Day 8 of 31
Killer Klowns from Outer Space (Horror, Comedy, Science Fiction, 1988) (15) D: Stephen Chiodo C: grant Cramer, Suzanne Snyder, John Allen Nelson, John Vernon Royal Dano. 1h 28m. USA.
Synopsis : Aliens who look like clowns come from outer space and terrorize a small town.
TAGLINE : It’s Craaazy!
This oddity of the horror world is a unique slapstick fright fest. Not really satisfied with being a true comedy instead it uses the Klown aspect to add in some cheerful ploys and colourful props to almost mask the true underlying sadistic actions of some peculiar visitors from outer space. Seemingly inspired by a blend of any clown phobia, a few urban legends and retro comics, it’s often overlooked that this movie is also a tribute to old school sci fi!? The aliens, despite being over sized sharp toothed clowns aren’t ever really detected by the locals in the town they are terrorizing with comedy antics and eventually death, as they harvest the idiot townspeople wrapped up in candyfloss.
There isn’t a huge amount that you can say about the plot, it’s very simple, some aliens disguised as clowns descended upon a town, wreak havoc, queue every single cliche about evil clowns imaginable, the end. There is a steady flow of surreal antics and it’s pretty unrelenting. A blend of slapstick comedy to the pure farcical, this film will serve up all the typical clown antics in the most bloody thirsty manner. While it’s ridiculous at times and the klowns themselves are very dark in their character it’s almost impossible not to notice the homage to retro 50s/60s sci fi throughout the movie, apart from the use of the words rayguns! Oh wait hold on…
If you consider for a moment if a bunch of aliens did come down to our planet to harvest us dressed as clowns would we really be prepared for that? Basically no. There’s a great scene where someone is trying to explain what’s going on
Curtis Mooney: “They took your wife away in a balloon? Well you don’t need the police, pal, you need a psychiatrist!“
You would seem like a nutter if you tried to describe this and this is part of the magic. the Klowns just mosey on into town killing and collecting people and no one realises that they need to challenge them, and their antics are as creepy as they are ridiculously hilarious.
Having a personal long history of clown fears to play with director Stephen Chiodo had a huge arsenal of fears to play with and a full box of toys. Bubblegum gun, giant vacuum cleaners, monster popcorn and spaceships, what more could you want in a film about alien klowns? Monstrous shadow puppets, candyfloss and a teeny Klown on a tricycle, it’s ok we got that too!!
To paint the picture on the atmosphere that this film creates, just imagine a giant big top with a town inside. There really does have a magical feel to it, the only issue is that the magic isn’t all that heart warming, it’s more heart ripped through the chest and corpse sucked dry kinda magic. The dialogue is as silly as most of the movie, but who cares, the only thing missing is a small boy saying G WIZZ!
While the acting is mediocre and the boobs and blood are both out in abundance as is expected in a horror movie of the time, the main characters and the silent sinister Klowns. Each one of the klowns is different and unique enough for you to recognise them and their general character, I’m still amazed they go by without anyone noticing anything strange. Much kudos to the grizzly police officer played by John Vernon not only the most plausible character but also giving us one of highlight scenes. This scene still freaks me out today! The officers arrest some of the klowns but they have a lot to do and so they break out, kill the old grumpy cop and then wind all of the other prisoners up in candyfloss to store later. When the main protagonist clamber into the office one of the giant clowns has the officer on his lap with his hand up his back opening and closing his mouth like a marionette. That fucked with my head for a while.
The team responsible for this headed by the comical sci fi genius Stephen Chiodo et al, Who hasn’t since stepped up his game until now, and Killer Klowns 2 is apparently on the cards. He put a lot of himself into this movie and considering it originally started a joke between a few friends it’s certainly turned into a very profitable venture, and one that will eventually carry on.
It works as a horror comedy with just enough silly to ease some of the phobias and is an immensely enjoyable film providing you don’t want anything toooooo serious. The only letdown is the slightly tacky ending, but after the first half an hour you realise than anything goes in this movie so what the heck. It adds a new chapter to clown therapy and horror in general, there are very few movies like this, I’m not sure if it’s good or bad but it’s easy to see why it has a cult following, it has originality by the bucket load.
Sadly this is one of those horror films that you’ll need a sense of humor to get through, there are some very corny jokes and a fair amount of gore, nothing over the top and it’s not delivered in the bucket loads. This film might put you off popcorn and pizza you have been warned.
V: I never had a fear of clowns until i had seen this film, and while it’s comic as well being damned right strange and creepy it does a lot for me on many levels. Delivering a scare in a bright coloured costume does wonders for any psyche. The film is a cult classic and it looks like there will finally be a second one sometimes in 2016. It’s influenced a range of people including the juggalo band Insane Clown Posse. I do find it comical for the wrong and right reasons and it is very sinister and thrilling for me as clowns, alien or not freak me out, so that’s why I’m scoring it so high as it causes a lotta reactions out of me. While it does freak me out it’s also addictive.
Rating – 8/10
R: Critters (1986), Clown (2014) , The Toxic Avenger (1984), The Blob (1988)