Killer Klowns from Outer Space is a cult classic delivered to us by the zaniest of decades the 80s. Released in theatres in 1988 by Trans World Entertainment, produced by The Chirodo Brothers, directed Stephen Chiodo and written by him along with his brother Charles. It didn’t fair well, but it has become a huge cult classic in the time since. It’s weird as it’s one of the films everyone I know has seems to have seen.
Any the story line if fairly linear. While making out at generic lovers lane, Mike Tobacco (Grant Cramer) and his girlfriend Debbie Stone (Suzanne Snyder) see a falling star land near by. After a little of prodding Debbie convinces Mike to go look for it. On their way, an old man also witnesses the star fall and goes to claim it with his dog. The arrive to find what looks to be a large circus tent, upon investigation he can find no door. After his dog goes missing the old man gets killed by the titular bad guys The Killer Klowns. When Mike and Debbie arrive, unlike the old man are able to find a door inside. Investing inside the tent, which they believe to fun house, the pair evidence to the other wise along with a pair of bodies, one of which is the old mans, wrapped in what looks like to be cotton candy. The pair flee and are able to escape The Killer Klowns but get hit with a popcorn gun in the process. The pair race to town and inform the police Debbies ex-boyfriend Dave Hanson (John Allen Nelson) and Curtis Mooney (John Vernon). The pair is able to convince Dave to come look while Curtis laughs them off claim they must be pulling some prank. Dave agrees to do this only if Debbie goes home, so after dropping her off the Dave and Mike head back. When they arrive the ship is gone, leaving only a giant crater in its wake. So Dave then arrests Mike, now believing him to have been lying. But on the way back the pair discovers that all of the other cars parked on lovers lane is now empty, Dave finds evidence that supports Mike’s story and releases him. The Killer Klowns invades the town and start running amok. Killing, kidnapping and generally being assholes. As the town is being assaulted Curtis ignores phone calls believing it to all be a hoax, but is eventually killed by Klown. When Dave arrives at the station Mike heads off to warn people, enlisting the aid of his friends Rich Terenzi (Michael Siegel) and his brother Paul (Peter Licassi). In the station he finds Curtis’s dead body being used as a puppet by one of the Klowns, who reveals the Klowns single goal is killing everybody. Dave fires a number of rounds at the Klown, who shrugs them off until a round hits his nose bursting it and killing him. Mike and his friends, discover they are too late and the town is overrun by the Klowns. Dave joins back up and they head off to rescue Debbie. Debbie meanwhile, has taken a shower and while inside the popcorn comes alive moves around the bathroom. When Debbie gets out and is dressed, she is attacked by a number of Killer Klown heads from different areas of the bathroom. She manages to escape the bathroom, but is eventually captured and placed in a balloon by the Klowns. Can Mike, Dave, and the Terenzi brothers save her?!
This film has well-earned its Cult Classic standing and I would have loved to have seen it when it came out. I was alive, but I would stay sadly unaware of it until the time is twelve or thirteen. Like I said this one of those films that all of my friends have seen. Most hold it in high regard, while the rest hate it and claim that Killer Klowns along with IT gave them Coulrophobia.
The effects are very silly, which plays very well with the feel of the films monsters. Which look amazing and really hold up well over the last two and half decades since its release. The Klowns look amazing, silly but still very unsettling, which works to create very memorable villains.
The acting on the other hand… not so good. But it still seems to fit the film. It’s a film about killer clowns, does anyone expect good acting in that? But the acting is bad it actually becomes good and you can really feel that people must have had a blast while making it, which really shows.
Final thoughts, it’s all there. The bad acting, the silly premise, memorable characters and a fun atmosphere. The perfect storm for a Cult Classic. While this film is by no means terrifying or blood chilling. It does have more than a few really unsettling moments and the Klowns really are quite terrifying at times. Do I recommend this film? Well yea, absolutely but it’s in no way perfect. So Killer Klowns from Outer Space gets a memorable 8/10.