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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: Sept 22: Killer Klowns from Outer Space


Sept 22: Killer Klowns from Outer Space

"Aliens who look like clowns come from outer space and terrorize a small town."
Directed by: Stephen Chiodo, Rated: PG-13, 88 minutes

Keeping up with the requests, I present to you a little 80s movie that I'm sure you've at least seen the cover of- Killer Klowns From Outer Space. Yes, the movie is as bizarre as the title but dammit, I love the f**king hell out of it. It's absolutely insane little film that features actors in creepy clown costumes, parading a little town and killing them with ray guns and turning them into cocoons of cotton candy and death. It's one of the most imaginative films I have ever seen and while the camp factor is off the charts, there's plenty to love. It's a cheesy 80s horror movie made by people who love the genre and manage to take a ridiculous idea and turn it into something very entertaining. 

Those pink scrotum are actually people... in CANDY!

The film follows a bunch of aliens that come to earth who look like clowns and even have a spaceship that looks like a circus tent. Once they've arrived, the clowns begin abducting people, wrapping them up in cocoons of cotton candy and storing them on their ship for what appears to be a food source. These clowns are terrifying looking, with just a dash of lovability, thus adding to the eerie factor. After two teenagers discover the clowns, they race back to their town and try to warn the people and get the cops to help them out. Of course, no one's going to believe a story about killer clowns from outer space and as the teens continue to save the town, the aliens descend upon the little populous. The clowns use plenty of clown-y gadgets to kill the citizens, from acid pies thrown at their victims, evil balloon animals, and even shadow hand puppets that turn into dinosaurs and eat a group of people. I can't make this up people.

It's shocking how many people look at that clown and laugh, thinking it's a cute little sideshow. 

While the plot sounds crazy (it is), seeing it all play out is so much fun. You can't help but appreciate the imagination that was put into the making of the film, even if it was just an acid trip one day with a pen and paper in hand. Next to the creativity, the best part of the film is the special effects. Time and time again I reiterate my love for practical effects and Killer Klowns from Outer Space put them to glorious uses. From the creature designs (so detailed and terrifying) to the set design, the film manages to look a lot better than something this small budget should. The final product is something that would come out of the nightmares of Jim Henson and blends the style of The Little Shop of Horrors with the demented styling of Tim Burton and R.L Stine (Goosebumps, people). The film really is a testament to what people with a unique idea and an understanding of special effects can do. While it's no masterpiece, Killer Klowns from Outer Space is it's own f**ked up classic. 

Toilet clown-snakes that emerge from kernels of popcorn would be the worst way to die. 

When you think of an 80s horror movie, you always think of the icons like Freddy and Jason, or even The Evil Dead. While all three are incredible, I really believe the killer clowns deserve a spot in the hall of fame of horror. The film has plenty of problems, from piss poor acting and horrible dialogue, but then again, what campy film doesn't? Had I watched this movie years ago, I have a feeling I would have absolutely hated it and probably even have turned it off before it was over. However, these days, when I've come to look at movies in a more technical aspect, Killer Klowns from Outer Space is so worth the time. There's simply too much to marvel in such a short time. Hell, put it on with a bunch of friends, I'm sure you'll have a massive amount of fun. But don't think of going to a circus anytime after as this film turns clowns into demonic pieces of nightmares you quite won't get out of your mind. 

The Good:
imagination and practical effects that are used brilliantly, turning a turd into a... shinier turd 
The Bad:
dialogue that makes you want to punch yourself in the face and acting that makes you confident about pursuing your own Hollywood dreams
The Ugly:
knowing full well the fact this film has achieved cult-status, but has probably not been viewed by as many people that ought to give it a shot

Overall: 6.9/10


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At September 22, 2012 at 5:59 PM , Blogger Joe Giuliano said...

I'm glad to see you got around to watching this. I was happy to see it get a Blu-ray release, and made sure to get it immediately.

I remember seeing this on the USA (pretty sure it was USA) network many times as a kid during their Saturday afternoon b-horror movie showings. This was one of the regular films shown in their rotation, along with C.H.U.D. and Piranha and a number of other classics.

Nick, I don't think you could have described the movie any more accurately than you did. The not so intimidating appearance of the clowns, the cheesy special effects that tied in so greatly with the story, and the god awful acting that are practically a requirement for a movie of this 'caliber'.

I look forward to seeing it again soon. I'm glad to see that it still stands up so many years later, and I look forward to the rumored sequel which is supposed to be done in the exact same style and manner as the first.

At September 22, 2012 at 6:47 PM , Blogger Stephanie Ward said...

"A shinier turd..." *Laughing* I can't decide whether that clown is funny or seriously disturbing.

At September 22, 2012 at 7:22 PM , Blogger Nick said...

That's the joy in the film lol. It's all creepy, yet so hilarious.

At September 22, 2012 at 7:22 PM , Blogger Nick said...

Not going to lie, I might consider buying the Bluray. Hearing that the sequel will be the same style brings a smile to my face... love it.

At September 23, 2012 at 7:10 PM , Blogger Andy Watches Movies said...

*thumbs up*

At September 29, 2012 at 10:24 PM , Blogger Richard Kirkham said...

This has been sitting on my shelf for maybe ten years. I picked it up for a song at Big Lots or Wal-mart or some other place with a huge selection of crap that you would not bother with if it were not $3. I'd seen the listing and even watched for twenty seconds or so at least a dozen times on cable and satellite. I figured I would get to it someday. While, this is someday.

After reading your post I had to choose. I could go with my new Blu Ray of Outland, or open this up and give it a shot. Sean Connery as a space cowboy has to wait. This was much as you described. Not a classic by any stretch but a clever low budget little bauble that is much better than you have a right to expect. The design and art direction were especially good inside the circus tent ship. They took a nothing budget and made something interesting.
The actors and the dialogue were dreadful but I did like John Vernon hamming it up as a crotchety old cop. He and Royal Dano are the only recognizable performers and I'm sure they wish they were not all that recognizable.
The clowns looked creepy as hell, and if they had a better script, this could actually have been a little frightening. As it was it was camp fun and unless you are afraid of clowns like Mr. Johnny Depp, you won't be having any nightmares. Thanks for the blast from the past. I enjoyed my Saturday night alone.

At September 29, 2012 at 10:41 PM , Blogger Nick said...

I love every time you stop by lol.

And yes, it's a rare breed of film that's really bad, but has so many good aspects about it. I'm really surprised the Chiodo brothers didn't make more films (I know they were involved with behind the scene stuff, but still nothing of their own). Glad to see you picked it up on Blu-ray, I'm going to have to track down my own copy.

At September 29, 2012 at 10:41 PM , Blogger Nick said...

*respectfully nods*


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