That’s where the 1988 cult classic from the minds of the Chiodo Bros. ‘Killer Klowns From Outer Space’ steps forward with oversized shoes. The clowns, or should I say klowns, yes with a k (the creators of Mortal Kombat must have had the same idea as these guys) are actually creatures from another planet who decide to stop off at earth and use it as a rest stop, like some kind of an over populated McDonald’s. These creatures just so happen to coincidentally resemble the clown that we all know…and in some cases, fear. The town of Crescent Cove just so happens to be the unlucky little death-trap that will be subjected to the klowns wrath, seeing as their circus tent spaceship just so happened to land a few miles from the town. This film is so 80’s that is even comes with its own rocking theme song.
*Jozef Hamilton goes back in time and presents…
KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE REVIEW
*Didn’t actually go back in time… he simply just watched a DVD
Clowns. Some people just hate these grease painted guys. We may have Pennywise The Dancing Clown to thank for this, or perhaps it’s the ever present grin of The Joker that managed to ignite some sort of fear for these seemingly harmless fools? Regardless, there are just some people out there who cannot stand the sight of these guys. That’s why we need to ask ourselves, why hasn’t a horror film capitalised on this phobia?
Sure we have the likes of Pennywise in the aforementioned ‘Stephen King’s IT’ and the musings of the ghetto-tastic ‘Killjoy’ series to fill this gap along with Victor Salva’s ‘Clownhouse’. But when we really look at it, these are just guys in face paint. It can easily be wiped off and there’s a normal human being underneath. But, what if the clown itself was the true form? What if it was a creature hell bent on destroying humanity alongside its buffoon brethren?
What do they do with their victims I hear you ask? I’m glad you did. That is the most entertaining part about this otherwise quite regular plot line. The Klowns have an arsenal of clown themed weaponry at their disposal; guns which fire popcorn which soon turns into snapping klown heads, laser guns, giant mallets, killer shadow puppets, acid cream pies, invisible cars and even balloon animal dogs which sniff out their prey! Once they have captured their victims, they entrap them in cotton candy cocoons and use giant crazy straws to suck all the bodily fluid out of them. I know that this all seems like one bad acid trip, but it genuinely adds so much more entertainment value to the film and creates a special kind of horror-comedy. There’s really not much more I can say about the plot except that it has a few inhabitants of the town face off against the army of grinning aliens as well as the dreaded, ‘Klownzilla’ (yes, you read that right, there’s a 60ft clown in this film).
One of the aspects that is most appealing about this king of all b-films is that the klowns aren’t a few actors in some make-up, they are a mix of both puppeteering and practical costuming which works extremely effectively, giving these creatures both a personality and a sense of life that only hands-on effects can give. The klowns’ practical costuming is to to ‘Killer Klowns From Outer Space’ as the astonishing practical effects are to John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’. It truly is amazing how lifelike these creatures are, each one of them is different from the other both in character and appearance, it truly gives us the idea that there is an entire planet filled with these creatures; fat, thin, tall, small, playful and straight up homicidal. It really does feel like there is a functioning society filled with these things.
Although there aren’t any particularly recognisable actors within this film, apart from the late John Vernon who plays the stereotypical grumpy police officer who refuses to believe the overwhelming amount of reports coming in about clowns attacking people, blaming it on those ‘damn teenagers’ and their pranks. Of course. Who could believe such a ridiculous story? Oops, they’re attacking the police station now! Although the film is highly original in its execution of the alien force, it does walk the path of familiar territory when it comes to the structure of the plot, right down to the captured girlfriend. I was half expecting the message ‘Sorry, your girlfriend is in a different spaceship!’ to pop up at one point. When it gets to this point in the film, nothing else can possibly surprise you. That is until INFLATABLE KLOWN BOOBS. That is all.
Now, I know that this film does seem like a comedy in almost all aspects, and yes, it is essentially due to the fact it heavily tributes and parody’s the monster movies of the 1950’s, The Blob being the most obvious source of inspiration, but there are some genuinely creepy moments in the film, two of which involved one of the klowns enticing a small child to step outside the safety of her family enjoying a dinner at a fast food restaurant and the other involving a klown using one of its victims as a ventriloquists puppet, emulating even the persons voice in a haunting manner. So don’t worry, there are elements of horror within the film for those of you who aren’t too keen on a continuous comedic tone.
Overall, I don’t think I need to tell you that this film is sheer entertainment. It’s silly, it’s funny, it’s slightly gory and it doesn’t take itself too seriously, it’s conscious of what it is and what has come before it. This is the ideal That’s it for the world of Killer Klowns From Outer Space. That is unless the long time rumoured, ‘The Return of The Killer Klowns From Outer Space In 3D’ ever manages to see the light of day. Something I would like to see happen before we are actually invaded by aliens. Preferably clown ones. I want to go out under a pile of acidic cream pies.
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