Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)

Bloodhound balloon dogs. Cotton candy cadavers. Popcorn guns. Killer pies. Circus tent UFO’s. And clowns from outer space with a taste for human blood! These are some of the wacky gags you’ll find throughout Killer Klowns from Outer Space, but despite the film’s zany feel and Z-movie reputation it has many clever moments.

If the film’s title doesn’t give it all away, the movie is about killer clown’s from outer space that land on Earth and start killing any people they come across, wrapping the corpses in cotton candy! Two college students, Mike (Grant Cramer) and Debbie (Suzanne Snyder), stumble across the clown’s spaceship, disguised as a colorful circus tent. After discovering some cadavers wrapped in cotton candy, they run back into their small town to get the cops. Of course, the older, distrusting cop, Mooney (John Vernon), thinks the two are playing some sort of prank at his expense and blows them off. Only Officer Dave (John Allen Nelson), who is Debbie’s ex, believes them and sets off to investigate. Mike’s friends the Terenzi brothers, who own an ice cream truck, also join the fight against the clowns.

Soon, the killer clowns reach town and begin offing people in creative ways…with carnivorous shadow puppets, entombing them in big balloons and cotton candy, shooting them with popcorn that turns into slithering mini-clowns, hitting them over the head with giant mallets or melting them with deadly cream pies! Can Mike, Debbie, Dave and the Terenzi brothers save the town before they all end up in the funhouse or is it already too late?

Killer Klowns from Outer Space is arguably one of the silliest yet fun B-movies you’ll come across! Brought to corny horror lovers by the Chiodo Brothers – Charles, Edward and Stephen – Killer Klowns is more fun than a barrel full of drunken monkeys! The film’s premise is decidedly lowbrow, but despite its B-movie tendencies it has a comical charm to it that raises it a bit higher (at least in my book) in comparison to other ‘80s schlock.

What also makes it so great is its colorful set design. The Chiodo Brothers obviously had a ton of fun with the bright colors and carnival-like atmosphere of the film. Everything, from the red and yellow circus tent to the labyrinth of striped and polka-dotted halls of the clowns’ spaceship, screamed demented fun! And the design of the killer clowns was equally impressive. Instead of just featuring actors in clown makeup, the killer clowns wear larger-than-life, bizarre clown masks. While some might find the costumes more corny than creepy, there was just something unsettling about the clowns and their outrageous outfits.

Despite the menacing villains, there isn’t too much to be scared of in Killer Klowns. It is rated PG-13, so it’s light on blood and gore. Still, there are some entertaining kills throughout the film. There were decapitations, puppet and shadow puppet massacres, child endangerment, a Godzilla-like “boss” clown and so on. The real star of the show, though, was the creative use of circus props used throughout the film. For example, the clowns made a balloon animal dog, which they used as a bloodhound to track down people. And the use of killer pies, cotton candy and popcorn were all very entertaining as well. The circus/carnival theme was definitely used to its max!

Killer Klowns from Outer Space is one of the most outlandish and fun of the ‘80s B-movies. It’s got a crazy energy and a madcap imagination that makes it a cult classic in the annals of horror comedies. The Chiodos brothers definitely brought us horror fans a tasty treat with Killer Klowns!

Buy it on Amazon!

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