The Krazy Premise
Released in 1988, Killer Klowns from Outer Space is the brain child of The Chiodo Brothers, Special Effects wizards who made the puppets for Team America: World Police and have done claymation on The Simpsons, who directed the film and did all of the stellar special effects and make-up for the film all on a 2 million dollar budget. The basic premise of the film is a young couple, Mike (Grant Cramer, Hardbodies) and Debbie (Suzanne Synder, Weird Science) discover a a crashed circus tent from space. There, they discover that a group of killer klowns from outer space have landed on Earth and they are hungry. They attempt to get help from Debbie's police officer ex-boyfriend Dave (John Allen Nelson, Vanished) and curmudgeon officer Mooney (John Vernon, Oddly hating kollege students more here then in Animal House) before the killer klowns eat the entire town.
The Klown Legacy
The film wasn't a success in it's initial run. Making only barely 2 million dollars in the US, the film as many other films we will look at in this series, the film went on to be a fairly large success thanks to it's newfound kult klassic status, grossing nearly 43 million dollars worldwide since it's release. The film is considered to be one of the must see cult films and the title is know as one of the all-time best or worst depending on where you look. Personally, I think the premise isn't actually all that strange. I mean, clowns are scary, especially ones with Ks. Recently, The Chiodo Brothers have announced that they plan to release a sequel to this film, titled The Return of the Killer Klowns from Outer Space in 3D sometime this year, though little else is known about it.
|Them klowns love that kotton kandy.|
Cotton Candy Ray Guns
Unsurprisingly, for a movie called Killer Klowns from Outer Space, the film has some wildly creative moments, despite it's limited budget. The klowns especially look great, each having their own unique look, which is usually part funny and likable and part horribly grotesque. Which is worth noting even more as the klowns are treated as one entity, with no one klown spending a huge amount of time in the spotlight and none of the klowns being given a name. The spaceship is also very kool, with the Brothers accurately creating a funhouse from space and your nightmares, with strange kombinations of color and shapes disorienting the view of the ship. Overall, the film has some very interesting moments turning classic clown acts into horrible murders. The klowns main means of attack are ray guns that envelope people in cotton candy cocoons. Another part has Vernon the dummy in a ventriloquism act. A popcorn gun also has probably the most interesting effect out of them all, which I'll leave you to see in the film itself.
The problematic thing about Killer Klowns is that, despite all the creativity and real moments of genius filmmaking, the film as a whole just isn't that funny or interesting. As creative as the film is, a lot of the gags are obvious if you've ever seen an actual clown act ever in your life. Would you be surprised to learn there's a gag involving all ten or so klowns getting out of one clown car? Or how about a gag about the klowns throwing killer pies? Klowns doing a puppet show? For the most part, the gags are good, but they're a little to easy for what had otherwise been a really creative film. The second they show up onscreen, you know what's gonna happen. And unfortunately, while the klowns are really great characters, the human cast is simply uninteresting. None of them are all that likable and they never actually feel like real people. They're fine, but other than Vernon, they don't give up any laughs nor do they make for an interesting story. Almost, but not quite.
|I wasn't kidding earlier.|
The Klosing Verdict
There is no denying that Killer Klowns from Outer Space is a creative film. The Chiodo Brothers clearly knew what they were doing. The klowns are some of the coolest movie monsters ever and the spaceship continues the Brothers great creativity. However, while the film is always visually interesting and is never a bore, the movie takes a lot of the easy gags and is never as funny as it thinks it is. Also, the human characters just can't hold a movie on their own. Killer Klowns is definitely worth checking out, but don't get too excited. Killer Klowns from Outer Space gets 4 stars out of 6.