Make no mistake, the Chiodo Brothers‘ “Killer Klowns From Outer Space” (1988) is pure camp and a cheesy good time. The film channels the fears of “clowns” and does it in a very comedic and low-budget fashion. The title says it all, and anyone who would take this movie seriously would be making a mistake. Oftentimes silly, the film is not a movie for everyone but is recommended to those who would like to experience a straight-up good time of comedy-horror!
Debbie and Mike (Suzanne Snyder and Grant Cramer) are two lovebirds who are enjoying the romantic moonlit sky up in the mountains when they spy on an unidentified object that plummets to earth. Curious, Debbie talks Mike into investigating and what they found was a huge circus tent rather than a meteor. This tent is actually a spaceship used by its floppy-shoed inhabitants. They go into the ship (curiously unlocked) that looks like a candy factory and they encounter some cocooned bodies in cotton candy. Freaked out, the two manage to escape to warn the town’s sheriff, Mooney (John Vernon) who just laughs at their story. But Debbie’s ex-boyfriend, Dave (John Allen Nelson) is also a deputy who despite his skepticism, decides to check out the area. However, it may be too late as the grotesque alien clowns begin to rampage though town, killing and cocooning its townsfolk…can they survive cotton candy, popcorn, and other party gags to save the planet from the ruby-red nosed aliens?!
“Killer Klowns From Outer Space” is definitely a part of 80’s horror-comedies. The clothes, the hair styles and the cars are all about the 80’s. The film is outrageously silly and most of its plot elements doesn’t make sense. The plot is pretty simple and made to fit just how many murderous party favors the filmmakers can cram into its 88 minute runtime. The characters are pretty clichéd and uninspired; I also thought that the presence of the two ice cream (played by Michael Siegel and Peter Licassi) vendors was just plain annoying. With a film like this, one should ignore the details of the plot and the shallow characterization, this a movie that channels murderous silliness, and goofy good time.
Make no mistake, “Killer Klowns” is a bad movie, but it is so bad that it is good. I was amused when sound effects weren’t perfectly timed (car crash sounds off before the actual collision), cars don’t get dented and the script while cheesy, it does have its charm. The film is outrageously goofy as the clown’s footprints are like rubber stamps, crazy straws are used as a form of IV, there is a balloon-bloodhound, crazy popcorn cannibalistic creatures, bicycle rage, a shadow T-Rex and lots more. The film wastes no time in even trying to remotely explain what is happening, things are just the way they were because well, these are “clowns”. The “clowns” vary in size, there is a giant killer clown, a 7-footer and a short one; most of them displayed super-strength (ability to jump really high and punch one‘s block off) and their vehicles are so small you wonder how they can fit. They do have their own personality and who needs an explanation why they picked this planet for a snack? The manner with which the clowns capture their ‘victims’ are quite creative and stays true to the practices of “clowns”. The make-up effects aren’t scary albeit they do look rather sinister yet so silly. Like zombies, these alien “klowns” have one vulnerability, and I bet you can guess what it is.
The acting in the film is pretty lame. John Vernon is actually one of the film’s better actors (I know!). Curiously for an 80’s horror flick, the film doesn’t have even a hint of nudity. There is some blood and gore made in the old-fashioned manner and the clown effects have that gratuitous puppetry. There is a decent body count as confetti is tossed into the air. There are noteworthy silly lines such as “this is more important than selling ice cream” and “what are you going to do with those PIES, boys?”. There is also some suggestive themes as we see the prudish overweight ice cream devouring women. All this stuff manages to put a smile in my face. Don’t get me started on the post-mortem ventriloquist act….
“Killer Klowns From Outer Space” serves up a good feeling of goofy Comedy-horror. Sometimes we need movies we don’t need to think about too much, and this creation fit’s the bill perfectly. The morale of the story: Cotton candy is full of preservatives that it can be used as a preservative and to never attempt to put a shower massager in your mouth. “Killer Klowns” is a fine example of goofy, silly fun that a movie doesn’t need to be polished to generate a good time. The film is a fun cult flick that is a fine genre addition that took advantage of every “BOING”!