Throwback Thursday Review: “Killer Klowns From Outer Space” (1988)





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Posted September 8, 2016 by

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“Killer Klowns from Outer Space” is the low budget brainchild of brothers Stephen and Charles Chiodo, and it is every bit as ridiculous as the title suggests. Colorful set pieces and elaborate clown outfits combine with cheezy effects, cheezy dialog, and cheezy music to produce a film that Comedy fans will enjoy, and Sci-Fi fans will love.

Not a big hit at the box office, it has since become somewhat of a cult classic.

The film begins at a popular teen make-out spot known as ‘the top of the world’, where lead characters Mike Tobacco(Cramer) and Debbie Stone(Snyder) are taking full advantage of the view. Unfortunately, their kissing session is interrupted when they witness a meteor-like object crashing to earth nearby, and decide to investigate. What they find is a circus tent that is actually a spaceship, inhabited by clowns that are actually aliens. Oh, and they have clown toys that are actually lethal weapons. The couple manage a narrow escape, only to find that nobody believes their crazy story.

The real fun begins when the clowns wander into town and start terrorizing the unsuspecting residents in uproarious fashion. Can Mike, Debbie, and a small band of unlikely heroes find a way to stop these evil creatures before its too late? The plot- which is as simple as it is familiar- provides a suitable framework for showcasing the comic material. No stone is left unturned as every clown-related cliché imaginable is referenced to our delight. There are guns that shoot popcorn; blasters that entomb victims in cotton candy cocoons; clown bikes and clown cars that are far more than what they appear. Clever stuff.  I think Even James Bond would be impressed.

killer-klowns-2The movie is consistently entertaining from start to finish, and it does a respectable job of spoofing various Sci-Fi B-movie classics, while (possibly unintentionally) spoofing 80’s-style films as well. It looks and feels like the B-movies it is paying homage to. It has a soundtrack that was obviously composed on an electric keyboard, and nearly every scene contains blatant overacting.  Normally this would be distracting, but here it only seems to add to the fun. Which brings me to my main point; the real strength of this movie is that somehow, everything  just works. When it’s good, it is pretty good.  When it’s bad, it’s even better.

I believe  some special mentions are in order at this point; First, to John Vernon, who is hilarious while portraying Curtis Mooney- a grumpy old police officer who drinks on the job, hates young people, and is generally out to prove that he can’t be fooled by anyone. This film contains a plethora of memorable one-liners, and he delivers some of the very best; and secondly, to the Chiodo brothers, whos sharp writing and boundless imaginations breathed life into what is essentially, a one-trick pony. I should also point out that this was their first attempt at writing/directing a film. Well done!

All in all,”Killer Klowns from Outer Space” proved to be a very enjoyable movie viewing experience, and can be recommended to Comedy fans, Sci-Fi fans, Horror fans, and anyone planning a ‘date night’. It’s a movie that fully understands how absurd it is, but just doesn’t care, and refuses to apologize. Amen!




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