Fans of campy horror rejoice! Those bizarrely goofy Killer Klowns are returning to the planet and this time they’ll land their circus tent of curiosities in glorious high definition. And just in time, too. The cinematic world was getting a bit boring.
Right up there with The Blob and Night of the Creeps in fun loving good times, The Chiodo Brothers’ Killer Klowns from Outer Space gets all of its cheesy B-movie goodness right. Camp is always a hard tone to strike but - beginning with its title and down to the celebrated theme song by The Dickies – the movie plays the humor beautifully. Of course, this all depends on your taste in films and whether or not you suffer from Coulrophobia.
Owing much of its inspiration to the science fiction and horror films of the 1950’s, Killer Klowns from Outer Space is the story of one small town’s hostile takeover as aliens, who look alarmingly like clowns, arrive and start harvesting its citizens. A group of teenagers enjoying themselves notice a comet shoot across the sky and head off in its direction to investigate. Farmer Green Grant (Royal Dano) and a dog named Pooh come across the mysterious circus tent-shaped object first and are both turned into cotton candy by some evil alien Clowns.
Soon enough the teenagers, Mike Tobacco (Grant Cramer) and Suzanne (Debbie Stone), discover the circus tent and the cotten candy cocoons with dead bodies in them. Like Lassie, they run to get help but Office Mooney (a fabulous John Vernon) doesn’t believe their killer clown story. Officer Hanson (John Allen Nelson), a former boyfriend of Suzanne’s, agrees to investigate the matter with them.
As the town descends into nightmarish fun house madness brought on by the invading Klowns, the teenagers and Officer Hanson find they must do battle inside the tent which has now expanded into a full blown Killer Klown circus.
Written by Charles and Stephen Chiodo, Killer Klowns from Outer Space attacks its audience with corny lines, acid pies, popcorn guns, flesh-eating balloon animals and awesomely distasteful B-movie clichés. Even the children are not spared. This homage to those inspiring classic B-movies of a bygone era might have hitched its wagon to a single-minded gag but the riff pays off in all its rib-tickling variations.
In many ways, the likable and perfectly accessible surrealism the Chiodo Brothers proudly put on display throughout Killer Klowns from Outer Space makes the movie worth owning all on its own. Throw in the comedy and horror aspects and it’s a nearly flawless homage that never takes it over-sized shoes and big red nose seriously.
Revisit this camp classic now and catch up with those crazy Killer Klowns before its sequel, helmed once again by the Chiodo Brothers, appears in theaters across America in the near future.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for Sci-Fi/Horror Violence, Language, Some Sensuality and Brief Drug Use.
Runtime: 86 mins.
Director: Stephen Chiodo
Writer: Charles Chiodo, Stephen Chiodo
Cast: Grant Kramer; Suzanne Snyder; John Allen Nelson; John Vernon
Genre: Horror | Comedy | Sci-fi
Tagline: It's Craaazy!
Memorable Movie Quote: "They took your wife away in a balloon? Well you don't need the police, pal, you need a psychiatrist!"
Theatrical Distributor: Trans World Entertainment
Home Video Distributor: MGM Home Entertainment
Release Date: May 27, 1988.
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: September 11, 2012
Synopsis: Aliens who look like clowns come from outer space and terrorize a small town.
English SDH, French, Spanish (less)
English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German SDH (less)
Available on Blu-ray - September 11, 2011
Screen Formats: 1.84:1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0; French: Dolby Digital 2.0
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
The AVC encoded image, presented in 1.84:1 aspect ratio, manages to preserve some of the more filmic aspects of the film. Full of cartoonish colors, the reds and greens and pinks pop the most. Blacks are relatively light. While some of the other basic colors aren’t always as vibrant as one might expect, the texture maintains its quality for this low-budget behemoth. Details in the rubber masks are nicely specific and, while fine detail is noticeable in clothing, there’s a softened look to much of the picture. The 2.0 DTS-HD MA sound mix is a poor design and doesn’t do the film any service. While dialogue is clear, some of the audio effects are lost and, unfortunately, a bit of syncing goes haywire for a minute or two in the first part of the movie.
- The Chiodo Brothers are hilarious. They take great pride in this film and discuss, at great lengths, the making and the mistakes in the film. It’s a good commentary and, at times, as hilarious as the movie itself. It’s more than obvious that Charles, Edward, and Stephen Chiodo take great pride in this film.
Toward the end of the DVD craze, MGM started a Midnight Movies campaign and released a whole slew of hard to find, low-budget movies. Killer Klowns from Outer Space was one of those releases and, for its Blu-ray debut, all of those commissioned supplementals have been ported over. Nothing new, everything old. While its worth the purchase for the picture upgrade, this release is a bit of a disappointment as there really is nothing new to be found here. What you get is a short documentary that covers the production experience, combining a 2001 interview with the Chiodo Brothers with 1987 archival footage, and the difficulties of filming on a limited budget. Another featurette covers the electronic score with composer John Massari. Also of note is look at The Chiodo Brothers earlier films, an interview with the special effects artist, VHS bloopers, and the deleted scenes.
- The Making of Killer Klowns (22 min)
- Komposing Klowns (13 min)
- Visual Effects with Gene Warren Jr (15 min)
- Kreating Klowns (13 min)
- Chiodo Brothers' Earliest Films (7 min)
- Deleted Scenes (5 min
- Killer Bloopers (3 min)