I've loved this film since the first time I saw it almost 20 years ago.
It grabbed me right from the start when the superb theme tune by The Dickies kicked in. The clowns themselves are suitably menacing, they look like badly filled fancy dress costumes gone wild but when they show their teeth it's time to watch out. The line "they were travelling through outer space and stopped for something to eat" describes the plot succinctly and Cove Crescent is their chosen pit-stop.
John Vernon as the red-neck deputy Curtis Mooney is the only really bright light in the acting stakes. The special effects are not that brilliant but that suits the movie well, this is not an FX extravaganza but it is one of the best low budget comedy horror movies you will see.
Apart from the big-top space ship and low-grade plastic weapons there's also the klown kar, the klown women (looking as sexy as the stripper in Funny Man), popcorn that grows into monsters and custard pies that dissolve flesh; almost every aspect of the circus clown act is twisted into some fiendish device here.
If I had one complaint it would be the lack of any real extras, most notably the 20 minute "making of" featurette that appeared on the R1 DVD release many years ago is not included here. That grumble aside thanks to the Chiodo Brothers for making a movie that cheers me up every time I watch it and The Dickies for that brilliant theme tune.
Are you afraid of clowns?
No shame if you are. There's something inherently creepy about clowns -- their exaggerated facepaint, their artificial merriment, their resemblance to Tim Curry. Any people with coulrophobia may want to avoid "Killer Klowns from Outer Space" -- but everybody else will probably find this steadfastly, straight-faced comedy about grotesque, monstrous alien clowns absolutely hilarious.
A mysterious object crashes near a small California town. When Mike Tobacco (Grant Cramer) and his girlfriend Debbie Stone (Suzanne Snyder) investigate, they find a circus tent filled with popcorn-based weapons and cotton-candy cocoons filled with captive humans. Obviously they know this sounds crazy, but Debbie believes her ex-boyfriend Dave Hanson (John Allen Nelson) will believe them.
Dave (who is a cop) understandably is a little skeptical about the whole murderous alien clowns thing, but soon the Klowns are on a full-on rampage through the town -- think popcorn guns, pizza delivery, corpse puppetry and cream pies laced with acid. Dave, Mike and Debbie may be the only chance to stop these vile alien invaders... well, with the help of a pair of slackers in an ice cream truck.
"Killer Klowns from Outer Space" is a... truly fascinating movie. It has a premise that is so blindingly stupid that it becomes awesome, and it plays that premise COMPLETELY STRAIGHT. In fact, it handles the entire premise with the utmost seriousness, which only highlights the sheer ludicrousness of the whole idea of evil alien clowns and the goofy ways they kill people.
In fact, the most entertaining parts of the movie are when the movie just busts out the most bizarre, silly methods of murder EVER. It's pure cotton candy (non-cocoon variety) for the brain: the gloriously cheesy dialogue ("Nobody's gonna put me in a balloon again") and hammy acting are just over-the-top enough to be funny, but not to the point of being irritating.
I also suspect that the characters are intended to be parodies of many horror movie characters, particularly the violent thug cop and the love triangle. The actors all do a pretty good job, and it's a credit to them that they are able to sound so earnest and serious when they're... well, trying to free people from giant balloons or cotton-candy cocoons. How can they keep a straight face?
But the show is ultimately stolen by the Klowns -- they are grotesquely over-the-top, with glistening fangs set in enormous maws, grotesquely misshapen bodies and dead soulless eyes. They are gloriously absurd AND scary... until they become absurd again.
It's a stupid premise handled without a single ounce of goofiness, which is part of what makes "Killer Klowns from Outer Space" such a wondrously funny movie. Fun, weird and not for coulrophobics!
on 22 August 2010
It's riddled with cliches that were old before the 50's ended. The comic relief characters and situations are excruciatingly unfunny. The acting is uniformly awful (this despite the presence of veteran character thesps John Vernon and Royal Dano). The special effects range from low budget to no budget...
...but for its sheer inventiveness and macabre sense of humour this 80's absurdity deserves its "so bad it's good" cult classic status. Back in the day it had me with its spoof Alien tagline "In space no one can eat ice cream".
If you're of a strong disposition I'd recommend pairing it up with 'Howard the Duck' for an 80's Creature Feature double bill that's as painful as a mullet, but not as public.
on 9 February 2003
In the early nineties, my sister and I would regularly visit the video shop and hire out videos, on one saturday afternoon, we came across a curiously titled film in the horror section. We decided to rent it to see what it was like. To our surprise and delight it was the funniest film either of us had seen and we were hooked. We rented it out at least twice a month for two years until we moved out of the area. The video store eventually closed down and the video was lost from us forever, until now, that is. I hope that it is re-released if only so a new generation can marvel at its sheer brilliant badness. About the movie, well, it is a wonderfully funny tale about invading clowns who start to capture people from the local town and imprison them in candy floss cocoons. They are eventually defeated by the plucky hero and his girlfriend as is usually the case in these style films. I won't tell you how he defeats them, that will be left for you to find out. The clowns themselves are well made up and slightly creepy looking which adds to the film somewhat marvelously. There are rare moments of never before seen brilliance, I refer to the scene at the bus stop involving a clown, some people and shadows. All in all this, it must be said, is a bad film. The budget is almost certainly small, the acting bad at times and it wraps up rather too quickly. However this, unlike other films, makes it a truly great film to watch. You find yourself laughing at the film even though it is a horror. It is most definately a lads night in with a few beers and a pizza type of film. It is most definately not a arm round shoulder to protect your girlfriend type of film. Enjoy and a crack open a bottle of beer while you do!!
on 17 March 2002
The type of film video was made for.The plot has "Killer Klowns" land in a small American town, where they proceed to cocoon the residents in candy floss and make imaginative use of their over sized footwear.
