Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988)

Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988) poster.jpg

Killer Klowns From Outer Space is a loving ode to 1950’s/1960’s sci-fi horror movies with a 1980’s punk flair. The film takes great pride in it’s stupidity, it’s silliness, and throws in as many cliches as it can to create a humorous cavalcade of craziness from start to finish. Killer Klowns From Outer Space is the magnum opus of the Chiodo brothers – Stephen, Charles and Edward – who usually work with special effects, specializing in stop motion claymation and creature creation. Over the years, the Chiodo brothers have worked on the special effects department for very popular films such as Critters, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure and Team America World Police.

Killer Klowns From Outer Space is a film that is purposely stupid and silly. The story is about a group of Klowns who arrive in small American town from outer space in a giant circus tent, and proceed to kidnap the town’s women and turn the town’s men into candyfloss. The film throws in as many clown cliches as humanly possible, and it is filled from start to finish with ridiculously creative death scenes: death by raygun, death by shadow puppet, death by popcorn monster, death by acid pies just to name a few. The plot makes no logical sense, however, it has an easy to follow, straight-forward story-line with a simple 3 act structure and entertainingly quirky, yet identifiable, characters. For a silly film about killer clowns from outer space, it’s quite well written and fairly well paced, allowing time for both crazy Klown shenanigans and down to earth character based comedy. Killer Klowns From Outer Space feels like it knows when to be down to earth and when to be extravagant so that an audience can stay invested without becoming too overwhelmed by the craziness that’s occurring onscreen; for every scene of Klowns turning victims into candyfloss there are scenes of relatable character interactions to make the struggle between the protagonists (Dave, Mike and Debbie) and the antagonists (The Klowns) more empathetic, more investible, and more emotional overall.

However, the greatest attribute of Killer Klowns From Outer Space is the film’s outstanding monster design and special effects. Overall, the film’s a candy coloured aesthetic treat with beautiful sets, crazy monsters, and extravagant post-production effects. It’s quite evident that the Chiodo brothers spared no expense and put all their combined effects into the visual aspects of Killer Klowns From Outer Space. The Klowns themselves are a spectacle of carefully constructed monster design. They’re just ridiculous enough to be laughable, yet at the same time, they’re quite unsettling and creepy. Maybe it’s because of the whole ‘clown horror’ societal epidemic that occurred in recent years that’s causing some personal bias, but the Klowns definitely draw the line between scary and funny: when they blast away people with rayguns and punch biker’s heads off, the Klowns are funny, but when they maniacally laugh or try to lure little children from their parents, the Klowns are creepy.

All in all, Killer Klowns From Outer Space is an entertainingly enjoyable feat of silly cinema. From start to finish, I had a smile on my face whilst I watched the film, even though I had only seen it once before, because Killer Klowns From Outer Space is just so charming, so lovably entertaining for an exploitation geek such as myself. In conclusion, I would definitely recommend Killer Klowns From Outer Space to everyone: from horror hounds to cinephiles because I, personally, had such a good experience watching the film, and it’s an experience that I want to share.

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