nightmares for days. And we get them in all shapes and sizes. My personal favorite is the short ugly clown with the bike for some reason. Maybe it's because that scene he's in with the bikers cracks me up. These Klowns are really demented looking, yet still create this sense of humor and wonder that needs to be seen to be appreciated. And the special effects are pretty neat too. Popcorn with fangs that turn into baby Klowns who love to bite, the whole cotton candy sequence, pies that turn people into hot sundaes, and shadow puppets that kill people are really creative and show alot of effort and imagination by the Chiodo brothers [they wrote, produced, and directed the film]. For a $2 million budget, they sure used every penny to give the audience a very visually creative film.

The acting isn't award-worthy [unless you're talking about the Razzies] but it isn't meant to be. Every actor is so over-the-top ridiculous that it only enhances the film instead of hurting it. I mean, the film is called KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE! What are you expecting? Shakespeare? These actors are SUPPOSED to be horrible!

Grant Cramer as Mike just smiles his entire way for 88 minutes. Even when he tries to act serious, he has this look like he just wants to laugh. I don't blame him. If I'm being chased by Killer Klowns, I wouldn't take the whole thing seriously either. He also has big hair and an ugly fashion sense. Did we really dress like that in the 80s? God!

Suzanne Snyder, who many remember from WEIRD SCIENCE and THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD PART II, is the only female actor of interest and while she doesn't ham it up like her male counterparts, she still overacts with B-movie goodness. She also has big hair too, which proves how 80s this film is. Her best scene was her escape sequence inside her house after being attacked by Killer Klowns at every corner. Just a really funny scene where she screams and whines over and over again. I liked her. I wonder what's she doing now?

John Allen Nelson as police officer Dave is also another actor who goes overboard in his delivery, yet you can't keep your eyes off of the guy. He also looks like he wants to just laugh in every scene he's in, even though he's supposed to act tough and commanding. And the two ice cream truck brothers Rich and Paul (Michael Siegel and Peter Licassi) were borderline annoying, but I can't say they didn't make me laugh. They were the stereotypical horny frat guys you're ashamed to hang with but are friends with anyway. I was hoping the Klowns would get them, but they didn't. Oh well.

And the best actor in the film was ANIMAL HOUSE's John Vernon as Mooney. He was sarcastic, mean, and just all around funny. He was given the best lines in the entire film and delivered them perfectly. He made me laugh the most and his jailhouse scene with one of the Klowns is probably the most memorable in the entire film.

I also loved the homage to THE INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS with the cotton candy pods. And the beginning reminded me of THE BLOB with the shooting star, only instead of ooze, we get ugly ass Klowns. And the goofy theme song by The Dickies is just 80s cheese. Just a really smart, silly horror-comedy that can be enjoyed by the entire family. The fact that I saw this in the theater when it was released with another film during a double feature and I only remember THIS one shows what a memorable little film KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE is.

KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE is an intentionally horrible film, which makes it one of the best films ever made. This film is the epitome of a "cult classic" and deserves to be watched by anyone who likes horror, comedy, or both combined. If you're expecting blood and gore and guts, you won't find it here. But if you like comic book violence and situations, this is for you. This film proves that sometimes all you need is fun and a vivid imagination to enjoy a film. I still hate clowns, but not if they're from outer space.

1 comment:

  1. the sneering (homo-phobic) snobJanuary 17, 2010 at 11:13 AM

    Fred, have you read "Soiled Sinema`s" review of this film?, it ends with a truly hilarious comment from "jervaise brooke hamster", you`ll fall about laughing when you read it, i`m not kiddin`.


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