A great low budget, highly imaginative horror flick that sorely merits a DVD discovery.
If you are a fan of old fifties quasi sci-fi monster movies then this will be right up your alley. It was made in the same vein as the blob with the same antagonists. However you may notice that Officer Mooney (John Vernon) is still playing "Animal House" (1978.)
The theory that this may be the source of people being spooked by clowns is plausible after watching this movie.
Finally a movie where the popcorn sticks to your ribs, and what ever. The cotton candy has a 50's spin to it. And this movie will clown around with your mind. You won't be disappointed. See Suzanne Snyder (Debbie Stone) again in "Weird Science" (1985).
The DVD is loaded with the standard goodies. Thirteen year later the directors discus the original intent and some unique problems. There are out takes. And may other pieces of information to make viewing the movie fun.
on 17 November 2013
When a small town is invaded by aliens who are capturing and killing the townspeople, no one takes them seriously.
The aliens all look like circus clowns, use weapons that look clown like, and all have painted on smiles.
Only a few of the young people in the town realise the danger and of course no one believes them.
Armed with an ice cream truck they try and rescue their friends.....
This is a foolproof movie. Like Snakes On A Plane, the title tells you exactly what to expect, so if you like movies where no name actors get offed in comical ways, and talk a load of old cobblers, and feature some very dodgy effects and narrative, this is for you.
It's the epitome of a campy cult classic, and it hits the spot very nearly.
Of course though it hasn't held up well in the passing years, but there is still a lot of fun to be had with the sheer novelty of the film, and the sinister streak the film has every now and again.
A human being used as a ventriloquist doll? It's here, and on display.
Not as great as you'd remember, but not as bad as you'd expect it to be....
on 2 June 2009
Do not take this film seriously and you have a very funny and very entertaining comedy horror about clowns that land in a bid tent to capture humans in kiler cotton candy or balloons and feed on them!
YOu have all the classic clown gags - such as custard pies, puppet shows, several big clowns coming out from a small car etc... but with an evil twist.
The acting as many reviewers have said is appalling except Officer Mooney who is hilarious with his attitude to 'yoofs'!
There was only a trailer as an extra. Thats a shame as it would have been nice to hear a commentary or watch a featurette on the making of this film. I am surprised a sequel was not made but maybe Hollywood will remake it like every other film these days.
on 17 June 2009
Schlocky B-Movie, badly dubbed, but absolutely hilarious in its tackiness.
After a meteor lands in a small town, an amourous young couple discover that it is actually a crashed spaceship in the shape of a big red glowing circus tent. Huge, puffed-up and grotesque, the ships crew of 'Klowns' look like twisted Teletubbies, but rather than interact with the humans they simply want to kill them, using gaudy laser guns that turn their victims into bloody candyfloss.
With a raucous soundtrack, vacuous performances, and rubbish costumes, this should have been awful. However, it was pretty funny and utterly tongue in cheek.
on 21 February 2015
Killer Klowns was a really goofy and cheesy sci/fi comedy horror film from the 80's. judging from the title, you will immediately know what to expect. You gotta admit that this is one unique B-movie film. The basic plot isn’t exactly original but throw in a circus of large, zany clowns with Toys’R’Us-like weapons and you have one wild and crazy ride of a “horror” film!
Viewers should not expect great-acting here with several no name actors. The clowns and cheesy SFX are the true stars of this B movie. Mike Tobacco & his girlfriend, Debbie Stone, are the first to understand the true nature of the alien clowns. They enlist the help of Dave Hanson, a young policeman, and Rich & Paul Terenzi, two twins that own an ice cream truck to try to get girls — what a ragtag team! The classic John Vernon is great as the rude and disbelieving Police Officer Curtis Mooney. Another B-movie star, Royal Dano, is perfect as the redneck farmer, Gene Green, with his dog.
The cinematography is very colorful and fun. This is a B-movie but it plays like an A in some respects. Sure it’s quirky and the acting leaves much to be desired, but it just doesn’t feel like other B-movies I’ve seen. The music was really good and compliments the bizare and dark atmosphere (although the film doesn't have any gore, some scenes were really well made and creepy) The song used when the clowns are first marching into town with their goofy looking weapons was also memorable. So, in case you have only the tiniest sense of morbid humor in you, I strongly recommend tracking down this "Killer Klowns from Outer Space". It will, without a doubt, be one the most bizarre film projects you ever laid eyes on.