Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)

Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)


A spaceship from out of space lands in a small American town. The aircraft’s occupants quickly begin feasting on the human population. No one seems to notice the aliens because they all look like circus clowns.

Reaction & Thoughts:

Roger Corman, The King of B-movies, famously said, “you can’t make a cult film, the audience makes a cult film.” I guess he never watched this film.

Written, directed and produced by the Chiodo Brothers (Stephen, Charles and Edward Chiodo), Killer Klowns from Outer Space is a true rarity: an intentionally camp film that works exceedingly well. It’s an obvious spoof of the B-movies of yesterday, specifically the sci-fi films made during the Atomic Age. The dialogue is dumb, the situations are silly, but it is a constantly ingenious horror-comedy.

Aesthetically speaking, the film is playful and very funny. The Chiodos prove that you can do amazing things without relying on expensive CGIs. The clowns are pretty nasty, but they are so cool-looking that you’ll find yourself rooting for them. The colorful production design is like Dr. Seuss on meth. The practical and stop-motion effects accentuate the loony. It all plays like a psychedelic trip into the unknown.

I could complain about the acting, but why? This is a film that has no shame whatsoever. I did think John Vernon (Dirty Harry) was great as a skeptical “copper.” Vernon, famous for playing heavies, is hilarious! The cast also includes John Allen Nelson (Hunk), Suzanne Snyder (Night of the Creeps), Grant Cramer (New Year’s Evil), Royal Dano (Big Bad Mama) and comedian Christopher Titus (TV’s Titus).

Conclusions & Final Thoughts:

Killer Klowns from Outer Space can’t be easily categorized. It’s a darkly funny and often nasty sci-fi movie that defies expectations. Not a great film per se, but one that’s hard to resist — a 1980s B-movie that deserves its cult status. P.S. There are rumors that Chiodo is currently working on a sequel and/or a TV series. Color, 88 minutes, Rated R.

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