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Thursday, March 31, 2011



Killer Klowns from Outer Space is a 1988 horror comedy directed by Stephen Chiodo. When a shooting star rushes past them in the sky and crashes in the nearby woods, Mike (Grant Cramer) and Debbie (Suzanne Snyder) leave their place on make-out hill to investigate. What they find is anything but a fallen meteor; instead, the two stumble upon a bizarre type of circus situated in the middle of the woods. As is the standard in any bumbling horror film, the two walk into the circus and find themselves in a world unlike anything they had ever seen. For fear of being caught by the circus's inhabitants, Mike and Debbie move deeper into the building, realizing that it's anything but. They find a room filled with cotton candy cocoons and soon learn that they all hold the remains of a human. The two narrowly escape after they're caught by one of the aforementioned inhabitants, and they're soon on the run from - you guessed it - killer clowns from outer space. The young lovers rush to the nearest police station where Debbie's ex-boyfriend Dave (John Allen Nelson) works with Curtis Mooney (John Vernon), an officer who hates anyone younger than himself. With Dave's help, Mike sets out to stop the alien menace before they can take over the town!

Alright people, let's be honest: if you're watching a movie called Killer Klowns from Outer Space, then you're really not looking for anything in terms of substance or intelligence. You really don't have to look farther than the opening sequences which basically set the tone for the film in it's entirety. We have a terribly-written screenplay that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. I mean, there's really not a lot to it - aliens invade, townspeople try to stop them - but there's something about this colossal failure of a script that sets it well apart from other bad films. And there's really not enough I can say about the level of acting. I mean, there's absolutely nothing redeemable about any of the performances in the film. You'd think that Vernon, who was so bitingly funny in 1978's Animal House and so good in 1971's Dirty Harry, would at least offer a legitimate laugh or two. Unfortunately, you'll be laughing AT the characters rather than laughing WITH them. There's a very distinct difference.

The clowns - or is it "klowns" with a "k"? - themselves are rather atrocious to behold. And I don't mean they're just nasty-looking for their human counterparts on-screen. They're really just disgusting, but they're so goofy-looking that you have to wonder how anyone ever found them even remotely horrifying? I understand that the fear of clowns is a major phobia for a lot of people - I've never personally had a problem with them - but if a scary clown is supposed to look like this, then there should be no fear of clowns whatsoever. Unfortunately for the filmmakers and makeup artists, Stephen King's It was still two years away. Had they waited to see that film, they might've been able to make a clown that would rival that film's Pennywise (who made my list of favorite villains).

If anything works exceptionally well within this movie, it's the soundtrack. John Massari composed a near-perfect score that's ridiculous enough to fit this film's tone perfectly, but the real icing on the cake is the film's theme song which was performed by The Dickies. I'm embedding the theme song below for your listening pleasure:

Overall, Killer Klowns from Outer Space is an absolutely terrible film, but that doesn't make it also entirely entertaining. This movie easily falls into the category of "so bad, it's good," so if you're in for some brilliantly terrible filmmaking, this might be the way to go. Just don't say I didn't warn you.

Movie Review Summary:
Grade: F
Current All-Time Rank: Worst - #98
2 Thumbs Up

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